I can distinctly recall nights of choosing to eat junk food instead of a whole foods dinner. Hiding away sweets to enjoy all alone or sneaking extra pieces of dessert while everyone else had scattered out of the kitchen after a meal.
How often do I trade healthy food choices for a temporary satisfaction that ultimately leaves me feeling defeated?
More often than I like. It’s a real sin cycle in my life. But since the Spirit has given me the freedom to walk away from shame & condemnation, it happens less often because I know when & how to enjoy certain things & I know that the power of the Spirit will give me self-control & strength to combat shame.
I’ve learned over time to combat feelings of overwhelming cravings with prayer & scripture. But I’ve also learned that if I decide to have an item that seems like a less than “perfect” food, I can thank God for the ability to taste & enjoy it & He in turn gives me satisfaction not to be gluttonous with that food choice.
Part of the reason we physically want to give in to unhealthy choices is because we have a space inside of us that needs to be filled with God & we often push Him aside to try to gain satisfaction of filling that hole with other things in the world.
I’m sure we all at times have looked at someone who battles excessive drinking, overspending or depression & thought, “why don’t they just stop that destructive behavior”. Unfortunately, its not that easy or we would all live perfect lives & frankly, we wouldn’t need a Savior as ransom for our sins.
Our human nature wants to control all that is within our visible reach. For those of us who struggle with food & disordered eating habits, feelings of sadness, loneliness, exhaustion, or overwhelming circumstances can drive us to want something in our lives that feels like it can be controlled.
As crazy as it seems, even uncontrolled eating & uncontrollable cravings are your body’s way of trying to control something.
This is a manifestation of a yearning in our soul for that space inside of us to be filled with something that will satisfy. By turning to food to meet our downfalls, we trade a long-term gain for a short-term satisfaction.
We forget that if we would just live in the power of the Spirit we have been given to have self-control over our food choices then we would gain the ability to trust God with our hurts & our downfalls.
If, when I am tired & I want to reach for a bag of chips, I would just take a minute to stop & acknowledge my physical craving to God, then I could move forward in His strength. That doesn’t always mean restriction of that food.
Maybe I’m exhausted & my body is craving unnecessary carbs. If I simply say to God “I’m tired. I want to eat this extra & unnecessary treat right now. Could you fill me with Your ability to have control over the decisions I am going to make about my food & could You help me finish my work so I can get a little extra sleep tonight?”
In that situation, I might actually go ahead & eat something extra but I would acknowledge to God that He has given me the ability to control my portion size, taste the goodness of the food & make some choices to get myself to bed earlier that day so I can catch up on sleep & feel more balanced the next day.
Giving in to a food craving isn’t always a sin. It only becomes a sin when we let it consume our mind, harm our bodies to the point of gluttony & push God’s power in our lives aside in exchange for a momentary pleasure.
The hollow guilt we feel when we make poor food choices could be completely averted if we simply trust God with our decisions.
Maybe instead of eating chocolate I choose to eat some blueberries with pecans on top or a handful of raisins. Then I am satisfying my carb craving with a whole food that will actually sustain my body & give me more energy.
Either choice is fine in the guardrails of God’s power to give us self-control.
Friend, you & I are not failures when it comes to our food choices. We are loved children of God who have been given an inheritance to live this life in a power that is beyond ourselves. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us & we can live in the self-control He gives us.
Prayer: Father help me understand & live in the Spirit to exhibit godly self-control over food choices. Give me the ability to see Your way out of the cycle of temptation & guilt. Help me make choices that lead to abundance in my physical life & in my spiritual life.