There I said it. Many people will admit openly that they struggle with certain sins or addictions or damaging behaviors. But few will admit to this one. So here I go.
When I say I struggle with gluttony I don't mean to paint a mental picture that resembles this:
If that were true, it would be no surprise to anyone who ever went to a restaurant with me that I did indeed have an issue with gluttony... No, what I am referring to closer resembles this:
Relatively healthy looking female, of average size, who can't help but eat an overly large amount of cake, cookie or pastry batter at each and every opportunity. She dips a finger, maybe two when others are within sight, and as soon as they duck out for even a moment, in goes the spatula. Once the contents are emptied into the cake pan and enter the toasty oven, her fingers scrape the sides of that bowl with ferocity and abandon, until every last drop is consumed. The bowl could skip the dishwasher all together and go right back into the cabinet.
This is the glutton that I am. But these behaviors don't happen all day, but do happen at least once every day. They are not because the food in mind is so irresistible that I am paralyzed by their powers of persuasion. This sin comes from a much deeper place.
Origins Of A Sinful Slippery Slope
As a young girl, like most, I slowly developed what has always been coined, "Low Self-Esteem". Biting retorts from angry relatives, mean bullying as a twisted form of flirting from boys on the playground (Seriously boys? Where the heck did you get the idea that teasing a girl would make her like you? Whoever the men were in your life did you no favors teaching you this, whether directly or indirectly. Shame shame.), and beautiful and stylish (and thin) older sisters all played a part in the tapes that began to play in my little brain. Along with this I've always had an adoration for delectable desserts and colorful sweets. When you're pre-puberty this is neither here nor there. Once good 'ol womanhood begins it's journey through your fragile adolescent body, your love for all things sweet begins to do you absolutely no favors. This was the story for me. So as I grew so did my little body. Nothing overly large by any means, but enough that it was noticed by boys and became more and more noticeable by me. I never established a very healthy attitude towards food as a young adult. I never learned (to my recollection) the importance of making wise choices about what I put in my body. I just felt caught between to opposing sides: "be thinner" and "indulge and reward yourself".
As life and womanhood progressed bigger things began to happen. Life happened, without the shelter of youth, and I found myself finding solace in those indulgences. If I couldn't fix the problem I could at least find comfort, even for a moment, in something sweet and satisfying. I guess this is probably a similar feeling to those who struggle with alcohol, or smoking, or maybe even pornography. Finding that escape from all of the troubles life brings with it. At two different times in my life I dabbled in the opposite sin of gluttony: starvation. It didn't do much for me. While I did lose weight, my eyes still saw the fat girl in the mirror. It was never enough. Size 0 jeans and a bony back were not enough confirmation in my mind when I looked at myself in the mirror. So I ditched that plan, by the never-ending grace of God.
But I never really admitted to myself or anyone around me how I felt about food. Fast forward to my married self, living in a new and very foreign land (Texas) in a new lifestyle (military) with little to no friends. In the loneliness I ate. In the frustration I ate. In the uncertainty I ate. In the insecurity I ate. Not overly excessive amounts, but just enough of all the wrong things. And only because I wanted to punish myself for being myself. As a form of punishment I would eat large quantities (in secret, mind you) of something sugary, fatty and usually chocolate-y because in my mind, I didn't deserve anything better.
Within the last year, my bondage of gluttony reached it's climax. Earlier this year I knew I needed to get a handle on it. So I read a book called, Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. While this book was definitely encouraging, doing it on my own, with no accountability was not very life-changing. But I believe that this was a time of true revelation for me. This is when I realized what I really wanted freedom from and freedom to do. I wanted overall balance, with food, family and my faith. I believe this was when my new journey began without me even knowing it.
This is still a struggle for me. When I miss T so badly it hurts you can usually find me with a huge cup of hot chocolate piled high with marshmallows. And as soon as those marshmallows get all gooey I suck them down and refill the other half of cocoa with more. I have yet to figure out how to stop in my tracks and make a better choice. Because of this I've decided to begin, what I pray, is a study that will allow the Spirit to truly transform my mind, and in turn my body. A ministry called Revelation Wellness is doing an 8-week online Bible Study called Weigh Less To Feed More. It is a part of a ministry that I will be becoming more involved with (more on that later) called Holy Yoga. My prayer of desperation is to be able to find freedom from the hold that food has on me. I believe our society is overly obsessed with food, and I would really love to develop a strong anti-body to this disease. I don't enjoy thinking about what I will eat for breakfast before I've even gone to bed. I would love to just be able to go to bed. Period.
I pray that as you read these things about me your attitude would not be to judge my craziness but to show grace, and maybe come face to face with some areas of darkness in your own relationship with food. I think if we all got a little bit more comfortable with the idea that we all have bad relationships with food, accepted that reality in one another, and moved forward to encourage better choices in each other, we might have less of a weight and disease epidemic in our country. We live in a society that pressures us to be thin, toned and hot and also offers us chemically enhanced, nutritionally empty and overly starched foods to sustain us in our misery over not being hot. We're all in a hamster wheel and I'm believing God to be big enough to stop it so I can get off.
So there you have it. If you also struggle with any aspect of food, I pray you are able to find the courage to speak out about it. Even doing that can give you enough freedom to begin down the path of better decisions. If you're interested in doing the study I believe they are still taking students. And if you need someone to walk alongside you as you venture down this dark and dusty road, don't hesitate to ask me. I've been hanging out at the trail head for quite a long time and I'm ready to venture out into the darkness and bring His truth to light the path.