The Lord will surely comfort Zion and look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing – Isaiah 51: 3
Do you ever feel like your body is a ruined wasteland? I know I do. I’ve abused my body and health for years with unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle. Add daily worrying and stressing about things to the picture and you have a perfect prescription for disaster.
Binge eating, emotional eating, stress eating, or whatever else you want to call it, has devastating consequences on the body. The consequences are more than the obvious increased risks of developing heart disease and diabetes. The emotional effects can be as crippling as the physical ones.
I feel compassion when I see obese people. I know there’s a good chance they’re eating because of what is eating away at them inside. Some people may be heavy because they like to eat, but people who are seriously overweight are usually eating to medicate themselves from some sort of pain or emotional hurt.
I gained 30 pounds within months of my mom’s death. I’ve gained weight since my husband abandoned me and our family. I love food just as much as anyone else, but the binge eating is all about medicating my pain, hurt, and suffering. I find myself reaching for food and eating without even realizing it at times. It’s my drug of choice to numb emotional pain.
My eating habits confirm that I have an addiction. When visiting fast food restaurants, I always go through the drive through and pick a parking space in the back where I’m less likely to be seen. I often wonder if that’s what a drug addict feels like when they’re searching for their next fix.
Eating in secret or alone is a good sign it’s more than just an enjoyment of food you’re seeking. Planned binges are another sign to watch for. Sometimes I find myself planning eating binges after a stressful day. I make a trip to the store and buy only junk food and sweets. I justify the binge by saying it’s my reward for surviving a bad day.
If I have a headache, I often eat thinking it will help me feel better. If I feel tired, I grab food to give me energy. If I feel lonely, food is my friend. The cycle of food addiction is vicious. I can always find an excuse to justify my binge eating even though I know it’s wrong.
I’m working on overcoming my addiction to food one step at a time. I refuse to be a slave to food and live in the wasteland of obesity the rest of my life. With God’s strength, I will overcome my addiction. I know it’s not going to happen overnight or by following the latest diet trend. I need to make better choices in what I eat and learn to cope with emotions in healthier ways.
When I reflect on the verse of scripture above, I’m reminded that God is in the business of restoration. He is the one who changes people and transforms lives.
No matter how many times we have tried to change and failed in the past, we must remember that nobody is beyond God’s ability to restore. None of our addictions are too much for God to handle.
God wants us to run to him instead of food, drugs, or alcohol when we are experiencing hurt and pain. When we faithfully seek him, instead of false substitutes, will we begin to find true healing and freedom.
Just as God will surely comfort Zion, he will certainly comfort us. He looks upon us with compassion. He knows our struggles. He understands our pain. He will make the barren and broken parts of us flourish like well-watered gardens filled with newness of life. Joy will replace our sadness when we allow God to work in our lives.
And we don’t have to wait until we get it all together or until we feel the time is right to start changing and see God’s restoration take place. We can start today, one small choice at a time. Each choice we make, no matter how tiny, is a step in the right direction. There will never be a perfect time to start, and we don’t have to invest a bunch of money or join a gym to live a healthier lifestyle.
We can give up having an extra portion at dinner. We can drink an extra glass of water or take a 5 minute walk. We can pray instead of reaching for a bag of chips or a cookie when we feel an eating binge coming on.
It’s all about choices. We can choose to change or we can choose to live in the wasteland. What tiny choice will you make today to begin your own restoration journey?