It’s official. My eyes are bigger than my stomach… Almost.Every.Time.
Just yesterday, even though I served myself less food than I thought I would need (meaning less food than I wanted), I still served myself more food than my body needed for breakfast. There I am spooning food into my mouth, and I get a gentle message from my belly telling me there is just enough food in there.
That’s when the mind games (anxiety) begin inside my head:
“BUT THERE’S STILL FOOD ON YOUR PLATE!”
“THROWING IT AWAY WILL BE WASTEFUL!”
…and the big one that gets me every time…
“WHAT IF THERE’S NOT ENOUGH FOOD LATER!”
“LATER” can mean an hour later, or around lunchtime, dinnertime, next week, next month, next year, or even in my retirement years! The fear that there won’t be enough food “later” drives a lot of the poor eating habits that keep me overweight. It also drives my tendency to keep more stuff than I need, but that’s a whole ‘nuther blog.
At this point, what I normally do is lie to myself (again), and believe the lie, (again) and say that I’ll serve myself less food “next time”. (“Next time” is the distant cousin of “I’ll start tomorrow.”)
Today was different though.
Today I ignored the anxiety emanating from somewhere deep in my bones and I called called a spade a spade. I called the lie out for what it is: a boldfaced lie.
There is no “next time”, as I’ve learned over the years. So I tried something I call “this time”.
“This time” I spoke the truth to my heart:
There is enough.
You’ve always had enough (sometimes just enough to keep body and soul together, but enough).
You always will have enough.
Even if the worst case scenario unfolded today (The Apocalypse! The Destructions! Wait! I don’t have my Year’s Supply!) and you didn’t have enough and it killed you, then you’d be in the presence of God. So it’s all good. Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I like it in Spanish better: “Porque Cristo es la razón de mi vida, y la muerte, por tanto, me resulta una ganancia.”
Then I stood up, walked over to the trash can and WASTED (gasp! horrors!) all that perfectly good, not to mention healthy for me, food.
My belly thanked me for not overstuffing it… and all the hosts of heaven applauded. Thunderously.
The reason they applauded is because, for me, this is more of a spiritual battle than a physical one. For me, this is spiritual warfare. All the hosts of heaven and all the hosts of hell know it is a lie and they wait with bated breath each day to see if on this day, “this time”, I’m going to see the lie clearly for what it is and act/behave/choose accordingly (meaning, speak the truth).
Let’s back up a little…
“Who (or what) is your source?” is a question that has been asked of me in the past few years by different people and in different settings. The “Christian” response is, of course, God.
The question for me has become even more specific: “Who (or what) is your source…of comfort?”
Repeatedly, ad nauseum, since I was a little girl, and there really was only enough food to keep body and soul together, the answer has been “food”. And keeping stuff I don’t need, but again that’s a whole ‘nuther blog.
There’s a reason it’s called “comfort food”. When you take away my source of comfort, or if I even think about not having enough food, or not being able to get to food, anxiety and panic are the result. It’s like alarms bells go off and lights start flashing in my head alerting me to a very real and very present danger. Only for me, there is currently no real and present danger. Anxiety is a learned response that helped me cope with some very difficult circumstances growing up, but it is now not helping me at all. It’s working against me.
When the anxiety and panic rises up within me, I want food (comfort).
When I’m tired, I want food (comfort).
When I’m lonely, I want food (comfort).
When I’m stressed out, I want food (comfort). The two 42oz, party-size bags of peanut M&M’s I consumed recently during my 11 days in North Carolina working 12-14 hour days is evidence of this. That’s an average of less than 8oz per day. Trust me; I did the math after-the-fact to help me justify my nonsense behavior.
You see the pattern there?
It’s a lie that food “comforts” me. I find that out, every time after overeating and am feeling “uncomfortable”. The thing (food) that I’m wanting to bring me comfort actually causes discomfort. Talk about messed up, backwards, and unhelpful thinking.
It’s a lie that food will comfort my heart. Right now, after this one victory, I can acknowledge the lie that it is. I don’t know what will happen next time, but this time, I clearly see the lie and can act/behave/choose accordingly (i.e. speak the truth).
I have come to the conclusion that there is a huge, gaping disconnect between what I say I believe… (“My God will supply all I need… blah, blah, blah” …at least that’s how it sounds in my head when I’m in the middle of a battle… and I’m finishing off the half gallon of ice cream in the freezer, secretly, one respectable bowl at a time… though I confess there have been times when I skipped the bowl altogether and it was just me, a spoon, and a half-gallon of Blue Bell) …and how I act/behave/choose.
(Clearly I need an editor. That last paragraph alone is one long, run-on sentence, among other difficulties, but since this is how I talk, I have no idea how to fix it.)
Here’s the truth: I have an enemy. An adversary. One who is against me.
Peter calls him a lion, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” John calls him a thief, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.”
Lions don’t go after the healthy sheep in the middle of the flock. They go after the ones that are sick, the weak, the hurting, the stragglers, and the isolated. And little girls that that didn’t get enough food, comfort, security, or love when they were little. The lion’s appetite is for my total destruction. He doesn’t just want a snack, as Jimmy Evans says in his teaching “Living Among Lions“.
Here’s the truth: I have a Helper. A Friend. One who is for me.
John records Jesus saying to the disciples, “I no longer call you servants…instead, I have called you friends.” Then later, He tells them, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit [also known as the Comforter, ironically enough], whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
2 Chronicles says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”
The battle for my heart is very real! It’s hard to see it when I’m only looking with my natural eyes. However, when my spiritual eyes are open, it’s easy to see that there is a real war going on.
Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened his eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
My first instinct is to want to figure out the mechanics of how to fight this battle – and win it every time! – and finally be free of the anxiety and panic that overwhelms my head and heart! …and yes, finally and forever be thin again! I feel the anxiety creeping in just writing all that. ***big sigh*** (I’d at least like to make it back to Onederland. Is that too much to ask?)
But I’m not going to go with my instincts this time by telling myself that I’ll figure this out and finally win forever the battle of the bulge. Can you see how my thinking shifted from speaking the truth to myself, to telling myself lies again? (“I’ll figure this out! I’ll beat this thing!”) The lies have failed me too many times, and this time, I’m not going to fall into that trap again.
What I’m going to say is what I have been learning, ever so slowly:
Freedom isn’t the absence of something, but the presence of Someone.
Thank you, Bob Hamp, for that nugget of truth that has been shaping and forming me into the person that I was created and redeemed to be.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Yesterday morning, when I saw with my spiritual eyes the battle that was taking place, and I grabbed a hold of the truth and spoke it, and held onto it, I allowed the presence of The One Who is Truth and Life to enter into that moment and have dominion by speaking the truth to my heart, there was freedom. Right there in my dining room.