“My Child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them. They may say, “Come join us!…Think of the great things we’ll get!” My child, don’t go along with them. Stay far away from their paths these people set an ambush for themselves, they are trying to get themselves killed.” Proverbs 1: 10, 13, 15, 18
Did you ever notice that the day you swear off sweets is the day sweets are literally everywhere you turn? For example: It’s someone’s birthday at work and everyone is having cake. The person handing out cake delivers you a perfect corner piece with a flower. It practically has god-light from heaven shining down on it. When you reluctantly shake your head, the giver says, “It’s just one piece! You can’t even have one piece?!” Maybe it’s teacher appreciation week and donuts and muffins abound in the break room. Maybe your sister invites you to a wine, cheese and chocolate girl’s night. You REALLY need a girl’s night and she won’t understand if you don’t participate.
Sometimes, it’s even worse. You told your best friend at the office you are going to start eating clean today and she brings your favorite bagels with cream cheese first thing in the morning. You wonder, “is she trying to sabotage me?”
It’s possible it’s harmless or she forgot. It’s also possible she is one of those diet saboteurs. It’s hard to say because you don’t know her heart… but you do know yourheart. When you have prayed about eating clean and decided to make a change, God’s Word encourages you to “turn your back” and “stay away!” from enticements.
How can we have victory over diet saboteurs?
1. Say “No thank you,” with conviction.
In the very first chapter of Proverbs, after letting us know that the book is going to give us life-giving wisdom, our Father reveals the first obstacle we may face: people. Ain’t that the truth? The good news is, this challenge is often resolved with a kind and firm, “no thank you.” We just have to say it…out loud.
What if that isn’t enough? Many times it is, but sometimes it isn’t. We’re all familiar with one person who won’t give up trying to push the gooey leftovers into our mouth. Yet… more often than not, the hard sell comes from someone very near and dear to us: the person between our ears. The loud mouth in our own head. Us. What should we do when we can say no to someone else, but we can’t say no to ourselves?
2. Walk away. No seriously, move your feet and literally step away from the food.
Proverbs says to “turn your back” on enticements and “walk away.” Remove yourself from the presence of food or remove the food from your presence. It’s that simple. It’s not always easy, but it is simple. Discover a workable solution for separating yourself from the food. It may mean taking 5 steps from the food table, it might mean going into the bathroom to collect yourself or you may need to not enter or leave the location altogether. You might have to throw food away. It’s ok, they’ll make more. Get rid of it.
Let’s say we muster the energy to say “no thank you” and actually walk away from the problem food? There’s still the depressing promise of regret and self-pity. The heavy burden of FFOMO (Food Fear of Missing Out.) These feelings can lead to anger, bitterness, resentment, blame and a quick jog back to partake in “all the great things we’ll get.” (Proverbs 1:13)
How can we stay strong and not give in after we already said, “no thank you” and left?
3. Trust God and believe He has a WAY better plan for you.
Remind yourself the result of eating unhealthy food. It looks like a whole lot of fun to eat chips and cheese and sugary drinks with the fun crowd. The truth is, there is a cost. Proverbs tells us the sad reality: “These people set an ambush for themselves, they are trying to get themselves killed.”
Does that sound extreme? Let’s think about it in another way. The person who is eating that delicious and satisfying looking candy bar at break time is trapping themselves in a food cycle that may eventually kill them.
Do you want to live trapped in a food cycle that may eventually kill you? If not then, don’t go along with them. Get far away from the food if you need to. Turn your back and find another form of nutrition and entertainment. Save YOUR life by setting a course for health and freedom. And hey, at some point, your friend might follow you away from food destruction. If so, you’re helping save their life as well.
For reflection during your prayer time:
1. Ask the Lord what foods (or food behaviors,) may be leading you down a path of food destruction. Pray about how to remove those foods from your life.
2. Ask the Lord to give you the strength to walk away from tempting situations with grace and kindness (to others and yourself.)
4. Pray for the person who is sabotaging your decision to eat well. Ask God to bless their life and give you wisdom as you interact with them.
3. Pray about a new script you can use in your own head when it comes to FFOMO (Food Fear Of Missing Out.) What are some ways you can encourage yourself to stay the course in the moment it matters most – and after?
5. Thank God for his wonderful gift of food and ask Him to help you enjoy it in a place of balance, health, freedom and joy.
This is Day 4 in “Eating Through the Proverbs,” a Bible study about food, by Julia Fikse ©2019.