Is Unhealthy Food Changing Your Life’s Path?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NIV)
I’ve met with countless overweight (and subsequently unhealthy) Christian women throughout my years of weight loss and food addiction coaching.
I’ve met with women who have special needs children who trust God to see them through each day. Women with job security issues who trust God with their financial future. Women who work in the church and trust God with each act of service they do for others. Women in very difficult relationships that cause much suffering-yet they tirelessly trust God. Women who homeschool, women with cancer, women who have prodigal children, women with autoimmune diseases, women who struggle at work, women with newborns and small children, women with uncertain futures, single women, single moms, caregivers, widows, women who are in the trenches loving God every day with their lives… trusting the Lord to mark out a straight path for their life with everything they are and all they have. It’s beautiful, remarkable and truly inspiring. They trust God with all of it… all of it except their unhealthy food(which going forward I will call “FOOD.”)
An honest prayer from one of these women (including myself 5 years ago) might go something like this….
“Thank you God for all you have given me, I love you with all my heart and serve you with my life. I give to you all that I have and I trust you in every way. Like Job, if you take away everything I own and allow sickness to come upon me, if all my friends abandon me, and I end up destitute and alone in the gutter for my faith, I will trust you and follow you.
If you take away my FOOD, I will get mad. I can’t be responsible for how I act without sugar and caffeine. I will call you unfair, I might accuse you of abandoning me when I need brownies most. Then I will remind you that you did a bad job of making me.After all, it’s your fault my metabolism is slow, I’m big boned and I get periods. For you to ask for my chips and chocolate would make me resent you. Don’t you love me no matter what? Step away from my Venti Frappacino and bagel, Lord. Don’t even consider bringing up my evening ice cream, wine… my secret drive through habit, or…
You do want me to be honest right?
… Or I will believe you are judgmental and punishing me. Are you about freedom or not? Jesus died for all my sins, including this little problem, if it even is a sin. Look away. Lord, there is nothing to see here because you and I both know, I need this FOOD. My kids need this FOOD. It would be cruel for you to ask for it. My husband needs this FOOD because he knows what I’m like without it. If I didn’t eat this FOOD, I wouldn’t be able to go to parties and then I’d lose friends. My family wouldn’t understand. Aren’t I obedient in every single other way? It’s not like I take drugs or gossip or steal. I volunteer at church and in my community on top of everything else I do for you. I’m a good person. I serve everyone else in the world all day – for you. This FOOD helps me get through life and do all I need to do for you, and you know it.
Whatever you want Lord, I will give you anything, you know that…
just don’t take away my FOOD. Amen.”
Just like that we’ve gone from giving God the power to create our life path, to giving FOOD the power to create our life path. How? We are giving FOOD (instead of God) two key factors in the building of our future 1) our self esteem 2) our health.
First let’s talk about self esteem. Hey, I’m not saying we should be picture perfect thin. Not at all, what I am saying is that if you’re hiding behind your kids in photos, if you’re paralyzed by guilt or shame, if you’re not going places because you don’t want people to see how much weight you’ve gained, hiding under huge clothing, and if you’re not participating in life with excitement and gusto because you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin… you have a self esteem issue that did NOT come from God. You’re His beloved daughter, His princess, He loves you so much and wants you to live in the fullness and free-ness of his deep love for you. Is FOOD messing that up?? Is FOOD stopping you from living to your full potential with the Lord? If it is, it’s time to start praying and moving the damaging FOOD out of the way of God’s love for you and his vision for your life.
Not sure how? Invite the Holy Spirit into the situation. Ask the Holy Spirit what you should do and work with the Lord on a healthy food intake plan. How often should you invite the Holy Spirit to help you? Every time you think about food, and every bite you take. You’ve done it your way, you’ve followed your own wisdom and it isn’t working. Now, it’s time to trust the Lord, put Him first in all your ways and watch Him change your path and make it straight. (Need help learning how to hear from God? I recommend a book called “Whisper” by Mark Batterson or “Hearing God” by Dallas Willard.)
Next, let’s talk about our health. Christian women, we do not have to suffer from all the health issues we are suffering from. Sure a small percentage of health issues are genetic, or beyond our control, but we need to stop using that as an excuse for all the other health issues that ARE in our power to change with God’s help, diet and lifestyle change. We need to stop using genetics and as excuse to live an unhealthy FOOD lifestyle. Take your power back with the help of the Holy Spirit for the sake of Jesus and the gospel and the Father who loves you – and submit to a healthy eating plan you and God decide on together.
Stop believing the lie that you don’t have a choice in this. YOU DO. The root cause of most disease is inflammation. Do you know what one of the main contributing factors to inflammation is? You guessed it – FOOD. The quality and quantity of the food you eat is affecting your health for better or for worse because your body is constantly making new cells and recreating itself. Not sure what to eat? Invite the Holy Spirit into your search for an answer. Of course talk to a doctor, of course do you research, but first, ask the Holy Spirit to join you in the journey, coach you and teach you and use the people and information you come across to help you according to His good will for your life.
You may wonder why I am so persistent about inviting the Holy Spirit in to every step, every thought, every bite of food. John 15:1-5 Jesus talks about how He is the vine and we are the branches. It says we need to abide in Him and He in us. And here’s the kicker… he says, “apart from me you can do nothing.” We need to invite the Holy Spirit in, because we won’t be able to do it without him. It’s written there in plain red letters.
It is my practice (and I am not perfect, which is why I call it practice) to “plug into God” in many areas of my life. I visualize myself like a lamp that plugs into a socket (God) so I can light up, shine and serve a purpose. When I pray, I don’t just tell God I want to plug into Him for the generic “everything today.” I get specific. For example:
“Lord, I have done this eating thing wrong in the past and I’m sorry. In this moment I plug into YOUR power and YOUR wisdom, and YOUR strength to help me manage this food moment for your glory in my body, spirit and life. Please be in me, and I in you. Please help me.”
Repeat each time you eat or think about eating or shop for food. All day, every day, anytime you deal with food in any way shape or form, pray, remember this scripture, plug in to God first through prayer and ask Him for help.
Then lean on God’s promises hear, help and heal. For example, James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Christian Sister, stop letting FOOD build for you a hard, broken and potentially shorter life path. Plug into the Lord and ask Him to create a new life with healthy, healing foods. Watch Him make straight the path before you. I’d love to hear about what He does for you as you submit to Him and give Him the power to build your future instead of FOOD.
Questions for reflection during your prayer time with the Lord:
I Corinthinans 3:16-17 says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (ESV)
- Are you destroying God’s temple with your unhealthy eating lifestyle? How are you seeing that play out in your life?
- Ask God if there are FOODS you eat, and food habits you practice that may be harming you.
- Make a list of unhealthy FOODs that come to mind when you pray. Add any other FOOD you think might be problem for you. Be honest and do not allow shame or fear interfere with this process. Your are a treasure to God, he loves that you are talking to him about this and he will help you with love and compassion.
- Take time to pray about each FOOD individually. Talk to God about how He would like you to consume this FOOD in the future if at all. Write the thoughts that come into your mind next to each FOOD as your pray.
- Look down the road of your life to your future self. See your “1 year from now self” and your “5 year from now self.” If you change your food habits now, what is possible for you in 1 year? 5 years? What if you don’t? What are some of the consequences you may face if you continue to life an unhealthy food lifestyle? For 1 year? For 5 years? Ask God what it looks like for Him to “make your path straight” with you in willing submission when it comes to FOOD.
- Start adjusting your life immediately. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Submit to God now and allow God the space and freedom to work in your life immediately because this journey to FOOD freedom is moment by moment – starting with this one.
- Feeling bad about the choices you’ve made? Read Proverbs 3:5-6 again. Notice the the Lord says He “will make your path straight.” The Lord doesn’t need to make a straight path straight. The verse implies an understanding that he knows we’re all starting out with a crooked path. It’s human to have a crooked path. Give the Lord your crooked path and see what He alone can heal because of his deep love for you.
Need more support? Contact me.
This is Day 11 in “Eating Through the Proverbs,” a Bible study about food, by Julia Fikse, Functional Medicine Health Coach ©2019.
Julia Fikse is not a therapist or a doctor and this blog cannot and should not in any way replace doctor’s advice.