Lately, I’ve been asking God the question “why now” as it pertains to the weight loss I’ve experienced over the past month – and not just the weight loss but the mental changes that have come with it. I’ve prayed and battled this issue for so many years, and didn’t understand why I’m only now gaining a victory. Last night, I was reading something and I felt as if God tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear: “that’s ‘why now.’” Here is what it said:
“If all goes well, your critical conscience looses. You evolve and grow, the end point being that you have no more harsh, unrealistic, perfectionist, absolute rules to live by or criteria to meet – just a good set of values and guidelines and rules of thumb to help you decide what to do and how to behave. You develop a friendly, mature conscience based not on fear, but instead on your experience in the world…. The ideal end point is 100 percent self-ownership so that you can deal with reality straight on with an open creative mind, not hampered by rigid ways of looking at the world… But alas,
If you’ve been using food to shut down rather than transcend your critical conscience (because you don’t want to hear its perfectionist self-accusations about your worth, your adultness, your style, your friends, your anger, your lovableness, your values, or your impulses or its pessimistic projections about your dreams, your ambition, and your ability to handle life), you’ve stopped or seriously slowed down the natural and necessary separation from your critical conscience. You may have quieted the strong critical voice when it acts up too vigorously by eating, but your remain stuck with its criticisms and demands as soon as the food gets digested…
As you further delve into all of this you may discover that the single biggest problem standing between you and a thin body has to do with your harsh view of yourself. This may seem to be a strange focus for a book about weight, but the measurement of your interior self has a lot more to do with the measurement of your waist than you might realize. The emotions that your mind transforms into phantom hunger all connect to your interior life, with self-doubt as the central organizer. If food has become your major mood-regulating mechanism, you’ll find yourself overeating every time your mood slips, every time you feel you don’t measure up, every time you think you or your life aren’t good enough.”
When I read this, I suddenly understood what the difference in me is now, and what changes had to take place before I could come to this place. The difference between me now and every other time I’ve tried (and failed) to diet is this:
I know that God loves me.
Until very recently, I have viewed God as a big policeman in the sky, ready to slam me over the head with his club any time I made the slightest mistake. I have spent the past 13 years of my life striving to please what I perceived to be an unappeasable God. I’ve been obsessed with knowing God’s will so that I could do it. I’ve been obsessed with being perfect so that God would… not love me (I know that he loves me)… but so that He would like me. I have been obsessed with walking the line.
This point really hit home with me a few days ago when I was talking with a friend who was very anxious about figuring out exactly what God wanted her to do in a particular situation. She was worried and upset because she wasn’t positive she was hearing clearly. As she spoke, the thought crossed my mind: “why are you so worried about this? If you’re wrong, God will show you.” And suddenly I knew how incredibly far I’d come in my relationship with God over the past few months. That thought would NEVER have entered my mind six months ago. In fact, I probably would have been pouring over the Word with her, determined to figure out God’s will in the matter. Instead, I’m starting to see God as my friend, and I mean that very literally. Jesus is a personal friend of mine. He’s not a policeman in the sky waiting to beat me up for the slightest infraction, he’s a friend who wants to help me make the right choices. And He’s not going to be upset with me if I “get it wrong,” He’s going to sit beside me and help me through it and help me turn things around.
I don’t worry about failing God anymore. I don’t even worry about sin. I don’t strive to be perfect and get everything right and I don’t strive to be a “good Christian.”
The difference between who I used to be and who I am now is this: I don’t feel like God hates me. I don’t feel like He is angry with me over my sins. I don’t worry about disappointing Him and I don’t strive to please Him any longer.* Instead, I am becoming secure in the fact that He loves me. I don’t spend all my time examining myself and trying to search out sin, or examining the Bible and trying to search out His will. Instead, I am learning to trust in the Holy Spirit to guide me and love me enough to “lead me in the way I should go.” I don’t constantly feel that I’m not measuring up, or doing things wrong (even when I know that I am!) Instead, I’m beginning to feel safe in Jesus’ love – and liking! – for me, even when I’m knee-deep in sin.
I no longer need to self-medicate with food to avoid the feelings of worthlessness and condemnation that have followed me around, literally, my entire life because they’re just not there.
Jesus is becoming my friend.
*I say that “I don’t” when in reality it might be more honest to say that I don’t “most of the time.” There are still times when those old perfectionist thoughts creep up, but I’m learning to live safely in God’s love, free from condemnation. And that’s a wonderful, incredible feeling.
Category: Weight Loss