Here we are. . . onto Part 2 of “Standing in the Gap”. . .the part that I am less than excited to talk about. . . the part that reveals a piece of me that I don’t like and am not really keen on visiting. HOWEVER, I’ve never been one to shy away from being transparent. I fully believe that God uses our “secrets” or our rough patches to fully heal us, allow others to learn from our mistakes, and glorify Him all in one fell swoop. So, I will humble myself and tell you a bit about my reliance on food, and how our awesome God continues to Stand in the Gap for me. As a side note . . . you might not have a reliance on food like I do, but your reliance might be on something else- like technology, acceptance from others, alcohol, drugs, nicotine, shopping. Whatever it is, the way I found healing and “a way out” can apply to your circumstances.
Weight has always been an issue for me- even when I was a competitive swimmer and spent more time working out than I did breathing (or so it felt). I have a short and stalky frame and I just hated that I wasn’t Olive Oil incarnate. I was athletic, but I also LOOOOOVED food. As I got older, left swimming, and started entering reality, I realized that when I ate and didn’t work out, I was going to gain weight- yea, yea, yea- DUH. Trouble was, I HATED to work out. I had spent so much time working out as a high school and collegiate athlete, that the moment I quit, I literally vowed to A) never wake up before 6am and B) never work out again. If you’re laughing out loud at the thought of either of these things being realistic, join the club. Motherhood would make Vow A seem like a far away dream that only existed in fantasy. Vow B though, well that was a choice that I could either make, or continue to ignore.
As the years went by, and 2 ginormous babies left their lovely impression on my frame, the pounds just continued to pack on. It seemed like it happened very fast, but in reality I let a good 10 years go by before really breeching the “I might need to do something about this” epiphany. Enter Yo Yo Dieting!! Every time I would “diet”, I would find myself in Deprivation Mode. I would cut out this, cut out that, cut back this, blah, blah, blah. Several times I dieted, it actually worked, only for me to then decide to have another baby! LOL! Yep, lose the weight, get pregnant, lose the weight, get pregnant. Even as I write that it sounds super logical and almost like it’s a good thing. However, I had set up camp in the “unhealthy” zone in both weight AND the food I was choosing to consume. As a former athlete, I was ashamed and embarrassed at the fact that I would get out of breath trying to keep up with my girls on little walks and other ridiculously easy tasks. The shame and guilt consumed me at such a deep level that I really didn’t even realize how much trash talk I did TO MYSELF!
Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
That verse really started to take root in my heart as I combed through the pages of Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. I kept thinking about my body as a “sanctuary”. I had this vision of a physical building that was a house to a wonderfully loving and thoughtful King that everyone loved. But, instead of it being beautiful, well kept, and shimmering, it was in shambles . . . barely livable, not even safe for a rat, much less a beloved King. Then, it dawned on me that if my body was considered to house the Holy Spirit, the One True King, exactly what kind of establishment was I providing for Him? This really bothered me and brought a sense of urgency to my struggle with weight. I was definitely NOT treating my body with respect, and I certainly wasn’t rolling out the red carpet for any royal tenants.
However, after reading Made to Crave, I realized that I was simply using food to “Stand in the Gap” for me. Whether it was emotional, brainless, or whatever, my food choices and my food amounts were all feeble attempts to close a gap. I had these voids, these little holes that needed closing. Those holes could be stress, frustrations, crappy circumstances, anything! After delving into this book, though, I realized that God is ALL I need to fill those gaps. I mean, I’ve known that God is always there for me and that He will sustain me. But, hearing another person’s story made me realize that I wasn’t alone in my struggle, AND that a clear end was in sight. I had been turning to food when I was frustrated and upset, or stressed and tired, rather than turning to God. Food just seemed easier, tangible, effortless. I didn’t need all that junk, but I wanted it, and it was easy. And as my physical shape changed, so did my emotional shape. I didn’t want to be in pictures, I didn’t want to do certain activities, I was ALWAYS subconsciously aware of how my clothes were fitting or looking. Not only was it EXHAUSTING to live like that, it was unhealthy and NOT FUN!!
BUT, thanks to the obedience of a good friend, sweet Stephanie, and the transparency of Made to Crave and Lysa Terkeurst and her willingness to expose her own skeletons, I was able to see how truly deep my issue was. Furthermore, I was able to devise a plan to rid myself of the crap that was holding me back. Remember that plan I talked about in Part 1? Well, this step of gaining back control of my body was critical in me being able to fulfill all that God has planned for me.
So today, I charge you- take control of your body. Make choices that honor your “sanctuary”. Grow closer to God, and let the reality that He loves you and is here for you consume your thoughts. ALLOW Him to Stand in the Gap for you- give Him a shot . . . you might be surprised. . . 🙂
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7