A Raging Battle

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.  So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  I want to do what is right, but I can’t.  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.  I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart.  But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am!  Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? — Romans 7:15-24, NLT

I love food.  Period.  For as long as I can remember, food was not only a part of my physical sustenance, but a part of my emotional existence.  Can you relate?  Did you also grow up in a home where cookies made the hurt feel better, or where ice cream melted away a broken heart?  I ate to celebrate special occasions; I ate because I was bored.

Being an active cheerleader in high school, these unhealthy choices didn’t seem to make a difference in my physical appearance.  I stayed slender no matter what I ate, although in the back of my mind, I worried about being overweight.  No … let me change that … I worried about getting fat.  The dreaded “F” word, with all of the ugly degrading connotation behind it.  My best friend at the time struggled with bulimia and anorexia, and she was thinner than I.  Put two and two together – if she thinks SHE’S fat, well gee, I must be too!  Diets and extreme measures were never my style, though, and I simply silenced those thoughts with another mouthful of deliciousness.

The results of those poor choices never caught up with me until after I got married.  I went to college for one year out of high school, and instead of gaining the “freshman fifteen,” I actually got into the best shape of my life due to the required PE class.  After one year, though, I left college to marry my high school sweetheart.  My physical activity went to zero, and my food intake went to “two very young adults eating pizza most of the time,” as my (now ex) husband worked for Domino’s.  On a young couple’s budget, free pizza worked our perfectly for our finances, if not for our health.  Three months after marrying, I became pregnant with our older daughter, and the excuse to eat was justified!  In fact, my doctor warned me a few months into my pregnancy that I was gaining too much weight.  After the appointment, with tears in my eyes, I bought a Snickers bar and said, “He’s a man. He doesn’t know what this is like.”  I gained 60 pounds with that pregnancy.

I lost the weight from my first pregnancy just in time to get pregnant with our younger daughter.  I was much more careful this time, incorporating daily walks into my routine and not gaining as much weight as I did previously.  After her birth, I didn’t worry about my weight at all until one day in the bathtub.  I caught my reflection in the overflow drain and started to cry.  Never mind that I’m quite sure those things are like fun-house mirrors, distorting the curves terribly; I was fat.

Thus began the ups and downs of my entire adult life and the battle with the scale.  Throughout my twenties and thirties, I took every pill and potion, went on every diet, bought every workout video and destroyed my metabolism.  Looking back now, not only do I regret the money I wasted, but the emotional damage I did to myself – and I am quite certain to my daughters.  You can only hear your mother degrade herself so many times before it becomes ingrained into your mind too.

So let’s fast forward before I tell my entire life story.  Condensed version: food was my best friend and my worst enemy, and my priorities for losing weight over the years were totally out of whack.  For that matter, my LIFE priorities were out of whack.  If I want to be truly honest with myself, my body issues combined with food addiction played a part in the ending of my first and second marriages.  Not the only part, but definitely buried deep in there somewhere.

Years later, God is still on His throne, and once I surrendered my heart so that He could be King of my life, things changed.  My struggle with food as lord over my life is still a raging battle.  This is where I can totally relate to Paul in his letter to the Romans.  Why do I do what I know is not good?  I love God, and I love being obedient to Him!  Can there be victory?  Will a day come when I desire to honor Him in EVERY part of my existence, not just in the parts that are easy?  I get so excited when I read verse 25 of Romans 7!  Remember, verse 24 asks that pertinent question, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Who provides victory?  “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25, NLT).

When my focus is on Jesus, things fall into place.  Jesus is to be my Comfort.  Jesus is to be the Focus of my celebrations.  He is the One I should turn to when temptations arise, when boredom strikes, when frustrations prevail.  Being healthy is an admirable reason for getting that vicious cycle of food and guilt under control.   Wanting to live longer so I can enjoy my grandchildren is not wrong.  Even the desire to feel confident isn’t such a bad thing.  However – all of those things pale when compared to honoring God.  He created us.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  –Psalm 139:13-16a, NLT

I realize the battle to put God first in all areas of my life is a lifelong one.  I also know without a doubt Who holds the victory. God’s mercy, grace, strength, and peace give me hope through it all.


6 thoughts on “A Raging Battle

  1. Oh, I think so many of us question the same way that Paul did, why do we do what we know is not good?!?! Thank you so much for sharing your story and being honest with your struggle. Love and prayers!

    Kris Danko (OBS Blog Hop Team)

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, for being open and honest. I enjoyed reading your blog. Making the decision to put God first in everything, everyday can be challenging but thank God that His mercies are new every morning! Natalie (OBS Blog Team)

  3. Thank you for sharing…
    It’s amazing I never looked at that scripture in reference to food choices.
    There is so much sin in our life I never thought about eating too much as sin…
    but over indulgence in anything is wrong…
    smoking was bad.. cursing… lying…stealing…drugs… but food?

    Why does it have to taste so good? But afterwards feel so bad… filling stuffed is miserable the pleasure turns to pain so soon after and then to pounds and inches and rolls…

    I used to think people talked to me because I was a little bit pretty..
    and now I think people do not talk to me because I am fat…and ugly…
    either way… my focus should not be on people and acceptance and recognition but on God!
    To focus on Jesus, that is the key to making it through all the storms in life to walking on water…
    Please help us all to focus on verse 25!
    ”Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord”

  4. Thank you so much for this post! And YES – I can total relate. I love the Romans passage you quoted and actually wrote a song recently about another verse that expresses that struggle between flesh and spirt. The verse was Galations 5:17 – “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” It’s not the same without music, but the song lyrics are:
    TITLE: Galatians 5:17
    AUTHOR: Miriam Lind

    On days like this
    When the sun outside is hiding
    My skin feels damp
    It’s cloudy in my soul

    And I hate this stupid dance
    Two step forward another back
    Round and round in circles I go

    You said You’d purified me
    But I still feel so ugly
    Don’t like the reflection I see
    In the mirror

    I know You’re always at work
    But Your fingerprints they start to blur
    When I get mixed up in myself
    Mixed up in myself

    I guess that’s how it boils down
    A choice between You and my own crown
    What kind of obsession
    Will I foster?

    And I know I’ve sung it all before
    Less of me and more of You, Lord
    But each time I stand
    I fall again.

    It’s a push and pull – a tug of war
    A battle raging in my core
    I feel like Adam and like Eve
    Or Eden bursting into weeds

    I know Your plan is to redeem
    But it takes so long I feel defeat
    Where’s the forest through these trees?
    Father help me…
    Father help me…

    Instrumental verse….

    It’s for freedom – he set us free
    It’s for freedom – he set us free
    It’s for freedom – he set us free
    It’s for freedom – he set us free..
    While I originally wrote this song about some other emotional struggles, God has been impressing it on my heart a lot during this Made to Crave study. I’m realizing that I ALSO crave food more than God. Here’s my journey so far: http://cravingsconfidential.blogspot.com. Let’s keep each other encouraged. God bless!

  5. I can relate so much to your post today. I ate/eat for all the same reasons and my previous life as a dancer in my teens and early twenties covered up my “sins”. Which of course came to light around the same time I stopped and also not long after I became a Christian – not that I’m saying it’s God’s fault. 😉
    I love how so many of us are feeling and thinking the same way. Freeing, isn’t it?

    I linked your blog post to mine. I hope you don’t mind.


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