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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 11

Chapter 11: A Word Specifically For You

"Little children, guard yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21

In this chapter, Fitzgerald revisits the topic of idolatry. She redefines the word, idol, as anything that "usurps your love" for the one, true God. If there is anything that you seek after, love, or worship more than God, it is an idol.

She shares a story about a woman named, Marlene. Marlene was a bulimic and her goal was always to be thinner than her sisters, no matter what the cost. This desire was a god in her life because it dominated her thoughts, actions and heart. Her thoughts were focused on, "What do I look like? Am I gaining weight? Am I as good as they are?" She constantly lived with fear, anxiety, despair, bitterness, and self loathing.

Marlene was worshiping the god of being thin, not the one true God. With any god that isn't the one true God, there are certain rules that must be followed. Her god's rules were "Thou shall not eat sugar, thou shall not eat potato chips and thou shall exercise off 500 calories per day." If she violated any of these laws (sin), she would feel angry, worry and fear because she failed to be perfect.

Marlene's thoughts that she had to be perfect were false. Maybe you can relate to other lies that our culture tells us...

  • "You only have worth if you are thin. Only thin people are truly happy."
  • "I'll never be out of control like that other person... they are so weak. I am stronger because weak women are failures."
  • "I deserve the pleasure of food, but I don't want to pay the consequences of gaining weight because fat people are disgusting."
  • "I will only deserve to be loved if I am thin. People will think that I'm worthless if I'm not a certain size or weight."
  • "I have to be perfect."
  • "Life is so chaotic, I must be in control of something."
  • "I feel unloved and I deserve to be ugly so I will binge."
All of these thoughts are lies and if they consume our minds and lives, they can become idols to us. Instead of living in fear, self hatred, and dissatisfaction, you can turn your eyes to the one true God. Only He can bring you hope to change. God is able to bring about change in us when we replace the worship of the lies with worship of Him.

To replace the lies we must think of things that are true. Philippians 4:8 says that we should only think of these things, "whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things."

You may be filled with fear at the thought of change. Ask yourself these questions:
"What is the worst thing that could possibly happen if I gave up these idols? Will that stop me from reaching my goal of worshiping God? What would happen if I would run to Christ instead of the refrigerator to save me from trouble?"

Consider the laws that you have made for yourself. Do your laws help you to love God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength? Do your laws help you to love your neighbor as yourself?

Working at change is a battle worth fighting. If you struggle with an eating disorder you will need to force yourself to eat in a way that pleases God. As you attempt to do this it will be a huge struggle. If you keep fighting, God promises to be with you. God will continue to work with you, even in your imperfections.

Just as he embraces you, you can embrace what God says in Isaiah 45:21-22,
"There is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, there is no other." Only the one true God can bring you fulfillment and purpose. He's always waiting for you to turn to Him.

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat
Elyse Fitzpatrick
Copyright 1999