I started this series (read the introduction here) on idolatry because I was convicted recently about my own idols.
I have been praying and considering sin in my life and really trying to seek God in the unseen sins of my life (by unseen I mean the sins I don’t even really realize ARE sins). I mean, I’m very aware of when I lie, or am jealous of someone, or when I say something I shouldn’t have. I’m aware of what I like to think of as the obvious sins. But, I wanted to go deeper. I decided to ask God to reveal to me what are my idols, what is taking the place of Him being the main focus of my life, etc. And one thing came to mind, and hit me hard, more than any of the others that He also made me aware of. Beyond revealing to me a number of things that I’ve idolized by desiring more than Himself, He pointed out to me a struggle I’ve had for awhile that is really disrupting my seeking Him and knowing Him as much as I am able. It is the curtain in the temple.
This is open and honest, this is me confessing my biggest struggle.
Since I started college almost 10 years ago, I have struggled with an unhealthy relationship with food. This unhealthy relationship has led to a questionable relationship with fitness. My freshman year of college I went through a lot of major changes in my life and I turned to fitness for the first time. Somewhere along the past 10 years I guess I started turning to food, too. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know when it happened. I do know the night before my parents came to see me for my 21st birthday I had the urge to purge. I never did, but I remember being alone in my dorm room wishing I could do something to get rid of the food I had eaten for dinner. It was a terrible feeling and I wasn’t even sure why I felt that way.
I have never purged of food nor have I really starved myself of food. What I have done, however, is work out a bit longer the day after eating too much or deciding to work out only because of the food I had eaten earlier in the day. What I’ve also done is think about food all. day. long. I mean, from the time I get up and think about what to eat breakfast to the time I go to bed and make myself brush my teeth so I won’t eat something else.
To keep the story short, it has been a battle since that time. For years. And it is something I have sought help with, but have yet to find any relief.
Until only recently.
What really started changing my motivation behind eating and behind working out was to check my motives. God starting hitting my heart quietly with His truth. The truth that I had been making food and my body an idol in my life.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)
That hit me hard – do not worry about what you eat. That means, do not think about it, do not plan excessively, do not dwell on it, do not use it to replace boredom. And likewise – do not worry about your body – whether it is too fat or to thin, whether it is gorgeous or not (because who really determines that, anyway?). No, do not worry, focus on today. Focus on the Word of the Lord. It’s tricky because we must eat and because physical exercise is good for you. But I had to check my motives. Why was I working out for 2 hours today? Why was I eating a fourth cookie at 2om when I had nothing else to do? I had been desiring food more than I had been desiring God, His Word, and food for my soul.
“The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. (Psalm 19:9b-10)
I just wrote about Joshua 1:8, where Joshua was commanded:
” Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night…”
Notice the Lord does not say “meditate on food, your body, what you’re going to eat, what you’re not going to eat, when you will eat, who you will eat with, who will think you look good, who will think you’re too fat, day and night.”
So, to summarize: I was making food an idol not only by thinking about it all day, worrying about it and how it would make my body look, but by also then worrying what people would think of my body, finding my worth in the eyes of man.
This is where I am. God has revealed to me that this is not just an annoying part of my life, it is an idol and it is a sin. It is currently the biggest hinderance to my relationship with Him.
I am excited about where my life will go from here. It has been a long journey, with this relationship with food, but I think I finally am walking down the long path towards redemption and freedom. It will continue to be a long journey, but now I have a different motivation – Jesus Christ.