Have you ever felt confused about yourself and why you DO the things you do, despite your intentions? Life, even in weight loss, can sometimes get confusing and blurry. Like, for example, you set out to start losing weight and then ALL of a sudden, you have a BAD day. You’re stressed, frustrated and tired. And instead of eating the dinner you’d planned to eat; you order domino’s and eat the pizza and wings with the family. Almost like you didn't even EVER KNOW that you were on a diet!? And it’s not until LATER that you realize that you just blew your diet. That’s the kind of confusion and blurriness that I’m talking about. You KNOW that in that moment of stress, FOOD wasn’t the answer. But we’ve BLURRED the lines between feeling and eating. We’ve fallen into the trap of LOVING food so much, that we see it as our OUT for life’s emotions. Food isn't love. God is Love. Whether it's a good or bad emotion we might be feeling is really irrelevant. We eat when we’re happy and when we’re sad. We sometimes don’t even SEE that we’ve blurred these lines until we’ve crossed it so far and can’t find our way back. Today I want to share with you a POWERFUL lesson from one of my FAVORITE TEACHERS: The Apostle Paul. He has SO much to say in the word, and it all applies to us on our weight loss journey.
… I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live with almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or an empty stomach, with plenty or with Little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength!...Even in weight loss! Philippians 4:11 - 13.
The Apostle Paul is such an amazing teacher. His lessons EVEN apply to us on our weight loss journey. He could get along in nearly any situation whether he had plenty or Little.
His secret was drawing on God’s power for strength!
Today I’m going teach you how to rely on God’s promises and Christ’s power to help you to be content as you’re trying to STOP all the food things, DURING real life situations and emotions.
In the scriptures I shared with you at the beginning, (Phil 4:11-13) we can see that Paul learned to not be emotionally attached to his fleshly, human needs. Instead he transferred and was led with his focus on his spiritual needs. If you always crave or want certain tastes or flavors or even certain feelings of fullness, ask God for assistance, to remove that desire and to teach you how to be satisfied in every circumstance. He will supply all of your needs, but in a way that HE knows is best for you.
Early in my weight loss journey, I was trying hard to seek God and to crucify my flesh. I had done so well for 30 days following my meal plan. And then it was date night. At that time I was developing my new habits to "seek God power" over my will power with food, so I prayed in advance of going to the restaurant. I prayed that I wouldn’t be tempted and that I would obey my food plan. I even looked online at the menu to decide what I was going to eat before we left. That night we went to a restaurant that served my absolute favorite dessert in the world.; crème brûlée! As I sat there, I could feel myself worrying about crème brûlée being on the menu. Because I knew I wanted it. I had a story about crème brûlée. I started to talk to myself about how I 'deserved to eat it because I had been doing such a good job for 30 days.' And then it happened. I ordered it. My husband looked at me with confusion and astonishment. But I could feel myself reasoning eating it inside of my head and I could almost TASTE it. I sat there nervously as I waited for the waiter to bring me my dessert. Instead, he returned to the table and told me that they were all out of Creme Brûlée. They were all out of crème brûlée! That was God! That was all him! God knew what I needed in that moment. And in that moment, I needed HIM to show me what happens when I transfer my belief in myself, to Him. And in that moment, He was stronger than I was!
All right… Back to Paul. In the Scriptures I shared with you, you can see how Paul could get along happily because he could see life from God’s point of view. He focused on what he was supposed to do & not on what he felt he should HAVE in his life. Do you see this distinction? His priorities were straight. Paul detached himself from the nonessentials so he could concentrate on the ETERNAL. That’s what we do when we focus on seeking GOD, and see ourselves as being on a sanctification journey, instead of JUST focusing on our willpower and in arriving at a number on the scale.
So How can you do this? How can you detach from the nonessentials? See things from God‘s point of view and focus on what you should do versus what you feel like you should eat!
Get ready to take notes; here are the 3 things that these scriptures teach us and HOW to apply it to our food stories.
Often the desire for the world’s foods, the flavors we’ve grown to love, the sauces, dips, the fried foods or even the baked treats, is really a longing to fill an empty emotional place in our heart, or in our daily lives (stress, overwhelm, frustration). Of course, it’s habit too, and even a bit of physiological response from an addiction to a food. (Enter: Cravings!)
So ask yourself these questions:
What foods am I drawn to when I experience life’s emotions?
Do I eat when I’m sad? Bored? Happy? Lonely? Stressed? Tired?
What do I eat when I’m feeling these emotions?
How can I find true contentment during these emotional moments?
Do these foods fix the emotions that I’m feeling?
Do you see the disconnect here?
Foods don’t fix feelings.
So how can you find true contentment in your feelings if the answer is not food? The answer rests in your perspective, priorities, and your source of power. Let me review the 3 ways out of this worldly emotional eating trap:
1. See your emotional food stories from God’s point of view. Is it true that when you’re stressed you must have wine? How does God see that? What might God say is the answer here?
2. Are you focusing on what you feel you should have or on what you’re supposed to do? When you focus on what you think you should have it’s just from a conditioning of your thoughts, a pattern of this world. Adjust the filter through which you’re viewing your life, your every decision. Change your focus. Think from your faith not from your feeling. What should you do when you’re sad, if eating isn’t the answer? Pray! Seek him for guidance, peace, comfort, & strength. Eat when you’re hungry; Pray when you’re emotional. Do not eat when you’re not feeling Hunger because that's you just feeding an emotion. Psalm 37:23 says, the Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. You see God delights in you when you transfer your trust to him and try to do his will. He watches over you and makes firm every step that you take. Every decision that you make. If you would like to have God direct your every THING, then seek his help before you seek to help yourself; leveraging worldly solutions. He will help you…even in weight loss. (think: crème brulee!)
3. Last thing: How can you detach from the nonessentials and concentrate on the eternal… even in weight loss? Change your faith focus! As I’ve said before, transfer your faith from your head knowledge “about faith”, to your heart faith. In our heads we KNOW the scriptures; but in our hearts, we OBEY them. In our heads we know about the INFORMATION contained in scriptures, but in our hearts we experience the TRANSFORMATION from scripture! You are being spiritually matured in this Christian life. Put your focus on how you are asking God to change you. This sanctification journey that you are on is where you go deeper and step into God’s power to change you. Food is no exception.
So, look at your food stories. When you are sad, what do you eat? What about when you are stressed, celebrating, bored or just lonely? How can you disconnect your need for food when you are feeling emotions and not hunger? By deciding to activate you heart-faith focus! Focus on seeking him for strength like Paul did in Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ to strengthens to me.” Switch to being eternally focused. You are being changed as you switch your focus and your fuel source from your flesh to your father! Let him show you how He’s drawing you closer through your awareness about your emotions and food choices, on your weight-loss journey. He wants to bring you closer as you are being sanctified. The secret that Paul shares is that when you are eternally focused, the things of this world change in their value to you. Suddenly you see that emotionally eating, because you are experiencing a moment of sadness, is like putting a Band-Aid on a bruise. A Band-Aid won’t fix a bruise. Just like food doesn’t fix an emotion. The world has taught us this! God fixes Matters of our heart; not food! Pay attention to your food stories and then the next time you feel like you need the wine because you’re stressed, or the Doritos because you are bored, PRAY and ask God to direct your steps and to strengthen you to not eat or feel the desire for that food. Don’t feed your feelings; feed your faith! Be like Paul. Detach from this World and seek God for your needs… Even in weight loss.