For me, hitting bottom as a compulsive eater looked like this: I was driving home from work one day with a box of donuts in the passenger seat beside me. That box represented a thousand occurrences of the “buzz” I always felt during the first few minutes of a binge. But it also represented years of obsession, despair, and suffering. Food had me by the throat, and I knew I couldn’t live that way anymore.
We Christians use the phrase “cry out to God” so much that it’s lost its meaning. But believe me when I say I finally cried out to God that day in the car. I wailed and hollered, and it wasn’t pretty. Essentially, my prayer boiled down to a few words: I’d rather be dead than live like this. Help me!
The Lord answered, Here I am. Let’s do this.
I knew what I had to do first. Normally, I’m so against littering that I’ll pick up someone else’s filthy soda can off the beach, but as I continued down the road that day at 60 miles an hour, I glanced in my rearview mirror to make sure no one was behind me and then hurled the box of donuts out the window.
If you don’t hear anything else, hear this: The only reason that moment marked a turning point in my life was that as I consciously unshackled myself from food by tossing that box out the window, I also consciously shacked myself to the Lord regarding food.
As donuts hit the pavement, I relinquished my so-called rights in regard to eating. Essentially I said, “I will never have freedom of choice in this area of my life again.” I knew I could not be trusted when it came to food. So I surrendered that part of my life to Someone who could be trusted.
I’d already surrendered my life in general when I was saved, but now it was time to do the same concerning this aspect of my life. Let me explain: being a believer doesn’t mean saying a word of prayer every time you make a decision. For example, I do pretty well when it comes to money: chances are slim that I’m going to gamble my next paycheck away because I’m a good steward of the money God gives me. Even if I stop by TJ Maxx five minutes after depositing my paycheck, I won’t have to pray my way through the aisles lest I blow $300 on useless stuff. But when it comes to food, I can’t be trusted. I had to abdicate my right to make decisions regarding what I ate. I had to give up control right then, right there, for the rest of my life.
As I mentioned last week, the journey has sometimes been difficult, but I felt a change immediately. I distinctly remember the next morning as I allowed God to guide me through the first meal of the day. What should we have for breakfast, Lord? How about this? No? Okay, how about that? I knew that, as a believer, I had the ability to sense the yes or no of the Holy Spirit, so I literally conversed with Him every time I was in the presence of food. I learned to obey His leading quickly (before I could talk myself out of it). Within days I’d cleared the house of as much sugar as possible and confessed my addiction to someone else in order to bring it into the light.
On one hand, I was terrified. But on the other hand, I felt great relief. I was no longer responsible for making the often tortuous choice between saying yes or no to something I wanted very much but that I knew would make me feel awful. God was now calling the shots. At first, there were days when I had to take it minute by minute, but eventually it became an hourly effort, and then a daily one.
Next week, we’ll look at a few more aspects of what I now call the Consecrated Way—that is, a lifestyle in which eating is devoted to the Lord. The word “consecrate” means “to make or declare sacred; set apart or dedicate to the service of a deity.” When you consecrate the way you eat, you declare that it’s sacred; you set apart and dedicate that aspect of your life to the service of God. In turn, He accepts your offering and makes it holy—as only He can.