Ever since early high school, I have had a love-hate relationship with food. I won’t go into all the details today, but that is one of the reasons why I went down the path of becoming a dietitian. My teenage days were spent obsessing over my waistline and figuring out any way to restrict calories. I thought going to school for nutrition would solve all my struggles with food.
In some ways, my dietetics education did help. I learned that a healthy lifestyle was not all about low-calories foods and excessive exercise. I began to see the nourishing side of food instead of it just being detrimental to my figure. And, it also stopped me from continuously seeking out the next best fad diet. (With all the education I took, it’s hard to ignore science versus a celebrity’s skewed health beliefs). But that education ended up being more of a bandaid on a much deeper wound. See, in the time from when I graduated from high school to when I graduated from university, I had many big life changes: getting married, moving to another country, having a baby. But I never really dealt with the fact that life as I once knew was never going to be the same. College was hard, but motherhood came with all new worries and challenges of itself.
I began to feel the pangs of loneliness and bitterness from raising my son without immediate family living nearby. (FaceTime is great and all, but nothing is quite the same as face-to-face conversations with my mom). And the loneliness also led to me rethinking the authenticity of many of the friendships I was forming as well as my relationship with my husband. Soon enough I found myself struggling with food again — this time going to food and cooking for comfort.
The problem with this is that when you use other things (like food) for comfort, you don’t rely on the great Comforter (a Christian’s Helper, a.k.a. the Holy Spirit; John 14:16) to meet your needs. You become very self-centred in trying to find other things to feed your soul instead of focusing on loving God and loving others. Staying in your own hardship and misery instead of moving towards Christ will not get you anywhere — believe me. (It will just lead you to hurt yourself and the ones you love most).
It was not until I committed to studying God’s Word regularly that I realized that no amount of my own willpower was going to remove loneliness and bitterness that I was feeling. No amount of food, or lack thereof (even if it’s the right kinds of foods) was going to change me back to the seemingly carefree, glass-half-full person I thought I was once. I needed my heart to change from willpower to God-power. I had to start living in His strength and going to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6) instead of relying on my own strength.
I’ve begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel again. I have started looking again to the Lord for the comfort, courage and strength I need on a daily basis (Psalm 27:14). Learning to trust God is still difficult for me at times. But God did not promise that life would be easy. As he said in John 16:33, “In the world [we, believers,] will have tribulation. But take heart; [Jesus Christ has] overcome the world.” In the midst of suffering and hardship (or any other battle you are facing), we can find peace in fellowship with Christ. No amount of food (or shopping or social media or alcohol or friendships or any other replacement of God) can give you this peace.
Is there something in your life that is coming between you and finding the peace and joy that only comes from a relationship with God? Is it something like your relationship with food? Or the need to feel constantly connected through social media? Or is it some other past regret or current struggle?
God can change you. He’s continually changing me. When we rely on God and the Holy Spirit’s work in us to transform our minds (including what we think and say), our hearts change to be more like Christ. As I’ve learned this past week in Bible Study Fellowship, transformed hearts lead to transformed actions and habits. Pray to the Lord as David did in Psalm 51:10 — “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
If you need this kind of change in your life but do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, ask Him to come into your life to free you from your sins. Here is a resource if you would like to know God personally. I encourage you to find a local church to guide you in your new faith in Christ.
If you already have a relationship with Christ, but are still struggling — remember that anyone in Christ is a new creation — the old things (like past sins and bad habits) have passed away and new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ has freed us from our sins. Through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, sin no longer has power over us (1 Corinthians 15:57). Don’t let sin (like my love-hate relationship with food) have control over you anymore.
I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
If you have any personal questions about my faith or would like assistance in finding a faith community, feel free to send me a message via my “Contact Erin” form. And — if you need practical tips and encouragement on food, nutrition, faith, and family, continue to visit Beyond the Dinner Table for my weekly (usually Thursday) posts!
Hi! I'm Erin – a follower of Christ, wife, mama of two, and registered dietitian. Welcome to my blog where I write about intentional motherhood, intuitive eating, inspired discipleship, and whatever else I feel like! I'm so glad you're here.
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