“Somewhere behind all of the numbers, a less measurable force is at work within me. It’s emptiness or lack.” Lysa TerKeurst
I KNOW I have eaten out of exactly what Lysa said in the above quote. She can trace the beginning of this to the day her dad left. I’m not sure I can find such a specific moment when I starting using food to fill emptiness, but I know I do. I’d love to say, “did” but the journey out of old habits can be slow. I’m walking forward, but I haven’t conquered completely.
For Lysa, forgiveness was an important aspect of find the strength to turn from food instead of trying to eat her way out of emptiness. About ten years ago I went through an intense cleansing time of forgiveness. I remember feeling like I’d lost weight because I felt so light inside.
But over the last ten years I put on physical weight, despite the beautiful change inside of me. I KNOW I was different after I forgave (and forgiveness is on-going, not something that only happened back then), but somehow I had a disconnect between my body and the rest of me.
Early in my weight loss journey, when I’d lost about 20 pounds, I was convicted by my daughter’s observation. Sarah said she’d watched me take care of my heart and spirit over the years, but never my body.
Ouch! In her whole life she’d never seen me focus care on the temple where God dwells. Not only did I neglect my body, I’d never given Him permission to deal with the outer me. I just keep sitting, writing, praying, studying, eating, and . . . gaining.
Then Jerry almost died. We went through bankruptcy. Our home was put on the auction block (then rescued, but that’s another story). All four of the kids had surgery or broken bones or both. All four of the kids were diagnosed with learning issues that required intense therapy. Jerry went through depression before and after the heart issue that almost took his life. And I cried out to God. I only got through all of that because of God.
But I also ate my worries, my emptiness, my fears. I ate for energy. I was too tired to care about my body.
While everyone I loved most went through crises, I stayed strong, pushed through, and took care of them. They started coming out of their stuff, and then I had two car accidents. I felt like Job. I was finally personally attacked, and I was done.
The Lord allowed things to get bad enough last summer that I spent much of my days in bed. It got bad enough that I finally had to change. I’ve seen a chiropractor, a counselor, a trauma doctor, and made changes with my health. Some days it’s still a fight to look toward what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
I’m finding that how I treat my body has a lot to do with my emotions. If I try to eat away the emptiness, I am left not only empty, but more discouraged than ever. If I go for a walk and stomp around and eventually surrender to God’s will as I move beneath a blue sky (or even a snowy one), my emotions ease, and I am better able to “park my mind and heart on thoughts that refresh instead of one that depress me, I am filled.” (thanks for the perfect words, Lysa.)
Help us to taste and see that You are good today. To fill up on YOU instead of trying to eat away our emptiness. Help us to be defined by YOU, nothing else. And help us to receive and experience your love.