Exercising the Spirit of Self Control

I prayed to be forgiven for putting food before God, and the gluttonous individual I’d become still, at times. I’ve knowingly done it, too, because I wanted to and figured, “tomorrow” I will be better. I have come to know, however, that the “tomorrow” mentality permits a low life, poorly allowing one to live for a time that often never comes, and a well-lived life becomes elusive because the lie we tell ourselves to give us what we want for the moment persists, and then tomorrow remains elusive forever.

​​The Lord is My Portion
Last night found myself eating more than I needed to as I considered I would not be eating much of anything I wanted to next month because I will be doing a cleanse.
One of the things I like about my body is that it is resilient. Also, as much as I scrutinize my body every day, I don’t need to. I look great. I found that this morning. I have a pretty body. Sure, I have many flaws – my bottom is not as high and tight as I’d like it to be, I have some spider veins on my legs and a bit of loose skin on there too, and polka dots, and a bit of cellulite there too, but for the most part, I look really good! LOL. Seriously, it doesn’t sound that good, but it is, I can assure you. Well, maybe it’s just not bad:)
I regularly eat what I want for the most part, and with the exception of over a year ago, I keep things pretty much in moderation. But when I do buy goodies, I pretty much go all at them until they are gone. I recall one time, however, within this past year when I had ice cream in my freezer for a long time, and I didn’t consume it just because I had it, I ate it when I wanted it, which I found was not daily. This is in severe contrast to last week where I ate my two pints of BOGO free Ben & Gerry’s from Friday to Sunday, and have done the same with a whole half gallon in the matter of a weekend before. I’m a big fan of ice cream. It would be my dessert island food!
What I am getting at, is that recently I am finding I am sick of the power I am giving to my food. It’s almost like I pride, which I do, myself of being able to eat anything I want without gaining weight – with the exception of over a year ago when I gained a good six pounds because I ate everything that came my way, and more, from October to sometime in January or February. I just went all at it and didn’t care. Maybe because I realized this about my body.
When I was in my early teens, 13, I began my long and sad career as a binge eater and bulimic. It is not that I was overweight or anything of the sort. I saw something on the television where girls were bulimic, and for some reason I got the perverted notion that I could do that. It’s almost like I had some need to have something I could do, and that was it. I was lost in those days – living with my best friend and her parents. Though they were very good to me, and I loved them, I was a misdirected youth with no one helping to guide my future.
I do not remember much from 13 until I was in 11th grade in terms of “being” bulimic, but in 11th grade I know it was bad, and remember it clearly. I won’t go into the gross details of it now, but it was bad enough to where I was hospitalized at 16, and not because I was so skinny they thought I would die, but more so because they were worried I may have a heart attack or suffocate trying to puke up my food. Or, maybe they just knew I was lost and treatment was necessary to help me from that way of poor living. Those days, I do remember, and I remember clearly eating my feelings all the time, how miserable I was, and puking them all up at the same time, but I was always, “fine.” My mom and grandmother clearly knew better.
That was really my life. I would eat and puke for hours after school, or work, later after I had relapsed, and moved away from my support group into a toxic environment and relationship with people in my family. It was a mess. I found it my only real friend too, because I didn’t have friends, really. It was my way to fill my time and curb the loneliness and sadness I felt.
Years later, it ended. My dad, “uncle” and boyfriend, David, did an intervention on me. That was the beginning of the end. I really guess I needed people to love me and support me and because I was getting it, and having more of a life with friends and college and a support network, I was free from it for the most part.
Years later, I would find myself binging and purging in times of very high stress and it was clearly a time reflection – a compass to alarm me as to what was going on with me emotionally. I would figure it out, get back on track and often be fine for years at a time.
It was only when I was in my 30’s that I met a woman who told me she committed to herself that she would never purge again despite how much she ate. I admired that because bulimia is such an irresponsible, cheaters disease. It completely disregards accountability and skirts the rules preventing a life of integrity. I committed then, myself. I have never puked again since then, despite feeling like I would literally explode on a couple of occasions – that my stomach might in fact rupture, but it didn’t.
So, I’ve been free from puking for over 10 years, but one of the things I’ve been coming to recently is the relationship I have with food, and I am not keen on what I find.
Because I can eat what I want and it rarely effect my weight, it always effects my being, my soul.
This is what I have found.
When I moved back to the States in December 2010, I was fortunate enough to get what I considered a dream job working teaching nutrition education to little people I call them – young students in pre-K – 2nd grade. It was awesome, but only for a year until I got bored.
At any rate, what I learned then, was we have a relationship with food and we can always tell where we are emotionally, based on how we eat. At least this is what I found for myself. I find that true, still, to this day.
One of the character traits I have found with myself of which I am not a fan is this pride issue which I’ve already mentioned – this fact that I can eat what I want without it really effecting my weight. The problem with that is that I tend to pork out a lot. Food affects us. It affects our energy, mainly, and for me, also my emotional well-being. I am affected by how I eat. What I eat. If I eat too much or too little. Trying to feel like I don’t always have to be full to stop eating – this one just came to me last year as I realized how much I’d been eating at dinner time on a regular basis.
One of the feelings I have recognized within myself when I do this is a flagrant disregard for honoring my body. It’s the attitude of, “I’m going to do it because I can.” I don’t like that attitude finding is disrespectful and ugly. It’s like, though I don’t purge anymore, there is still somewhat of that not having to be accountable for what I eat because it doesn’t “seem” to affect me, but, it does, still. It represents a powerlessness, still, too, of not having or exhibiting any self-control.
I have thought this past week that maybe I should begin attending some support groups because though I am not overweight or bulimic, I am exhibiting a powerlessness over my food. I am making it all-powerful and I don’t like that. I make the comment regularly how food is my favorite thing in life. That is sad. But, there is some truth to it too. I love to eat. I love good food. I love to enjoy it. I am grateful for it. But, I have given it a place of respect without properly honoring it or my body to the level it should be.
Let me explain – years ago, not sure how long ago but 15 or more years when I started getting interested in nutrition, I’d done a 9 day fast – I had to quit because it wasn’t good for me and my head aches were tremendous, but I remember when I came off of that fast, I was praying over my food before I ate it, and felt awe and reverence – like I had put food in its place by fasting. I was no longer cramming it in my mouth and devouring it. I was respecting it and grateful for it. I almost cried and have done that still a couple of times this past year, and prior to this year, when I am just very grateful and pray before eating, considerately. There’s a reverence and humility which accompanies it that puts me to tears or at least wells me up😊.
At any rate, my realization this morning as I sat in prayer and considered where I am and where did this awesome feeling I had last week go, I figured it might have to do with my food because that is the only thing I can think of that has put me off – that creates this sense of separation I feel from the Lord created by putting something else “more powerful” in the place of Him.
When I prayed, I confessed my feelings toward my food and how much emphasis I’ve put on it, still. I prayed to be forgiven for putting food before God, and the gluttonous individual I’d become still, at times. I’ve knowingly done it, too, because I wanted to and figured, “tomorrow” I will be better. I have come to know, however, that the “tomorrow” mentality permits a low-living life, poorly allowing one to live for a time that often never comes, and a well-lived life becomes elusive because the lie we tell ourselves to give us what we want for the moment persists, and then tomorrow remains elusive forever.
The thing about gluttony, is even know I am not killing anybody or having an affair with a married man, it’s all the same to God. It is a deadly sin. ”A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” It not only creates a wedge between me and the Lord, but it hampers my soul. Therefore, I lose the power-cord connection I have from God when walking uprightly before the Lord because I put something else in His place, and I also lose personal power because of the physical impairment bad- and overeating has on a body. Many “food-hangovers” have I had! I know it’s wrong yet keep doing it, secretly acting like it’s okay, maybe not consistently, but I allow for it whenever I want. Forgiveness is ours from the Lord when we repent. I am on a new path with this now, hoping to really honor my body and my Lord with my food more, especially when I don’t want to – those are the most important times when we need to push in and use what tools we have, and, as a fruit of the spirit, self-control is mine to experience!!
The Spirit of self-control is what I will exhibit more of in my life. Discipline! Yes! I do it when I want it, but because there is not any seeming outward effect of this behavior on my life, I’ve let it slide, but it affects me any day I let myself get away with it, and had continued to affect me because it has remained unconfessed until this morning.  I thank you, Father, for bringing this to the forefront and removing it from me. It is time to walk in self-control.
As I prayed this morning over my delicious garlic, honey-butter and cinnamon toast, ½ banana, and coffee, from my mouth came thanks to the Lord for my meal, but also as I considered more what I was giving thanks for, out of my mouth came that, “For You, God, are my portion.” That prayer gave me new insight and purpose! Yes, God is my portion for every day and everything on this Earth. His is my sufficiency and only need. Yes! Yes! Thank you, God.
I believe that was prompted by the Holy Spirit because I have never used that prayer. Looking it up later, I found it to be in Lamentations 3, and am including many of the verses before and after. One of my favorite verses to contemplate is that the Lord’s mercies and compassions are new every morning. I love that thought!
21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

Exercising the Spirit of Self Control

 

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