Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hungry Girl Healing Story

      I remember feeling so hungry and bleak a hunger that had nothing to do with a growling stomach or a need for nutrition. I was just soul hungry and I chose to answer that need with grilled cheese. So I made a sandwich and then another and another until I had compulsively, mindlessly and joylessly shoved seven grilled cheese sandwiches into my suffering body making it a matching set with my suffering soul. My history with food has not been a pretty one. I had alternately practiced binge eating and bulimia for most of my teens and young 20's and I was a dangerous combination of an unhealthy body mind and spirit. But this is not a story about then; this is a story about now. Now I eat when I am physically hungry, stop when I am full,  enjoy a variety of foods with a healthy appreciation and my only limits on food are that I must obey God in eating. So what does that mean and how did I get there? Here is my healing story.

      My story begins way before I will begin here, but I do try to keep my posts to one page! So today it begins at a diner in Nashville over pancakes with girlfriends. I had recently had a soul awakening that led me to bow at the feet of Jesus acknowledging Him as saviour and this led me into sweet relationship with God. I had seen the directive in scripture to not be gluttonous but I had no idea where to begin. Thankfully God had a plan! Enjoying my pancakes I made a casual statement to one of my friends  "I love pancakes" I gushed.  As soon as this observation had passed my lips I felt a heaviness in my soul and as clearly as I have ever hear the Holy Spirits whisper I heard "Do you? Do you LOVE them?". The question stopped me dead in my tracks. Did I understand love? How was it that I loved food? Thankfully I was dining with girlfriends in Nashville because we were at a woman's conference on God and food. That weekend God showed me that I had made food into a false idol that I turned to for comfort and I left the conference armed with a book on how to give my food to God. First there is a fast where we wait for hunger. True stomach hunger not emotional hunger was what I was searching for. The fast part was not that hard, self deprivation is a buddy to self loathing which is a pal to binging. I had a whole family of neurosis living in my hungry belly. So I fasted until my stomach was clearly hungry.
      The next part was harder: identify fullness, this part was horrifying because I was supposed to allow myself to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and that to a rapidly expanding fairly vain young woman was a terrifying proposition. The idea is that denial makes desire stronger and sure enough after a week or two of binging on all my favorite foods I woke up definitely craving vegetables. The next part while simple enough took almost a year to come to pass. We were to ask God before every meal to tell us when to stop. I had muffled Gods voice around this issue so much that about a year into repeating this request when I had the fork halfway to my mouth and I heard the still small voice of God whisper "stop" I just froze from surprise. Then I finished eating. Months passed with God whispering "stop" when I was full and me putting down the fork about 10% of the time, then 20%, then 30%, then...well you get the picture. This dance lasted for quite sometime until God got it into my head that nothing tastes as good as fellowship with His Spirit. That peace does not come from mashed potatoes and soul hunger is never satisfied with one grilled cheese. I generally blog about where I would like to go with God (deeper and deeper) but this Thanksgiving season soon after facing another Thanksgiving meal, but this time without dread but instead with true joy I just wanted to take a minute to thank God for where He has already brought me.. This was about a two year healing process, nothing instant or miraculous. Just a repetition of practicing surrender, falling down over and over and God picking me up over and over. I brought to the table a willingness to try to obey God and God brought everything else. Today it is nearly unthinkable to continue eating past my "stop signal" not because I am scared of getting fat or because I live under a vengeful God who will punish me for disobedience. But I cannot bring myself to continue past stop because God has showered me with an eternal love that is soul satisfying and unlike grilled cheese God is faithful and loving and completely soul satisfying. Why would I want to endanger this relationship for a sandwich, no matter how gooey?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest
Matthew 11:28

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