When most people write about stress during the holidays they address the hustle and bustle of different parties and the weight of feeling the need to do everything. But God put it on my heart to address another aspect of Thanksgiving and Christmas that brings stress and anxiety to many people. This article is going to address the anxiety that food brings to the table(no pun intended).
When I opened my email today I received one entitled “How to survive Thanksgiving”. At first it sounded interesting so I clicked it to read their tips and as soon as I started reading I heard the Lord tell me to stop. So I closed out the browser and He began to speak to me about my own anxiety when it comes to parties and food. He showed me How deeply saddened He is that a time that was meant to be full of thanks has turned into a time of anxiety about what to eat and how to burn the extra holiday calories off.
As He was speaking to me about this someone sent me a video on a new eating disorder called “EDNOS” or “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified”. As I watched this video my heart broke, especially when the girl referred to her disorder as “Ed”. The number of Americans, especially women, who have eating disorders is growing by the minute. Everywhere we turn we are told we need to look a certain way in order to be valued and loved. If we weren’t born naturally thin we will go to great lengths to ensure we fit the norm.
When I was a teen girl(and even throughout my early twenties) I would go in cycles where I would binge or starve myself. I remember in the times I was starving myself I would have nightmares that I was eating junk like pizza or donuts. I would wake up terrified and disgusted with myself. Because of this I know all too well how much of a death grip food can have on your life. If you are addicted to food, or the lack there of, you will rearrange your entire day around it. If you are addicted to eating it you are concerned about what the next meal will be even while you are eating the first. If you are addicted to withholding food from your body then you will decline certain party invitations if you know it will be too tempting to eat food. You will retreat and isolate yourself to a place where you feel in control. To put it simply, satan has you on a chain and the idol(food) is leading the way. It tells you when to go and when to stay. God has no voice in your life when you are in bondage to food.
For those struggling with something like this, Thanksgiving and Christmas, times that are meant to bring joy and peace, can bring nothing but anxiety and wishing you could just play sick for all the family gatherings. I can tell you that God has set me free from this cycle of bondage but it is something that I must keep submitted to Him or it will rear its ugly head.
Here are two key truths in finding peace with food and your body:
1. Food is Fuel.
Food was created by God to fuel our body. However, from the beginning of time satan has used food, a beautiful thing God created, to get between us and God. Food was never intended to be our enemy or an idol in our life.
There is nothing more true than the statement “Eat to live, don’t live to eat”. I remember when binging on junk food was a bondage of mine I meditated on this truth often. God’s word says in 1 Corinithians 10:21 “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Pray before you go to the Thanksgiving feasts or Christmas parties. And pray often. Even as you are loading your plate, ask God to give you wisdom and self-control. Ask Him to show you how to enjoy the food but not over indulge. Reevaluate often and ask if your behaviors are bringing glory to God. Ask questions like: am I at war with food? Am I using it to fuel my body or to fill a desire only God can fill?
2. You are not your own.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
If you are a born again believer your body is a temple of the most High God. He dwells in you and you in Him. There is not one moment of any of our days on this earth that this is not true. There are no exceptions or special holidays when our bodies are no longer temples. So when we enter into holiday parties we must keep this perspective. Does God want us to enjoy a yummy meal with our family and friends? Absolutely. But does He want us to go to an extreme and either starve ourselves out of fear of gaining weight OR go the other way and binge until we feel we are going to throw up? Not at all. Do everything in moderation and with a sound mind and God will bless your temple.
If this article spoke to you today I encourage you to take a few moments and talk to God about it. Ask the Holy Spirit what He is asking you to give up this holiday season or enjoy with no guilt. He cares about every single detail of your life and food is no exception. In fact, food was His idea.
I pray you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! 🙂