75. The Business of the Craving…

Your Biggest Obstacle.

By now I hope you realize two things:

1) Diabetes is no joke.

2) You can take control of your diet, regain your health and reverse diabetes (and many other kinds of diet-related diseases).

There is probably a third thing you have realized as well. This journey is far more than about changes in diet, exercise, and sleep habits. If you have begun this journey, you have probably encountered your biggest obstacle yet. You. Yourself.

What I mean is the biggest obstacle to any lifestyle change, whether that is simply to lose weight or reverse disease, is the spiritual and emotional baggage we all carry around food and our use and consumption of it.

Three months prior to the diabetes diagnosis, I had to good fortune to read Lisa Terkeurst’s book, Made to Crave.

While I am not usually into “self-help” books, two things made me take a look at this text. 1) I wanted to lose weight but realized I had a problem (okay, more than one) with using food the wrong way. 2) The nearly twenty years I had at that time spent in inner healing told me I needed some more tools around this issue. According to the front cover, this book was about “satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food.” And that is exactly where I wanted to be.

This book is all about putting food in its proper context—as nutrition and for pleasure, rather than as a medication for bad feelings, comfort for emotional and spiritual wounds, or our particular method of addiction.

I “sat” with this book as I read it, trying to let her story sink into mine, to see where we intersected in our attitudes, struggles, desires and faith. I let Holy Spirit strip away my defenses around food, penetrate my attitudes about its use and place in my life, and push away shame through her words. I let healing into my story through hers.

The Big Takeaway.

My big takeaway was the realization how much I used food as comfort—for bad feelings or emotional triggers, for boredom—and how that is putting food in Holy Spirit’s place. Holy Spirit is the Comforter.

I had to learn (and still have to intentionally practice and even re-learn) to sit with my discomfort while my whole person—spirit, soul, and body—recalibrated to receive comfort from Holy Spirit rather than eat something or turn to food.

This process exposed wounds that, even after twenty years of inner healing, had been hidden and were driving my actions, and not toward my created purpose. Those actions led directly to developing diabetes, which I am convinced is not God’s plan for me.

Can I confess that the recalibration was hard? That it sometimes still is hard? Because it was, and sometimes is. There were incidents where, once I had made the determination to wait for Holy Spirit’s comfort instead of turning to food,  the wait seemed interminable. At first it took days. Days of saying “no” to the comfort of food while at the same time not feeling Holy Spirit’s comfort, or even being able to identify a particular issue to work on.  I sometimes felt abandoned.

I certainly wondered why Holy Spirit’s promised comfort wasn’t immediately available. Why, when I refused to make food the comfort that God did not flood me with peace and healing and understanding. I had to stand for a while without comfort—neither my old, familiar comfort food nor the new comfort promised by Holy Spirit. Why when I had decided to forsake my idols and turn to God, that I wasn’t immediately satisfied.

Comfort Food—Not!

Then one day, about ten days into this process, I felt peace flood me inside. I had, again, chosen not to turn to food, even if my feelings were hurting, and instead stand until Holy Spirit showed up and in that moment the recalibration had happened. I was experiencing what it was like to get comfort from God, instead of turning to the immediate, but short term, gratification of food.

I asked God why it had taken so long for him to show up when I needed him. The understanding bubbled up from my heart into my thoughts so clearly, it was as if someone had spoken to me. “I did. You just couldn’t feel me.”

I couldn’t feel him? When I was crying out for comfort, expecting, having experienced God’s presence before, I couldn’t feel him? Then it hit me. My emotional comfort receptors (if you will) were not tuned to the God frequency. They were tuned to the food frequency. My comfort receptors had to recalibrate and get used to recognizing comfort from Holy Spirit rather than from tasting something.

I wasn’t waiting on God to comfort me. I was waiting on my ability to receive God’s comfort to become tuned to him, instead of clogged by my old comforter, food. God hadn’t abandoned me in my hour of neediness. He wasn’t waiting until I was ready. He poured out his comfort immediately, but because of my woundedness, I couldn’t perceive it, receive it, or even understand that it was there.

And isn’t that way it usually is? We ask God for something, but because of our inability to sense it because the emotional, spiritual, and sometimes physical scar tissue we have created to protect our wounds prevents us from having it. We become angry at God for withholding or abandoning us, and all along it isn’t him it’s us.

I learned so much more than I had thought I would through this process. I opened my eyes to the possibility that in other areas—other than recalibrating my comfort receptors to receive from God rather than food—that it might just my ability to receive rather than God’s willingness to give that is holding up the process. MY process. I hope it will open your eyes to your own process, too.

There are more obstacles I faced in the early stages of this journey. I will talk about those in the next few posts.