The alarm clock’s obnoxious chime alerts me that it’s time to get up for another day. After trying to figure out a way to stay nestled in my warm bed, I finally push myself up knowing what’s next. I head to the bathroom where I remove everything that might weigh even the slightest bit and step on the scale. I catch myself holding my breath in anticipation of the number that will flash on the display. Just maybe this morning will be the morning when the number goes down. Maybe somehow, overnight, the weight loss fairy removed those unwanted pounds.
But no. The scale taunts me with the blaring truth that the number refuses to go in a downward direction. So I vow to do better in between the verbal assaults I lay upon myself. I won’t eat lunch today. I’ll throw out those chocolates. I’ll exercise as soon as I get home from work. And my resolve soon fades as my hunger overtakes my resolve.
The next morning, the alarm wakes me to another day. I crawl out of my warm bed and head to the bathroom where I remove off everything that might weigh even the slightest bit and step on the scale.
I hold my breath in anticipation of the number that will flash on the display. Maybe this is the morning. But once again, it isn’t.
Another day of promises. Another day of verbal assaults. This has become my life. And I absolutely hate this continuous shadow that never seems to leave. My life is consumed with what to eat and what not to eat. The guilt surrounding nourishment is enough to push my choices in all the wrong directions. And the thoughts I have about myself, my appearance, and my lack of willpower are tremendously destructive. I can’t seem to get back to the place I once was where I look in the mirror and see more than the physical person looking back at me. Instead, I see ugly, disgusting, fat, lazy, unwanted, unworthy, and without purpose.
Let’s be honest, these thoughts, they have nothing to do with food. I can go for days without eating and I still won’t feel any better about myself. Because I’m never going to be skinny enough, or pretty enough, or good enough … there will always be someone I feel I don’t measure up to. These thoughts are straight from Satan himself. He knows my weakness. He knows the things that I have placed before God and he uses those things to create a deeper crevasse between me and God.
It’s actually quite amazing how much power a thought can have. It can start out as something small but if left alone, it grows into something profoundly destructive. If you don’t take these thoughts captive, they will consume you. So you must decide right now, today, to change the story of the battle for your mind. 2 “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” — Corinthians 10:5.
IT’S TIME TO BE INTENTIONAL
Let’s start with identifying any thought that is deceptive. In other words, is the thought harmful or helpful? Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable but that doesn’t make it harmful. I’m overweight. It’s negatively impacting my life. It’s not a happy thought but it’s not a harmful lie, either. For me to say that I’m overweight and therefore unloveable is a harmful lie. But it’s a thought I’ve had more than a little and even believed way too often. It’s easy to coddle the thoughts that enter your mind. You have to examine that thought and say, “Hmmm. I’m not sure I can let you stay in my mind because I don’t see any evidence that you’re lining up with the word of God. And if you’re not aligned with His Word, then He didn’t plant this thought in my head.”
This is probably the hardest thing we are asked to do. Taking thoughts captive if they don’t align with the Word of God is hard because we typically trust ourselves. We trust the things we think and do. But we can’t just blindly trust that every thought is truthful. Too often, Satan is using our own insecurities to create spiritual doubt. That’s why we have to be intentional in our every thought.
Next, we need to change the narrative of our story. If my story doesn’t include constant fighter verses, then my story is not in alignment with God’s story. I’ve always struggled with memorizing verses but I think that’s because I didn’t fully understand the importance of having those words tattooed on my soul. But God’s Word is the sword we’ve been given to battle the enemy. If we don’t use His Word, we will lose the battle every single time. Memorizing scripture allows me to exchange the deceptive thoughts for thoughts of truth.
In Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, I’ll Start Again Monday, she said, “I had to get honest enough to admit I relied on food more than I relied on God. Food was my comfort, my reward, my joy. Food was what I turned to in times of stress and sadness and even in times of happiness.”
It was like she read my mind. And I hated this truth so much but it’s the exact thing I have been doing. For two years I’ve wondered in the dang wilderness, trying to battle these harmful thoughts alone. And honestly, the enemy has been winning. So, no more “starting again on Monday” thoughts. No more embracing my thoughts without comparing them to God’s Word. And no more putting food before God.
Praying before every meal isn’t enough. Pray about everything you eat. Ask God: “Please remove this craving of anything unhealthy so that I only crave you.”
There will be lots more tears and many more mornings of holding my breath as I wait to see the number on the scale. I’m exercising and trying to follow a nutritional plan; even going to see the doctor soon in order to ensure I’m doing everything I can to be healthy and honor the body God has given me. I’m also trusting that God will keep my thoughts healthy and will remove the false lenses from my eyes so I can see the woman He created rather than one I’ve come to loath. I’m a work in progress and thankful for the grace that comes from my creator.