Understanding Yourself ó Continued... Barry's Video Blog...
God knows how strong and driving your need isóHe designed it that way. You can be confident that by turning and drawing near to God He can and will fill that need! Repentance can help you experience what God offers freely.
You can Correct and Prevent
Eating Disorders by Training
Your Heart to Feed Yourself
Our unmet need for God's presence can be so great that we are driven to things that we don't want to do. Eating disorders are among the many symptoms of our lack.
The sad thing is that our unmet need for God can be as problematic for Christians as for unbelievers. Just because you are a Christian, doesn't automatically mean you are feeding yourself with God.
One important step toward freedom is to learn to recognize eating disorders as practical evidence of a desperate and need for God's presence with you intensely, 24 hours-a-day.
Over Eating is Evidence
Much of the inner pain we feel is because we aren't experiencing God's presence to the extent that we were designed for. And it hurts.
Some of us eat in order to distract ourselves from the pain. Others of us eat for pleasure when life isnít as thrilling as we would like. Some of us want God's presence so strongly that we try to find refuge and hide ourselves in the fat we wear around us. We want God close!
The Bible says, "It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefitted" (Heb. 13:9). Foods are of no benefit compared to the presence of God given freely by His grace! God can fill you better because His presence is so readily available. Receiving God's presence is more pleasurable and more thrilling.
Food doesnít fill our longing for Godóit only distracts us from the pain of sensing we were designed for something more. You donít have to live this way. Life can get much better. You just have to get your heart to hear that it is safer to turn to God and that His presence is a better way to soothe yourself. He is waiting for you to let Him draw near.
You donít have to stuff yourself with food when you can be filled and satisfied with God. Instead of what you find in the cookie jar, you can draw near to the fountain and stuff yourself with God. Thrill yourself by receiving His presence and letting Him flow through you.
Thank the Lord that you donít have to depend on food as a way to relieve boredom. Thank the Lord until your heart hears and believes it. The Bible says, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37). God does not despise youóthank the Lord for that truth! Thank Him that you donít have to stay away from the throne room because of being overweight. Thank Him that what you find in the refrigerator is not your best hope for reassurance and something to soothe you.
You can have God. You just have to learn how to work with your heart so that you find freedom to believe and receive from God.
Under Eating is Evidence
Under-eating can be a way of being able to hide better because you are so thin. It can also be evidence of a longing to be able to enjoy perfection and beauty. These too are evidence of your desperate need for the presence of God.
You can experience God's presence so intensely that you are able to hide yourself in Him. You can experience God's perfection and beauty lavished all around you so much that His beauty and perfection becomes your identity. The Bible calls this being "called by His name" (2 Chron. 7:14).
Whether it is being perfect enough to deserve being loved or whether it is being perfect to just feel good about ourselvesóhuman perfection will never be enough. The standard is God and we know it! That is why trying to glory in our own perfection is so futile.
Feeding yourself with your own perfection won't work because we are forever disappointing ourselves. We need something better.
Get your heart to hear that you donít have to glory in the perfection of your humanity. Let God draw near and praise His closeness to you! Enjoy Him as your God.
Isn't it freeing that you donít have to feed yourself with the beauty of your humanity! Draw near to God and let Him draw near to you. Thrill your heart with the beauty of God as your beauty. See His beauty by faith. Look at Him and feed yourself by contemplating what you are "seeing."
Struggles in this area do not bypass Christiansóespecially young Christian girls where the pressure to deserve being liked is so strong. That Christians struggle in this area is evidence of how much we need the presence of God close to us. Salvation is vitalóespecially in the light of eternity. But, on a practical level for here and now, it is the presence of God that we need. Anything less and we are doomed to lives of addictions and compulsive behaviors that are deeply damaging.
Under-eating is also about control and power. We were designed to glory in the one true sovereign God. The good news is that you donít have to be a god yourself.
That you are tempted to do that means you need to glory in the closeness of the one and only sovereign God. You were designed to do that. So donít fight it! I think that underlying security is the real issue here. When you are frustrated because you donít feel "pretty" enough thank the Lord that you donít have to turn your heart to try and hurt yourself.
Viewing your eating disorder as evidence that you need God's presence will help you find greater freedom to turn to God and let yourself receive from Him.
In My Case
Food has not been my biggest problem area but it is still an area of concern for me. Let me share with you some of my own history in this area.
When I first learned about how to repent and then began to apply the heart-training concept, I learned very quickly about my need to find refuge and security in the Lord and not in food. Eating for reassurance had become a habit.
Even though my weight didnít show it at the time, I went after this area by applying principles of repentance. The result has been that Heart-training has changed me greatly. The presence of God has become my first refuge of choice. The key is that my delight toward God in this area has stayed high enough that reassuring myself with food hasn't been a problem for quite a long time.
But what I am seeing now at the time of this writing is that something I thought was dealt with earlier, I am now having trouble with again. I guess if we relax in some area, God always brings us back to that area later. After the recent holidays, I find I have gained about 15lbs. Now the issue is to try to understand where the problem is and then to turn my heart to God in that area. Let me explain.
What happens is that after almost 25 years of marriage, my wife knows what I like and she makes food that I really enjoy. I think my problem this time around has to do with my thrill and pleasure coming from food. By that I mean that not enough thrill and pleasure is coming from God to change the size of food portions I take. I know that I need to take steps to increase my delight in the grace of God and His presence in order to change my behavior.
Today my wife is thawing out one of my favorite dishes for tonight. And, I have already thought about what we are having tonight a few times today. What I am doing is to "take those thoughts captive" by thanking the Lord out loud that "The thrill and pleasure I need is not from food." Another way I am saying it is this, "Lord, I praise You that I don't have to take big portions because Your presence is my thrill and my pleasure - not food." Because I have done Heart-training in the past my heart is soft and is hearing it. I already sense the beginnings of my thrill and pleasure toward God on the rise.
But if my behavior doesn't respond soon, I will get out the Heart-training and go through the section about food. Then, if that doesn't work I will add more statements in the Heart-training that are more specific to thrill and pleasure coming from God. I know I will follow this path because I have been down it so many times in the past and seen how well it works in other areas.
If you are new to these things donít expect that you will just be able to repeat a few sentences and be done with it! There is much more to what I am saying than that.
After you have been applying principles of repentance for a while it gets easier. That is why down the road you will find that turning in some area won't be as difficult as it is now. For the present, you need to keep reading and plan on using the Heart-training! extensively. That is how I started. You shouldnít think you will be able to do any less.
Also, it may help you to know that it helps me to move forward here because I am absolutely convinced that what the Bible says about how to repent works. In my mind, it is what the Bible says so it has to work. What I will do is just keep heart-training until I see fruit. I will do that because I really don't have any other hope for being able to change.
In time, you will find that repentance is very much about recognizing the "benefits" we are receiving from our earthly ways, and then turning our heart toward God and finding from Him a similar, but greater benefit from enjoying Godís presence with us. You can do that!
But I want to encourage you to not think about repentance as just being about food. I find that if you don't think about it as turning in every area, repentance just doesn't work as well.
No Other Options
Are you willing to wait until your eating disorder gets worse? Or, are you willing to take steps to correct the problem?
Don't ignore your need! Your need to continually receive God's presence never stops. It never goes away. What other options to you have, but to admit that you have an overpowering need that has to be filled! Replace the damaging ways you are trying to fill your need with something better! Feeding yourself by experiencing God's presence intensely is your birthright as a Christian!
This site can help you learn to change your feeding habits so that you feed on God's presence. You can direct your heart to receive God's presence. You can find the pleasure God designed you to need because of His closeness being lavished on you. Anything less has too many unwanted side effects.
You can either go on like you have been or you can teach your heart to take God at His word. The longer you avoid what Jesus commanded about coming to Him and repeatedly "drinking" the worse your eating disorder can become (John 7:37-39). Just because you are a Christian that doesn't mean you are continually receiving the river of God's presence like He promised. You can find freedom to do that!
Part of why you can trust that you can draw near and receive God's presence is because the evidence of your need is so strong. The other reason you can trust God to draw near to you is because of God's provision and His grace. God doesn't want you to fill yourself from what you get out of your eating disorder. You can learn how replace that by continually receiving God's presence!
God can meet your need so much that your eating disorder just doesn't have power over you anymore. You can find freedom! Anytime you are hurting, you can soothe yourself by receiving God's presence and thrilling yourself with His closeness wash over you.
This site is for showing you how to work with your heart so that you find freedom to feed yourself by receiving God's presence intensely and strong--24 hours-a-day. You have to do that because eating disorders and other unwanted behaviors are your only other option.
Are you willing to work with your heart so that you find freedom to turn from self-condemnation? Are you willing to take steps to change from feeding yourself by faith in your "works" to feeding by faith in God's grace? Are you willing to work with your heart so that you find freedom to draw near to God and feed yourself with Him?
I am praying for the Lord's abundant blessing on your efforts to direct your heart toward Him.
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Understanding Yourself ó Continued...
(C) Barry Hall 1999
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