Food is a fickle friend. It’s joy and stress. It’s love and hate. It can bring people together, enhance traditions, and channel creativity. But too often, it imprisons me.
As long as I can remember I have been addicted to food. In high school, I hid cookies in my room. As an adult I binge on chocolate. Honestly, I attend some functions just because I know there will be good food. When at a party, you’ll find me by the table, munching away. Sometimes it gets out of control and I’m simply sugared out, my mind a fog and my spirit discouraged. Even when I don’t want to eat, I still do. I feel like I’ll never change. Why? Because food promises comfort. It’s an escape. But it’s not.
I heard about “The Whole30” program months ago from a friend who wanted me join her. I declined, saying I wasn’t ready (and I probably wasn’t.) But the truth is I was afraid of discomfort, loneliness, and missing out. I simply didn’t believe that a sugarless life would be a happier life. In addition, without grains, dairy and legumes, life is simply misery! What about the holidays coming up, the parties, and the bar of chocolate I share each evening with my husband after the children are asleep?
But 23 days ago I decided I had enough. I sprung into action and began the Whole30. I started with one day which turned to two, quickly becoming four. At that point I decided to do the full 30 days.
I have experienced many positive side effects (after the initial discomfort and transition of my body ridding of toxins): more energy, less stiffness in the mornings, and a clearer mind. But even better, I feel my emotional chains slowly loosen and break. Bigger than the physical improvements are the things I’m learning and will keep with me a lifetime:
1. I am not a slave to fear. Fear holds many of us captive for a huge portion of our lives. We feel helpless to change because we know no other way. We rely on things that won’t satisfy because we are afraid of life without them. Many things hold my heart captive to fear. But if God can set me free from my long-inhabited prison, can He not free me to share my faith, speak up for what I believe in a difficult situation, and follow wherever He leads? Can He not be trusted?
2. I feel freer at parties to focus on people, rather than food. I’m able to interact at a deeper level with sharper listening skills. It’s a good thing because people want to talk with me about it. At a recent event someone asked why I wasn’t eating the Oreos and chocolate chip cookies. I shared about my lifelong struggle with food and how this experiment was giving me freedom. But more than that, I shared how Christ is the only real freedom from bondage—he is the only stronghold worth holding on to.
3. I’m aware of my lifelong battle. Soon, I will reintroduce certain foods into my system. Truthfully I’m nervous, reminding me that only the Lord sustains. In an afternoon, I can fall back into my old ways. Chances are, it will happen. However, He is present and waiting to show me grace.
Food is fickle. But Jesus is constant. He is a faithful friend and our deepest joy. He promises to fight the battle of fear (food related or other) for us. And He is a God of redemption, able to use anything to further His kingdom.
Taylor has lived over half her life desiring to know God and make Him known. She is the wife to Josh Irby and the mother to four beautiful children. She lives in Bosnia working with college students and young moms. She loves creating art and music and teaching her children piano. You can read more on her blog: Irby Road.
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