My Addiction

26 Apr

It begins with a single thought that flows into a recurring, rippling stream of desire. Finally, the current of my thinking forces me to the refrigerator. I’m not actually hungry; I’m bored, depressed, need a break, or maybe a nap. What I don’t need is food, but I tell myself it will give me the energy I need to finish my project. Exercise might do that, but food won’t. I know that, but then binging isn’t rational.

For two or three generations, my family’s addiction of choice has been alcohol. In some cases that meant devastation and even death. In other cases, it meant second chances, recovery, and new life. I’m very proud of family members who continually choose life over addiction. They credit Jesus Christ and the twelve-step program for their victory. Their accomplishment blesses family and friends who once dealt with broken relationships, stolen property, wrecked cars, jail visits, and lawyers—for most, a dim memory.

You may say my food addiction doesn’t have that kind of impact. You’re right—no theft, no wrecks, no jail time. Neither am I obese, “just” overweight. Then why be concerned? We could start with gluttony as one of the seven deadly sins, but it’s more than that.

Food can become an idol. I’m defining idol as anything in life that replaces God. It can be a job, possessions, sex, relationships, power, or control. What helps us forget our troubles, feel good about ourselves, or fill a void? Do we run to God or the refrigerator, the liquor cabinet, a soap opera, an affair, or the corporate ladder?

There’s another reason my addiction concerns me. First Corinthians 6:19-20 says this, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (ESV) Our body is the only vehicle by which we may worship God and share His love.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1–2 NIV).

If I want be a living sacrifice and help others recognize God’s will as good, pleasing, and perfect, then I need to think differently about food. God created a wonderful variety of food that delights our senses. I’m free to enjoy food without thinking about it all day or making it my escape. I want to say with Job, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12b NKJV).

I suppose this is a confession and a willingness to be held accountable. It’s bit frightening and perhaps irrational to make such a public commitment to healthy eating and exercise—especially since it’s not my first effort. I’ve found freedom in so many areas of my life, but this seems to be one of my most formidable strongholds. I’m ready to break free.

Perhaps some of you feel the same way and may choose to join me. Do you need words of encouragement or have success stories? Your words can make a difference. I’d love to hear from you.

One Response to “My Addiction”

  1. Kate April 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    I’m an addictive personality, I think. Once I’ve overcome one addiction, another one surfaces to take its place. I’ve even been addicted to exercise….but at least that is somewhat healthy! Realizing our body is God’s temple takes some time. I need to meditate and pray on this! Thanks, Nancy.

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