Dear readers, this week I’m excited to introduce to you Melodye of the Faith, Food, and Freedom blog. I’m so glad the Lord connected us together, and am greatly encouraged by her testimony of God’s grace freeing her from lies about food that so easily entangle us. Below she shares a little of her experience, and I hope your heart is lifted by her warm reminders of Christ’s redemptive work!
My relationship with Jesus has flourished in freedom. Not in a set of rules to follow and restrictions to abide by.
As my relationship with Jesus has deepened and I’ve met him in new ways, he has shown me that he died so I could live freely.
In ALL areas of my life.
Yes, the Holy Spirit convicts me and I pay attention to that conviction. I move into it. That conviction is often hard and takes sacrifice. However, this sacrifice does not come from a place of hustling.
In our world we hear a lot about “hustling” in a variety of areas. Hustling is glorified.
But the term just crawls all over me.
When I hear I need to hustle, I’m reminded of basketball. You see, I love sports – to watch and play, but basketball is not my jam. I played in 8th grade and hated most of it.
When I heard I needed to hustle on the basketball court, I felt resentful AND seemed to move a lot slower!
But, volleyball is a different story. I LOVE volleyball. No one had to tell me to hustle on the volleyball court because I was already giving 100% of my ability to get to that ball at all costs. Because I loved the game and I enjoyed what I was doing.
I didn’t feel like I was ‘hustling’ in volleyball because my hustle came from my love of the game.
That’s what I’ve found Jesus wants from me.
He doesn’t want me to hustle to him because I feel like I owe him or I’m trying to be good enough.
He wants me to enjoy Him. He wants me to enjoy the freedom He’s given me. And when I enjoy Him, I WANT to follow Him. I want to honor Him by following the law.
Out of my deep love for him, I can respond to convictions and follow the law that ultimately honors him.
It’s not the other way around. He doesn’t want me to follow the law and then try to love him.
Jesus and Intuitive Eating
One area of my life that Jesus came in and completely wrecked for His glory was my relationship with my body and food.
You see, for so long I believed I needed to have more willpower or self-control around food. I needed to tame my hunger and exercise a certain amount to be worthy.
It wasn’t that linear and conscious, but the underlying pursuit of weight loss and health is a desire to be accepted. To belong. To be worthy.
I thought the way to do that was through dieting – restriction, cheat days, clean eating, strict exercise, weight loss.
But I found myself hustling for value and pursuing an ideal that not only is detrimental to my physical health, but also my mental and emotional and spiritual health.
In my work as an eating disorder therapist I learned about the presence of diet culture, failure rates of diets, and new definitions of health and wellness.
What I didn’t know is that dieting does not work. The failure rate is 98% and even the 2% that succeed are stuck in a lifelong cycle of disordered eating.
Intuitive Eating is a non-diet lifestyle. It is about rejecting diets, trusting my body, and healing my relationship with my body and food. It has nothing to do with weight or restriction and everything to do with freedom.
Just like Jesus.
I love the Gospel of John. It has become a new home for my heart as I enter a new dynamic in my relationship with Jesus.
In John 8:32, Jesus says “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Through my professional work, the Lord showed me the truth about how HE created my body.
And it’s amazing.
The more I learn the more I am fascinated at the way he created ALL bodies for survival and thriving.
Dieting sends signals to my body that I am starving, and my body has been created to prevent starvation and does amazing things to protect itself. I have learned that my body is not flawed because I crave certain foods or dread exercise or weight cycle.
In addition to the incredible capacity for survival my body has, I have learned to be curious and less judgmental. I have learned to look BEYOND the definitions of physical beauty of our world.
Not of This World
Living a life not bound by diet culture is anti-cultural.
It means putting down a pursuit of acceptance based on the aesthetic of our bodies. It means living a life of curiosity and grace versus shame and judgment.
It is not easy, and at times I find myself buying into the lies that Satan whispers through diet culture.
When I have trouble deciphering what is truth and what is a lie, I remember John 10:10 “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. But I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full!”
The voice of Christ is one of abundant life while the voice of Satan is one of shame and destruction.
Not only did he come to give me life – He came to give me FULL life. He came to give me FULL freedom from the shackles of dieting, body obsession, and shame.
The life He came to give is not found in achieving the perfect body or having the perfect health markers.
The life He came to give is found in grace and hope and love and freedom.
A life of freedom from dieting, body hatred, and shame is available to YOU. No matter your health, your weight, your exercise routine (or lack thereof).
There is NO reason that you can’t have this life of freedom. He died to give it to you.
In order to do that, here are few quick tips on how to have a life of freedom in a diet culture world:
1. We must first truly educate ourselves on the truth of our bodies, dieting, and weight stigma. Remember, in John we are reminded that we “shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” John 8:32.
2. We must look for our (and other’s) worth deeper than our health, physical makeup, and aesthetics. I’m not saying we don’t care about our bodies or our physical self (because I think that sets us up for shame and an impossible expectation), but we are reminded, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
3. We are called to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:1 NIV. We are given guidelines of clothing ourselves in characteristics that truly move us toward the heart of God, not clothing ourselves in a “good enough” body.
4. And lastly, I hesitate to use this verse, but we must reclaim it from diet culture! 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
Honoring God with our bodies does not bring up shame and guilt and condemnation. Honoring God with our bodies does not mean we buy into the messages of diet culture that we only honor our body by dieting. Anyone or anything that says we must restrict a food to honor God with our bodies is not spreading a message of truth.
Walking a life of freedom in my relationship with food and my body has been uncertain and when I am not sure if I am buying into diet culture, I check my emotion and my heart and I lean into Scripture.
If you desire for this same freedom, I encourage you strongly to learn about Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and join me in this new way of life with Him over at faithfoodandfreedom.com.