In the Beginning was Food
Regardless of who we are, we all have a relationship with food good, bad or indifferent. There are scores of Websites, blogs, and even entire channels on food shows to prepare it and how to eat it. Some people even describe themselves as foodies. We all have a personal relationship with food. I have been known to say, ”Me and food go way back”. It is a tongue-in-cheek way to say that, well, I have had issues with food and I’m a work in progress.
From the very beginning, food was used to cause our first earth mother and father to sin. The enemy convinced Eve to see the fruit as something it wasn’t. God had placed a boundary on it, but she bought into the lie. The Bible says Eve looked at the food with different eyes. She saw the fruit though believing the lie the enemy had told her; that it was good for food and desirable to make one wise. Food became a weapon.
The Experience that Changed Food for Me
I know now that food is for nourishment and it was created for us to bless us, to bring us life and health. But through an early experience, it had become something else. I was twelve when food became not so much nutrition, but a tool for me. I have a distinct memory of when this happened. I had turned twelve. My mom surprised me with a cake. I don’t remember what kind it was, but it was store-bought. That year, I also became a woman. One day while I was at church, there was a group of older boys talking; they may have been in their teens. I overheard them commenting on my shapely figure. Not long after that incident, a trusted family friend, my brother’s best friend, lured me away from a Bible study to corner me in an entryway alone. He’d come to me during prayer and said the pastor’s wife (aka, his mom) was calling me. I got up dutifully and followed him into his well-laid trap. He proceeded to take away my innocence. I never told anyone about this experience.
The way my life then unfolded was subtle. I kept the incident to myself. I ate to repress and to forget. I ate for comfort. I ate because it became familiar. Many years later, I reflected on these things. I prayed and forgave him the pastor’s son for what he did. I released him of it. He died an early death, in his mid-thirties.
The Conversation that Changed my Life
I was not aware that the incident had affected me. I did not feel that I had a voice. I felt that I’d somehow get blamed for what happened. The situation itself was similar to that of Hophni and Phinehas (1 Samuel 1:3; 2 Samuel 2:12-17. It seemed pointless. I was simply one of many that had been exploited, but somehow I still felt alone not empowered, just isolated.
Years passed and I finally came to the end of myself. I let go of my disappointment in the people who were supposed to be there to protect me. At this point, I’d grown disillusioned with the church. The enemy had a field day in my thought-life. He is aptly titled accuser of the brethren. Finally, my hidden hostility was addressed and I could begin the healing process. I allowed myself to be honest about what had happened to me, and I forgave myself. I had to forgive others, yes, but I also had to forgive myself for holding on to the toxicity for so long.
I entered into a conversation with Jesus about that day so many years ago. I had rebelled and developed bitterness and became disillusioned with the church all the while, not even remembering why or how. In this exchange with Jesus several months ago, He came to my twelve-year-old self and took me by the hand and walked away with me, leaving that memory behind. He redeemed my memory and my past. So now is the work. He can use that experience to help me intercede for and counsel others who may be going through the same thing. Now to move on from pain to perfection, from lowly to loved, and from hated to healed.
Many people have developed eating disorders because they want to be attractive, wanted, and loved. I wanted the opposite to be invisible, to be left alone, to fade away, to not be on display like I was back when I was blossoming into womanhood at the tender of age of twelve.
I’ve learned that when I am hurt or wronged, I must take it to Jesus every time. He has the remedy for all I suffer. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to talk to God plainly; flowery words are not necessary.
By being genuine, purely authentic, I can allow God to heal me. It may be a continual process, but I welcome it. There is no shame in weakness. The Lord is my strength. Sometimes when things get heavy we’ve got to learn to laugh at the devil.
The First Step of Forgiveness
A good friend once told me that painful experiences are meant to teach us not to linger. I thank God that He took away the sting of that experience. But having gone through it, I can empathize with those who battle feelings of inadequacy, doubt, stress, pain, rejection, and the like. The first step to healing is forgiving one’s self. Get to the bottom of the why, and the how will soon follow. Find a group of friends; surround yourself with positive reinforcement. It will not be an easy road, but it will be truly rewarding.
Adapted from Breaking up with my Belly