Before we move forward with sharing our stories of deliverance and freedom, and more specifically how I found victory over food addiction, let's share a couple valuable lessons learned along the way that are very foundational. 1. The border for freedom is not always where we think.
2. Stewarding our bodies is personal and will look different for everyone.
I spent a good portion of my early years after deliverance walking in freedom and learning the lessons of living free all the while believing in my mind freedom was defined by successful physical weight loss. Because my problem was with food, I thought I had to show or prove my freedom by how I looked and how I lost the weight.
I never believed I was free because I had not attained a physical goal.
I would think to myself, "God delivered me, but I am not free yet."
Then the Lord began to show me that the scale is not my source of freedom.
He began to show me that what I look like is not my source or definition of freedom.
How I feel and what others say do not determine freedom or even my healthy life.
People can appear free and not be free. Just like people can appear saved. We know that salvation is received through Jesus Christ's finished work on the Cross. By faith we believe and through grace we receive. Jesus comes to live in us and His work on the cross becomes the center of our life. This means, through His death, burial and resurrection we receive and learn our new identity in Christ.
He defines who we are. He assigns for us the work of our hands.
We are new creations in Christ, long before we ever "look" saved.
Freedom is the same way. The Lord sets us free, there is evidence of freedom. Then we mature and/or learn to live free as a process that the Lord brings us through. He defines for us our Promised Land and brings us to it. And, it is not always a straight shot.
Freedom is defined by the ONE who is able to set you free.
When the Lord delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, He was the One who determined where their Promised Land was going to be. He determined the borders.
He brought them miraculously to the Promised Land. While in the Promised Land, the Israelites partnered with God to be victorious over the giants in the land.
We can struggle and make mistakes; there may even be consequences. Nonetheless, God continues to work in us as we mature in Him. This is true for Freedom in Christ!
If we continue to seek God and not give up, He does not give up on us. He doesn't give up, even when we do. He is always working on our behalf and for our good.
If He gave up on our freedom journeys after we messed up too many times, He would have turned His back on me long ago. YET, I am still free!
I have lost ground in some areas (physically), and I have also won many battles. God knows the end from the beginning. Every time, I think, "Oh! I have done it this time. For sure, this is over. How long is God going to be patient with me?"
Guess what? Longer!
Because love is patient, love is kind, and He is long suffering with us.
He who began a good work will bring it to the finish!!
He set me free; He keeps me free.
I may have to learn some more lessons. I may have to humble myself and learn how to live out of my new nature.
But it is not by my strength or power, but by His Spirit go I.
The Lord began to show me that living free is a process and the process is lived little by little.
It is that "little by little" that we want to share with you through this blog.
This book helped me many years ago as the Lord was starting to get my attention regarding my issues with food and how I viewed my body.
This is one of many books and/or resources we will highlight along the way.
What about stewarding our bodies and living a healthy life?
You may ask, how do we know we are living healthy?
Even though God is very interested in guiding us to a healthy lifestyle, He is interested in all the aspects of our life.
I do not believe this is a dogmatic pursuit for God. There is grace!
Romans 14:17 testifies:
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (NIV)
He personalizes our journey for us.
For example, some of us shouldn't diet at all as it stirs up rebellion. (I will talk about that later.) Some need structure, some of us need extreme intervention.
Only God knows the journey, and it is His journey and testimony to write for you and with you.
On the day of deliverance, I weighed 347 pounds (200 pounds overweight).
I miraculously lost 140 pounds in about 12-13 months. The grace of God was so strong in my life after I was delivered from addiction, it felt like He was doing it through me.
It was truly a miracle. Making the right choices was easy.
Do you know what else happened?
The Lord began to bring me through pride, through rejection, through shame. He showed me how to break off the diet mentality and how to ruminate on Him and not on food. He showed me sacrifice, fasting and even how to do liberty His way. Afterwards, I did liberty my way for a while.
Currently, He is showing me flesh patterns and how to go to Him for all my needs and not food.
I am "more free" today than I was after initially losing 140 pounds, and I have only kept about 100 pounds off.
Freedom is not defined by my physical body, even though I STILL believe God is bringing me to the finish line regarding my physical body and a healthy lifestyle.
As I continue to think about the Israelites, they experienced some of their toughest battles in the Promised Land of freedom. Read Joshua.
Battles AND hard work are all a part of the Promised Land. Often, our battles are not what we think they should be:
You think, "I need to lose weight."
God says, "I need to her to understand her identity."
You think, "I need to exercise."
God says, "I need her to know my love and how to walk in the fear of the Lord."
You think, "The devil of chocolate needs to leave me alone."
God says, "Present your body as a living sacrifice."
You think, "If I could just do this..."
God says, "Be still and know that I am God."
For it is no longer you that lives but Christ that lives in you.
Please seek the Lord about what is in these words that is for you. Don't allow others or your fear of others to define for you what your story should be.
Let me end with the words of Paul, who said it best in Roman 14:2-4. Paul essentially says, who are we to judge someone else’s conscience. If the Lord guides one to fast, and another to eat who are you to judge that person. Let them be who they are in Christ.
Romans 14:2-4 (NKJV, emphasis mine) 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.