The following is an addendum to my last post on under-eating. If you struggle with this, here are three questions to help restore a healthy perspective and free you from the chains of obsession. Answer them honestly, respond to them positively and promptly, and wait for God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to replace all carnal, harmful thoughts with eternal, life-giving truths.
I. Am I Serving God or Self with This Decision?
By believing that we can feel prettier, find success, meet the right mate, or manage our emotions by depriving ourselves of the nutrients we need to survive and thrive, we choose to worship our own bodies. Our temple of the Holy Spirit becomes an idol of Self as obsessive thoughts focused on calorie control, rigorous exercise, what the scale says and what others think build a barrier between body and spirit. Eventually, we become slaves to this idol; we worship it not because we love and adore it, but because it controls us. It has become our master.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters. Either we are serving God through how we nourish our body, or we’re serving ourselves. Either we are loving our body because we view it as a member of Christ’s body, or we’re hating it because we see it as a dispensable sacrifice to the idol of Self.
The next time you want to skip a meal or severely cut calories, ask yourself who or what it is your decision is serving. There is no in-between.
II. What are the Consequences If I Continue Eating This Way?
Consider the following facts about under-eating:
- It can lead to depression because our moods are affected by how and what we eat. Many of the nutrients in food affect the emotional centers of our brain, and reducing our intake of these nutrients has an adverse effect on the way we think and feel. Under-eaters generally feel depressed and tend to become easily irritated or enraged.
- The effects of malnutrition on the brain also often lead to impaired concentration, a decreased sexual appetite, frequent panic attacks, and irrational thinking.
- As for physical effects, under-eating can weaken the heart, which can lead to an irregular heartbeat. Digestion often slows, causing misleading feelings of fullness and bloat. Skin takes on a yellowish tint, fingernails become brittle, and hair thins or begins to fall out. Osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis, becomes more likely because the body isn’t receiving the vitamins and minerals necessary for strong bones.
If you sense, or someone else notices, that you’re eating very little, seemingly preoccupied by food, or just a little crankier than usual, then reflect on the list above, remind yourself that you’re a precious, beloved temple of the Holy Spirit, and then ask the Lord to guide you toward healthier decisions.
III. Have You Been in God’s Word?
Don’t let pop culture tell you what’s attractive or desirable. Let God’s Word tell you. If you’ve starved yourself of the Bible’s soul-reviving nourishment, it’s time to dive into the psalms and remind yourself that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” It’s time to jump over to Ephesians and see that you’ve been created for “good things” which Jesus “planned for us long ago.”
When you shift your focus from Self to Savior, you will see just how beautiful, valuable, and beloved you are as a member of the body of Christ. When you pour out your frustrations and feelings of inferiority before the Lord, He will fill you to the brim with warm assurance of your acceptance, worth, and victory through Him!
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” –Romans 8:37, NASB