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On Craving God Not Food

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Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Impressed series. Be sure to follow the rest of the series HERE.

Once I’ve made up my mind about something, I like to get moving and patience seems to vacate the premises of my being. Like the time I decided I wanted bangs. While my husband was busy in our room preoccupied, I half-heartedly asked him his opinion about me getting them cut. He murmured something…but, let’s be honest, I wasn’t really asking him. I think it was more of a hopeful attempt for his approval. With scissors in hand, I began making the cut. He walked into the bathroom and with a shocked look on his face said, “Wow! You meant now.” Because of this little endearing quality, anytime I have a new idea, he is great about simmering me down before I dive full board into something.

For quite some time, I have been dreaming of an opportunity to reach women in their battle with food and its control over their lives.  For as long as I can remember, deciphering between physical and emotional hunger has been my own personal struggle. My battle with emotional eating began at an early age. Food was my reward, consumed my thoughts, filled desperate needs for comfort, or numbed pain. Because this power was so strong, I struggled with my weight for most of my childhood and teenage years. I can still remember the destructive comments from others that play like a bad song in my head. Sadly, I had my own voices speaking even louder leaving me believing every last word. Every diet I tried ended in failure. Then one random day, at the age of 16, I woke up filled with anger and determination.  I decided the only way to win this fight was to starve myself. Quickly, the weight came off but my health was struggling and I quickly began to idolize the new attention I was getting. The saddest realization for me was that although the physical weight was gone, the emotional weight of insecurity, desperation, and need for comfort were still very much there. The mental struggle to not allow food to consume my thoughts was still there, and I couldn’t sustain starving myself anymore. The pressure to maintain this image was too much.  So when I moved away to college, I rebelled and began the viscous cycle of losing and gaining the same weight over and over again.

Thankfully, at about the same time, I was also starting to grow in my relationship with God. Not once did I consider this issue a spiritual one that God cared anything about or wanted to redeem for His purposes. Who would have thought, that during an “Intro to Nutrition” course in college, I would begin reading about eating disorders in a textbook and become so intrigued? What I began to see was eye opening and I couldn’t keep my struggle to myself anymore. Verses such as 1 Cor. 6:19-20, began to come to light. Slowly, I began to let God into this area of my life and I began to see that He more than cared – He wanted to redeem this struggle in my life and help me help others. What God did in my life over the next 20 years, through sharing my story certainly emphasized this point.

I began to let God into this area of my life and I began to see that He more than cared – He wanted to redeem this struggle in my life and help me help others.

So a few months ago, when I approached my husband to launch full throttle into a formal profession of helping women with the mental and physical battle of losing weight, he was not one bit surprised. We talk often of dreams and new ideas and how to make those stirrings a reality. The problem is that I knew deep down this was not the time to start a business and I needed a middle step. In a sense, I needed to get my feet wet and see if this was where God really wanted to utilize my gifts, passions, and experiences. My prayers for the middle step began.

I had just finished a book by Lysa TerKeurst and remembered her briefly mentioning her struggle with food. When I looked up her name, I found that she had written several other books including one I had seen years ago called, Made to Crave. The premise of the book was that we must learn to fulfill our deepest needs by craving God not food. Now I don’t know about you, but ice cream has been far more appealing to me at times than God. But what it has failed to do is bring about true and desperately needed peace.

We must learn to fulfill our deepest needs by craving God not food.

When I began reading the book, I was amazed at Lysa TerKeurst’s ability to identify so many issues that go beyond just the battle with food. She dives deep into issues of insecurity, unmet wants and desires, lack of self control, making choices that lead to peace, the idolatry of food, all while pursuing Godliness.  The more I read, the more I was inspired to share this book with others. Here was someone who had moved past the calorie counting, exercise crazy, quick fix diet mentality.  No more over-marketing and under delivering solutions that had failed so many individuals for so long. She addresses our hearts, minds, and souls and inspires us to face the fear and shame with courage and strength only God gives. She’s practical yet biblical.

One of my favorite quotes from the book says, This wasn’t really about the scale or what clothing size I was; it was about this battle that raged in my heart. I thought about, craved, and arranged my life too much around food. So much so, I knew it was something God was challenging me to surrender to His control. Really surrender. Surrender to the point where I’d make radical changes for the sake of my spiritual health perhaps even more than my physical health.”

God has given me this struggle so that I can lean on Him and be the courageous woman that needs, craves, and desires Him.

The book simply, yet profoundly, made sense and I wanted every woman struggling to experience the type of freedom from which she so powerfully writes. God had laid in my lap a middle step and I decided to take Him up on His offer. I have since led two life groups using this material as a guide. I have had the opportunity to witness growth, awareness, and change in the lives of many women. While I wish I could say that after finishing the book, the struggle went “poof” and disappeared completely never to be found again. I can’t, not yet.  But what I do know is that God has given me this struggle so that I can lean on Him and be the courageous woman that needs, craves, and desires Him. It has challenged me to look at making healthy choices that bring about peace. And this book has unlocked chains on the hearts of women who desperately want to be satisfied by God and not food.

 

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Interested in reading Made to CraveCheck it out HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Michele Slayden

About

Michele Slayden lives in Clovis, but is a native Texan (with the accent to prove it!) She currently works as the bookkeeper for her husband’s non-profit, Off The Front, which reaches underprivileged kids in the Fresno/Clovis area. She is a dedicated wife and mom to three girls, Madison, Cali, and Ella. God has brought her through many challenges but none of which she would trade for anything. She loves investing in others and watching them grow in their understanding of The One True God. Michele loves coffee and great conversation, spending time with family and friends, cycling, reading, writing, and laughing!


  • Katie DeManby

    Michele! So good. Thanks for your honesty, heart and being willing to share regarding this topic thats often left silent. So thankful for you.

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