On and off the better part of my life I’ve been in a state of dieting or not caring at all. In the majority of those not caring times I knew I was making terrible choices and not treating my body well, but for the vast majority of the time, I didn’t know it was sin. But make no mistake, I felt the judgment. From everywhere. When I have six hours we can talk about that, but I digress.
When I came back to church about six years ago, I was at probably my lowest adult weight. I was on crutches from knee surgery. I was involved in a relationship I shouldn’t have been. And I was trying to find my way back from crashing and burning. I couldn’t exercise for 3 hours a day (or any), I was emotionally smashed to bits by the results of my own bad decisions, and I had come to the realization the all the hope I had pinned on life turning into rainbows and unicorns when I lost all my weight just wasn’t true, the weight started creeping back on. We can blame it on my inability to weight train in the morning, then run and do kickboxing in the afternoon, but the real reason was my heart. So back to church I went, immersed in grace, but the weight was still creeping up.
This can’t be happening.
The Holy Spirit dwells in me.
I’m being sanctified.
I’m a failure. I disappoint God. I disappoint my parents. I disappoint myself. Why is is this happening?
A few years ago I was flying home from Christmas with the family and I was having a nice chat with God about this. Why? I asked Him. WHY did this happen? (I mean besides my eating too much. I get that part.) And He spoke to my spirit and said the last time your motivation as wrong. We’re going to do it again the right way. And believe it or not, I did not join Weight Watchers the next day. I just tucked that away.
In the time in between, Holy Spirit’s been doing what Holy Spirit does. Teaching me all manner of things, and among them revealing sin. I very distinctly remember sitting at my dining table bawling in in prayer when it all clicked together.
So here’s the thing. We all still have sin. We all have pasts. We all have struggles. We all have stuff. But if we keep this stuff in the dark, it stays in the realm of darkness. And even if that stuff isn’t a sin, keep it in darkness leaves it in the domain of darkness where the enemy steps in to worm his way around our thoughts. And thoughts can turn into actions. But if we take those things that we shove into the back of our personal closets and shine the Light back there, darkness has no more power. Peter says we are chosen as God’s people so that we can proclaim the greatness of Him who “called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) Now, I’m not Bible scholar, but I think part of walking into the marvelous light is bringing our ‘stuff’ with us. Don’t let that stay in the darkness. Things in the darkness fester. Think mushrooms. Yes, I know they might taste good but let’s get real-they’re a fungus and they grow best in darkness and poop. Kind of like sin. It’s a fungus that may seem good, but it requires less than desirable conditions and darkness to do it’s best work. That was a freebie.
Along these lines, ladies in particular, can we support each other in this? Whatever our stuff is, can we allow one another the safe space to bring it to the light and receive encouragement and support rather than judgment and gossip? (If you read this and you’re not a follower of Jesus, THAT is girl power, by the way!) I love what Jamie Ivey is going in her book If You Only Knew and her podcast The Happy Hour-If You Only Knew miniseries. Incredible women bringing their stuff from darkness to light. They all have different stories but it’s a grand tapestry that we all join together in with our own stories for God’s grand design.
So I’m not going to be ashamed. Shame is part of the dark domain. I am going to bring this to the light here. And with my sisters (and brothers). I need you to lift me up because I have a heart problem. Okay, just a funny aside… just this last week at prayer request time I put it all out there in my request. We write them down and shuffle them and hand them out in our small group. When it was time to pray, the person who got mine started to pray for my request but when she got to where I explicitly said I have issues with eating in ways that aren’t glorifying to God, she paused and shoved it back into the darkness and said something like “God, you know the issue”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or be irritated. In the end, I realized we are conditioned to not be very real and raw with each other, and that’s a little bit sad.
I want my stuff in the light. Peter went on to say in 1 Peter 2 that the passions of the flesh, those things we used to not think twice about? They wage war with the soul. Let me repeat that. They wage war with the soul. The longer my stuff stays in the dark, I’m fighting on my own.
And that’s stupid.