Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”
I was now fasting two days a week, usually on Tuesday and Friday. Every fast I would remind God that I would need His help to not cheat with a cracker or a scoop of ice cream. I had to pray for help because one time I cheated on my fast.
Yep, I’m a cheater. I had decided to do a fast on a day where I had nothing else planned. I lounged around the living room, bemoaning hunger pains. Then I found myself languishing in my tiny dining room, thinking of all the things I would eat after the fast. Finally I ended up in the kitchen, with my head stuck in the fridge, mentally undressing a package of lunch meat. Now I know to make plans to do stuff on fast days. Don’t leave the fat kid to guard the birthday cake!
I also prayed that He would accept the sacrifice of my fat, so that He may be happy. And I meant it, they were no longer just empty words said to a remote God. I began to feel deep inside me that this drawing near to God stuff was really working.
One of my best friends called me up to gossip about our day, and at the end of the conversation she said, “You know, I’m really noticing a positive change in your attitude. Everything about you just seems to be better.”
That was a really sweet moment for me, because up till that point I hadn’t really reflected on all the changes inside me. Hearing those words from someone who knew me so well was like balm for my soul.
I still love food, that didn’t change. I love everything about chocolate and the rest of the three food groups. But what I discovered is that my heart and my mind both have the power to tell my stomach to be happy with a glass of water.
My stomach is a big fat liar. And if you are reading this and are overweight then your stomach is a liar too. It will tell you all sorts of whoppers just to get you to feed it, well, a Whopper. It has no common sense, but it can be bossed around! Boss that stomach and tell it that it’s now at the bottom of the totem pole. Your body is an army and the stomach is a private, not a general.
During my study of the bible I learned the body isn’t what I thought it was. I used to think that I didn’t have enough self-control. That discipline was a gene that passed me by, and instead I got the fatso gene. When I discovered 1 Thessalonians 5:23 I felt the mystery of self-control crack open. It says:
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” NKJV
Envision your body as having three parts: the soul (your heart, mind, emotions), the spirit (the quiet, spiritual inner you), and the body (including that loudmouth stomach).
I used to think I couldn’t say no to food. That I couldn’t put down the mayo. But when I started seeing my body as three parts in one, then I realized that two-thirds of me had the power to say no to the stomach. Then, when my soul turns traitor and joins the stomach in a cookie revolt, my spirit declares a fast. During the fast my soul has a chance to come to its senses and gastrointestinal order is restored.
Whew, what a relief to know that one third of me actually possesses some nutritional common sense. That my spirit had some say so, that the stomach could be tamed and managed. That through fasting my thoughts and emotions could regain their sanity. I thought back to all of the years spent beating myself up for stuffing my face like an out of control wild woman.
Things changed on the loneliness front too. I ended up joining a women’s bible study group at church. I’ve met some really nice women, some in the same single, self-employed boat I’m in. I’ve learned that when I open up to others outside of my comfort zone, loneliness suddenly takes a back seat to friendships. Finding true love would be totally awesome, I won’t lie, but I know now that happiness doesn’t require romance. Sorry, Fabio.
After a fast, usually the next day, I feel great inside. There’s an old scripture that says God gives us beauty for ashes. It is a poetic way to say He takes away the ugly that we feel and replaces it with happiness.