What a beautiful day. It's been down right freezing in Irving, Texas the last few days. I know that it is still winter, but we were spoiled by a lovely glimpse of spring, so when the chill came back it was not welcomed with open arms. But today is another springy day, and I'm looking forward to being out in it.
I just got home from my church's annual "Women's Birthday Brunch". It has been an event for almost 20 years and it is a day that the ladies of our church come together, really just to celebrate each other. It's called the birthday brunch because you are supposed to sit with women who share the same birthday month as you. It's an opportunity to get to know women in the church that you wouldn't otherwise meet because you are separated by seasons. This was my first year to go and I'm so glad that I did. First of all, the food was delicious =-) Is there anything better than breakfast food? Not in my world! That was maybe the best biscuit I have ever had. I know that's saying a lot - especially from a Texas girl - but it was amazing. Even better than the biscuits was the speaker. Her name is Rebecca Ashbrook Carrell, and God really spoke to me through her today.
I have made it no secret on this blog that I struggle with my weight/food issues. Well sort of. Since speaking openly about it here, I go through long periods of not blogging. It's pretty much always food related. I am ashamed when I am not winning the battle, so I hide in silence. But I had a very enlightening moment this morning.
I can't believe that I have never had this thought before. It's so obvious, I have no doubt most other people HAVE had this thought before. It's probably even talked about openly to the point that it's cliche to say in some circles. But it had never occurred to me before. Here is my "aha" moment of the day:
When Adam and Eve ate the apple, the first thing that they noticed was their nakedness, and they felt shame. Shame about our bodies comes straight from the hands of Satan.
For years of my life, I was bound by the sin of compulsive eating. If you have never experienced addiction, I don't know how to describe it in a way that you will understand. But if you have, then you know how absolutely enslaving it is to be addicted to something. My every moment of every day revolved around what I would eat next. Where I would eat it. How I would eat it. It's horrifying. I am beyond thankful to say that I am not a slave to food any more. I still choose it, obviously... I am bigger now than I was through much of my addiction... but it doesn't control me. Maybe that is one of the reasons that I am still so big. I have wanted to enjoy my food without the compulsion. Actually taste and enjoy what I was eating.
But I have become increasingly aware of the chains that I am currently carrying over the last year or so. I am no longer bound by that particular sin, but I have been bound by something that at times is so powerful it seems to control my every move. My new chain is Shame.
I am so ashamed of the body that my past sins have brought me to. Too often, I wish that I were invisible. That I could disappear. That I had not come to whatever event brought me face to face with that shame. I know it's all my fault. The size was my doing. The ugliness was brought on by no one but myself, one bite at a time. That is a truth that I cannot hide from.
But we all live with consequences. With effects of our choices. When we fail, would God have us live in defeat? By all means, NO! We have VICTORY IN HIM, through Christ Jesus our Lord. When we feel guilt and shame for our sins and our failures, those feelings do not come from God. Does the Holy Spirit convict us? Yes. Is our God a just God? Yes. He will not spare us from every consequence. But neither does he condemn us. Our sin leads to death, but Christ has come that we might have LIFE! And have it MORE ABUNDANTLY!
We do not need to "suck in our sin" and try to look pretty for God. He knows us. Let me say that again. He knows us. And he loves us. He loves us, despite the fact that he knows us. He knows every apple that I have accepted from Satan. Every bite that led me astray. And he still chose me.
We are not called to hide in our shame, but to be a light in this dark world. It's time for me to put down the shame. To stop abiding in shame, and to abide in his love.
Oh that I would choose life, and live. Holy Spirit, help me to choose life. Show me how to be a light. And keep the chains of shame from choking the life out of me.