The Girl Scout Cookies were calling me. Nothing is worse than feeling like your eating habits are driving you.
That day, Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies were in the driver’s seat. I was still at 240 pounds, but I had decided to change my eating habits.
However, I had forgotten about my Girl Scout cookie order before making that decision. It seems whenever you try to change, something always happens to test your resolve.
I brought the cookies home and put them in the freezer. I thought that I could control my portions. “I’ll just eat two cookies,” I told myself.
However after I ate those, the cookies started calling me: “Kim, eat me, eat me!”
I thought obeying that voice would shut it up, so I got 2 more cookies.
I ate those, but the cookies continued calling. I got 2 more and ate them.
Finally after hearing the call to eat them again, I got mad. I took the box out of the freezer and threw the box on the kitchen floor. Then, I jumped up and down on it!
When the box was as flat as a pancake, I took it into the bathroom, dumped the crumbs into the toilet, and flushed them. The calls stopped.
I’ve learned that certain foods can hijack your brain chemically. Now, some people can eat Girl Scout cookies and stop with 1 or 2. That’s not who I’m talking about.
I’m talking to people like me; you know that eating sugary foods impacts your brain chemistry.
When I eat them, I always want to eat more. It’s hard to stop. Not only do I want to eat more sugary foods, but they leave me hungrier so I end up eating more of everything else!
It becomes a “no-win” situation.
That is the story of the flesh, by the way. It always wants more. No matter how much you give into your flesh, it will never be ever enough.
Here’s the Spiritual truth: Living to please your flesh will always put you in bondage. The chains may be invisible, but they are chains nevertheless.
So how do you get free from the tyranny of the flesh? Galatians 5:16-18 gives us guidance:
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under to the law.”
It was startling to me to realize that during my moments of food binging (eating to excess), the Holy Spirit was not in control.
My flesh was in the driver’s seat. And when your flesh is in the driver’s seat, it will always take you places that you do not want to go!
Note that I didn’t say that the drive itself doesn’t feel good. It does.
The flesh will always sell you on the excitement of driving down the highway at 120 miles per hour. It gets you to focus on the thrill of the drive, not the aftermath of the crash.
The flesh is like a “bad influence” in the life of a Believer in Christ. The solution then is to decide to walk daily, not to be driven.
When you recognize that your flesh is driving you in any area, the first thing to do is submit the issue to the Lord in prayer every day. Tell Him that you want to walk with Him that day, like Enoch (see Genesis 5:22).
I recommend that you memorize Ephesians 5:18-21 and use the guidance in it as a daily path to walk, in how you relate to food and in how you relate to yourself and others:
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
While the scripture says, “do not be drunk wine, in which is dissipation,” its wisdom is also applicable to any type of habits in which you lose self-control. I define gluttony as food drunkenness.
Have you ever eaten foods that made you feel sleepy, lazy, apathetic, or depressed afterwards?
That is an example of dissipation. Dissipation means a “squandering of money, energy, or resources.” To maximize your resources, it is wise to to eat foods that give energy to you so that you can fulfill your purpose, not take energy away from you.
From a practical standpoint, that means removing foods from your environment that cause you to stumble. The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into one in the first place. That includes food fights!
When you are low in energy, typically all that you have energy for is working, entertainment in which you don’t have to think, and sleeping. You don’t have energy to focus on fulfilling the great commission – making disciples as Jesus taught in Matthew 28:19.
You don’t have to travel the world to make disciples; your greatest mission field are those people God puts within your circle of influence every day.
Here is what walking in the Spirit looks like in how you relate to yourself and others:
- Speak encouragement to others: Speak grace-filled words to others, encouraging them in their walk with the Lord. If you are around others who don’t know the Lord, then plant seeds that will encourage them, such as your testimony of what the Lord has done for you or share Biblical wisdom for any problems they are facing as the Holy Spirit leads you.
- Sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord:You have the garment of praise for the Spirit of heaviness according to scripture. In your heart and mind, praise the Lord for who He is and what He has done for you. Doing it in song makes it even more meaningful and memorable.
- Thank the Lord always:Actively look for things to be thankful for throughout the day. When I was striving to overcome anxiety and depression, I made it a game to write down 7 things each day that I was thankful for. It is a powerful habit for me now to thank the Lord regularly throughout the day.
- Submit to others: Be humble, kind, and considerate with others, keeping in mind that you represent the Lord Jesus. The Bible says that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Let love lead you in your actions with others. People pay far more attention to what you do than what you say. Let your actions show that you fear the Lord (reverence, honor, and respect the Lord enough to do what His word says).
As you focus on doing these things, you will start to see more evidence of God’s presence in your life. The fruit (evidence) of God’s Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (see Galatians 5:22-23).”
You will treasure your daily walks with the Lord so much that when the enemy offers to drive you, you will shake your head and say, “No, I’m walking here. Take your fast car and keep on driving!”
That was soooooooo good….thank you so much xo
You are welcome, Kathleen – it is a pleasure to deliver God’s word.
Thank you for this. I needed to hear this today. I had been doing really well avoiding sugar but have backslid the past two months. Sugar to me is definitely an addiction. But, when I eat it, I am a grouchy, moody person that I do not like. It chemically affects me. It also wreaks havoc on our liver, mucks up our metabolism, impairs brain function, and may leave us susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, even cancer. And, it is as addictive and pleasurable as a drug. When tasting sugar, the brain lights up in the same regions as it would in an alcoholic with a bottle of gin. Dopamine—the so-called reward chemical—spikes and reinforces the desire to have more. (Sugar also fuels the calming hormone serotonin.)
This is so true, Lisa! In fact, I wrote about how sugar affects us chemically in the article, The Hidden Reason you Overeat. However, we can still be vulnerable to the enemy’s lie that “you can get away with it.” That’s why we must be sober and vigilant – actually, you have to be sober to be vigilant against the enemy! Praise God that His mercies are new every morning.
I can totally totally relate to what you have written here!! I was doing much better, avoiding the things that trigger my overeating, cutting back on things that I can eat but still need to control, eating healthy, then and extra five people moved in with us and suddenly I NEED sugar! I have been especially craving black licorice. I’ve been buying it and also my dh has been buying it for me. I tell him not to but the next day I’m telling him how much I need it. I realize he wants to please me and I am sending him mixed messages. My blood sugar (I am diabetic) was doing so well…new med and better eating…but now it’s high again despite the new med! I have to get out of this routine and into the spirit as you describe!
Absolutely Mary! You know what the Lord told me this morning? Stop trying to live on yesterday’s manna. You are in the Promised Land, so you need my Daily Bread. His mercies are new every morning, so seek what He has for you each day. Rise up and move forward. You can do this!
“Living to please your flesh will always put you in bondage. The chains may be invisible, but they are chains nevertheless.” WoW!! Thank you so much Kimberly for all that you share. I have actually written down nuggets from this article as reminders. ♥Anita
Thank you Anita – It is so easy to forget truth the Lord reveals to us. I even forget sometimes and have to go back and read what I wrote! But its like the wise statement by the late minister Kathy Logan wrote: “It is not the word we hear that will free us; it is the words that we don’t forget that will free us.” My prayer is that we never forget the word God shares with us to free us!