Disclaimer: This post is not a claim to having it all figured out. It is not a proclamation of finding that perfect balance or knowing the exact remedy. This post is different than many in the sense that it is painfully honest in order to 1) connect with my readers who are battling idolatry in their own way 2) hold myself to the accountability of forsaking my own idol (continually, because it is an every day necessity) 3) open my hand out to anyone who may need accountability as well.
This was me for the past 6 months of my life: I crave pizza, deep dish of the cheesiest kind with a side of cheesy bread, about one night a week. I sit and fantasize of the day I can muster the courage to eat that chocolate cake I so frequently see on Pinterest. I work out every morning and cancel any sort of plans that interfere with that. I constantly calculate and plan every morsel that I will be consuming for the day and I have a set schedule for when they will be consumed. I sit in misery when out with family or friends because I can’t be sure that the food is being cooked to my standard. I fear people may notice that I feel full after four bites of food. I wait until the night to dare crave any carb-filled food, just in case I lose control and give in. I guzzle coffee to satisfy my stomach’s rumble so that I don’t have to mess up my eating times for the day… I fear gaining weight and believe my entire worth is in a number.
This was me in all my calculating, perfecting, fearing glory. Oh my, but that’s painfully honest. That’s the part of me I don’t like to really admit. That’s the selfish, broken, hurting me that I have come to know a little too well. Lastly, that is the part of me that overextended its stay, shifted my every breath to self and anxious feelings, kept me isolated from my loved ones, kept me doing those extra crunches, and kept me from living. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy eating healthy and I am all for that. What I do not advocate is the obsession and idolizing of food which is where I too quickly found myself.
My precious readers, I tell you this because I began to not only take in and believe the lies of the Enemy, but I also began to build a golden calf in my Eating Disorder’s honor. Ouch—it’s painful to be so transparent, but I am confident that one of you needs to hear this. My prayer is that the Lord sent you here for this very reason. Shamefully, I was in the crowd of people who wasted so much time building that golden idol in the Old Testament, and I was expecting it to somehow resemble Christ. Without going into too much emotional detail, I believe it is safe to say that I was so focused on the idol that I, consequently, have missed some of life’s most pleasant memories with loved ones. My building and polishing of the idol sent me through a whirlwind of emotions (hangry 24/7 is not a good look on anyone, I’m convinced). Taking it a step further, this also caused me to be locked in a cell of shame and sorrow. My precious readers, my selfishness, pride, and brokenness have caused me to fix my eyes solely on the idol, stealing my gaze from the One who simply wants to work all things for my good if I would only turn back to loving Him (Romans 8:28).
I am a firm believer that God has us grow through what we go through in order to become who He has intended for us to be. In order to do so, we must eliminate all idols and return to His love that will not forsake. Flowers simply will not grow without the light, and neither will you, sweet soul.
Nehemiah 9:18-19, “Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, You in Your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go.” Wow. Picture this: Even when God’s people created the idol and called it God, and gave it all their love and adoration, God chose to remain with them. He did not forsake them, even when they turned their backs on Him. What a picture of love. He remains true to us and provides everything we need, even when we go astray and turn to our idols. According to His great mercy (taking what we deserve) and love (freely giving), He simply waits for our eyes to meet His once again. It is then, and only then, that we are able to return to doing the work of the Lord.
My idol took captive of my mental and spiritual state, but it also debilitated me physically. My idol became obvious to my loved ones rather quickly, yet no one could turn my eyes away from it but me. In fact, I have even been offered money to overcome the idol (if I ate that slice of pizza I dreamt about daily), yet I chose to remain laser-focused on it. I allowed myself to be overcome with selfishness and pride during my time building the idol, yet even then, He gently called me back to Him. I love the way this song says it, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Dear readers, all we have to do is turn to Him and realize who He is. In light of who our God is, all else will grow strangely dim.