By Eileen Elias Freeman
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Format:ebook (Digital original) $5.99 $7.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 27, 2010. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Copyright © 1996 by Eileen Freeman
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First eBook Edition: September 2009
Wisdom from the Word of God
Many more scriptures deal with the love of God than with hate. Many more deal with rejoicing than with doom and gloom. If we want to lose weight and keep it off, we need to depend on God's laughter and God's joy, not on self-hatred and fear of punishment. The texts I have chosen from the canonical and deuterocanonical texts of scripture have helped me move ahead during many thousands of moments of trial and temptation. They have become old friends whose truth I know for myself. Prayerful reading of scripture, called lectio divina (divine reading), has nurtured many generations of seekers. The more you read, the more you can be blessed. The more you are blessed, the more you'll want to read, and the more God can change your life.
Now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!
—2 Corinthians 6:2 (NRSV)
I'll start my diet tomorrow. How many times have we said that phrase, usually with a little guilt attached. Or worse, we start a program, then we overdo, and instead of picking ourselves up and asking God for more strength, we give in for the rest of the day and pig out. Now is the day of salvation! The only time we have at our disposal, to use for good or for ill, is Now! But the beauty of it is that we always have the Now. We can always step into the stream of Now and let it carry us toward our goal. No matter what your past was like, with the help of God, and the angels he sends to watch over us and bring us that help, you can succeed in losing weight and keeping it off. God loves every part of us, including our bodies, and God wants us to love our bodies, to nourish them, and to keep them in good condition.
I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me.
—Philippians 4:3 (NRSV)
I don't believe that I could have lost a single pound and kept it off if I had not trusted in God for my strength every step of the way. I know, because I tried a dozen times, depending on my own willpower and inner strength. Each time I failed, because my own strength wasn't enough. But this time, I gave over to God all my weakness, relying on the almighty power of Christ, and I found that all the strength I needed was there. I just had to lean on God for help. Every day I still ask for help in knowing what I should and shouldn't eat, and in what quantity I should eat. And God, who knows my body much better than I, always sends my angels with the wisdom I need to keep on my program. Not only that, but God's angels rejoice with me. We're all happy-God, the angels, and I. I use the quote from Philippians as an affirmation every day, because it reminds me not only that my strength comes from God, but that I still have to do the work-even my angels won't take the french fries off my plate for me!
Go, eat your bread with gladness, and drink your wine with a merry heart for God has long ago approved what you do.
—Ecclesiastes 9.7 (NRSV)
Why is it that we make eating such a source of anguish? God wants us to eat and drink whatever we need to make and keep us healthy. Every single food on the face of the earth is good in its own way, and unless we have an allergy or a medical condition that prevents us from enjoying something, we must not approach food with fear. Of course, we must be moderate, but only in how much we take. Our enjoyment, even if it's just of six potato chips or a small piece of angel food cake, should know no bounds. If we cultivate a merry heart at all times, we will find that we approach our meal times with joy and gratitude to God who has given us so much variety to delight our eyes, our nose, and our mouth. We won't feel deprived at all!
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
—1 Corinthians 10:31 (NRSV)
Oh, how I love this text! It reminds me that eating and drinking are positive values. Eating, even when we are limiting our food quite severely, is something we must do for the glory of God. Food is good, and has been ordained by God as the way we keep our bodies fueled. Eating is not meant to be a penance. We need to approach every meal, every snack with joy in our hearts, because to eat is to center ourselves in the divine plan for our lives. When we eat appropriately and not to excess (and "excess" will differ for each of us), we fulfill God's will. Sip your soda with joy, chomp your chicken with delight, pop your peas with panache, because a loving God has designed food to be a source of joy. Before you begin, ask that your whole eating experience give glory to the God who created food for our sustenance. It will change your attitude about broccoli!
No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
—1 Corinthians 10:13 (NRSV)
How we deal with the ever-present temptation to go off our programs and cheat is what makes or breaks our weight loss. It's a terrible struggle, but remember that you're not alone. Testing is common to everyone. The perpetually slim neighbor you mistakenly envy may struggle just as much with temptations to go back to smoking or to throw herself off the bridge as you do with the urge to eat french fries. Reach out to a friend (and to our best friend, God) when you are sorely tested. In sharing is strength, because sharing gets us out of our private miseries and helps us see reality through more objective eyes.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.
—Psalms 63:5-6 (NRSV)
Virtually all our hunger is a hunger for God. St. Augustine once said, "You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." It's so easy when we are trying to lose weight to translate any need-whether for comfort, acceptance, or attention-into a need for food. But our physiological need for food is limited. Nearly every time we put something into our mouth and swallow it, it's because we want the food, not because we need it for the health of our bodies. One day when I prayed about this, God sent my angel to ask me to pray before putting anything in my mouth. I believe that if we ask God to show us whether our hunger is for food or for God, the Spirit will let us know. When I remember to do this, I never eat inappropriately.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
—Jeremiah 31:3 (NRSV)
Do you want to be successful at losing weight? Then learn to love. Fat is a prison that starves love or drives us to seek it in the wrong places and ways. We are wounded by times when people rejected us because of our physical appearance, and there comes a time when we believe we are less lovable than others. At that point we don't need others' rejection: we do it to ourselves at every possible opportunity! And finally, we not only put others at arm's length (do unto others before they do unto you!), we hold God away, too, believing that the loving Creator who placed us here hates us for being overweight. Wrong! Let me say that again. Wrong! God's love is all-encompassing and without conditions; God's faithfulness is everlasting. Reach out to love someone-a relative, a co-worker, a stranger-and you will feel less like eating. You'll already be "full."
Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
—Isaiah 41:10 (NRSV)
The angels are always telling us not to be afraid. It's almost an axiom that an angelic message begins with the words "Fear not." But angels have no messages of their own. The words they bring to us come from God. It seems to me that God has been telling us not to be afraid for a very long time, and we still aren't listening. I know we can take the attitude that losing weight is something to make us nervous and afraid. But this is absolutely untrue. The best attitude we can have is a confident one, a loving one, a trusting one. The scriptures remind us that there is no room for fear in the loving heart, and that God, who is perfect love, has nothing fearful within. We are to imitate God, and that often means dealing with images of fear. God will help us.
We take every thought captive to obey Christ.
—2 Corinthians 10:5 (NRSV)
When I'm on a diet, my imagination often works overtime. I can visualize myself giving in to temptation at the party I'm going to be attending. I can see myself in my mind's eye having the pizza or the nachos or the buttered roll. I can already hear the well-meaning friend who will insist I try her spinach dip-at 300 calories a tablespoon! And even before I get where I'm going, I feel defeated. This happened to me many times, until one day I asked a very wise man, a priest, about this problem. He reminded me of the above scripture. "You don't have to deal with such thoughts," he explained. "You don't have to fight them, or think them through, or come up with alternate fantasies. Just take them captive." So now, when I see myself giving in at some hypothetical point in the future, I quickly take the incipient fantasy, put it into a mental garbage bag, and tie a knot in it. Or I put it down the garbage disposal and imagine Jesus flipping the switch to turn it on and grind the thought to rubble. It works for me.
No one, when tempted, should say, "I am being tempted by God"; for god cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts on one. But on is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it.
—James 1:13-14 (NRSV)
- On Sale
- Mar 27, 2010
- Page Count
- 176 pages
- Grand Central Publishing