Monday, May 2, 2011

Made to Crave Mondays - Chapter 11

Stinkin', Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day!
Oh, yeah, I've totally felt this way before. And, when I do, it is SO easy to look to food for a little relief. I deserve it when things have been extraordinarily tough, don't I? Come on. A few egg rolls, a little rice, maybe a Crab Rangoon or two, and everything is so much better! Just this once won't hurt, right? This is actually some of the dialogue that courses through my brain after an especially hard day or week. It's ironic that I think a reward is something that's not good for my body and will most likely only make me feel worse than I already do. But, apparently, addiction causes you to come up with some strange reasoning. And, really, I think that's what I'm dealing with. When things get hard, I actually CRAVE something greasy or salty or full of fat. It kind of reminds me of all the smokers in my family. When the going gets tough, the tough get smoking. Their bodies long for it and it calms them down. Makes it all better. Isn't that exactly what I do at times with food? Hmmm...maybe I've been WAY too quick to judge in past years. Well, that's a story for another blog post. Maybe right now we should just jump into this week's questions for reflection from our friend, Lysa TerKeurst, and her New York Times Best-Selling book, Made to Crave! Even if you haven't read the chapter, I'm sure you'll be able to relate and will have so much to add to this discussion. So, here we go...

Discussion Questions for Chapter 11

1. Recall a recent stressful experience that tempted you to overeat or make poor food choices. What specific feelings did the experience elicit? Whether you resisted or gave into temptation, how were your emotions impacted as a result? Jill's answer: Whenever Alyssa is sick I get those cravings BIG TIME. I don't know why for sure. But, the worry, the anxiety, the fatigue, it all equals bad-food-binge in my book. Sometimes I resist the temptations, telling myself the way to best help Alyssa is by taking care of myself so I can better take care of her. But, other times, after she's sleeping I pile some big glob of yummy junk on a plate and go to town. Wow, it doesn't sound so appealing now that I put it that way. Maybe THAT'S something I can remember the next time Alyssa's running a fever or throwing up.

2. When you experience problems or difficult seasons in life, are you more likely to put on a mask and pretend everything is okay or to take off your mask and ask for help? How has this tendency impacted your ability to resist food temptations at such times? Jill's answer: I don't think I put on a mask, I just go into pure survival mode until that moment when I can crash. At those times I simply want to veg in front of the TV eating an entire bag of popcorn by myself washed down with a big soda and some chocolates or ice cream, just in case the popcorn didn't fill all the empty spaces inside of me. What I need to do at these times is turn off the TV, talk with God, tell my hubby or my accountability partner what's going on, and ask for some help and encouragement. Because what I've been doing isn't working. I never feel better after this kind of episode. So, why do I repeat the same actions over and over, expecting a different result? Isn't that the definition of insanity? Just sayin'!

3. Discovering how to pray without words helped Lysa to feel like she was connecting with God, something she hadn't felt in a long time. Have you ever prayed this way, simply spending time with God in silence and allowing the Holy Spirit to intercede on your behalf? Does this idea intrigue you or scare you? Jill's answer: OK, I'm going WAAAAAAYYY back for this one. I remember once during college that I did something very similar to this. It had been an extremely rough semester. I was struggling to keep up in classes. I had been sick a lot. My finances were a mess. Relationships at home and school were all screwy. It was just a very rough period for my young self. So, one morning in chapel during the worship time, I was sitting all alone and feeling hopeless. I don't even remember what song was being sung by one of the music majors on the stage, but somehow it hit a chord deep within my soul. I closed my eyes and bowed my head to pray. I wanted to cry out to God. I wanted to lay it all at His feet. I went to open my mouth to whisper a silent prayer to Him and nothing came out. All I could do was cry. And, the longer the song went on, the harder I cried. I just sat there silently weeping. I had no awareness of anything around me. I don't know if any of my classmates even noticed. But, I felt a deep connection with God and a profound sense of peace after that experience. I still had a lot on my plate but I knew I was going to put my head down and make it through that semester with His help. There have definitely been times since then that I have just been silent with God. When my friend Tara was suffering her final days battling breast cancer. When Jeremy and I had a miscarriage. When we cried out to God for my family members who don't know Him. When those planes took so many innocent lives on September 11, 2001. But, this time in college was the first time I'd experienced this and it sticks out so vividly in my mind.

4. Lysa demonstrates how she replaces old lies about food with new truths about God's love. In the course of a regular day, what old lies about food make it difficult for you to resist temptation? Do hard times makes these lies harder to resist? Drawing on what the Bible teaches about God's love, what new truths might you use to replace your old lies? Jill's answer: I tend to listen to the lie that food will make me feel better. That I deserve to eat whatever unhealthy thing I'm craving because I've been through something miserable. I remember believing these lies as a younger woman about going to far physically on a date or drinking too much alcohol or following the crowd and experimenting with other options. For a few moments, the good feeling was there for me. Then, the guilt would flood in as well. It is no different today with food. Maybe it's more acceptable in Christian circles, but it's still a lie. And, it's still SIN! Food does not fulfill. God fulfills me. And, He is always there. I can rest on the fact that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And, that His love endures forever!

5. "See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut" ~ Revelation 3:8  If God were to speak these words directly to you about your struggles with food, what do you hope you would see and experience on the other side of the door? Jill's answer: Joy, peace, true and unconditional love, power, strength, help. JESUS!

OK, I know we all have those stinkin', rotten, horrible, no good days. (I think I'll move to Australia. Remember that book from childhood?) Some of us have more than our share. Maybe that's you. Maybe you don't know how you're going to make it through today, let alone this week or this month! But, turning to food is not going to help any of us. In fact, our drug of choice can be just as deadly as a needle, a pill, or a cigarette. We need to stop the insanity. Yes, I remember that lady in the 80's who coined that phrase and got everybody on board with her weight loss method. But, it's not about that. The insanity is believing we can find fulfillment in anything or anyone but God. Not even being thin can bring about true peace and contentment. So, let's pray for God to fill us up this week, even in those really difficult moments. Pray for me and I'll pray for you. Agreed? Let me know with a comment! I. LOVE. YOU.


  1. Jill, I'm so exhausted, all I can say is one huge "AMEN!" to this post. I hear you, chica. I'll be praying for you. Please pray that God would give me strength this week to overcome the "this will make me feel better" lie. Thanks for posting.

  2. You got it Ellen! You are officially on my list for this week. Jesus, please help Ellen refuse to believe the lie that food, especially bad-for-you food, will make her feel better. Help her to look to You in times of stress and strain! AMEN!