“I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I could sense the love and peace of God in these two people, and I wanted what they had.”
– The Prayer That Changes Everything, pg. 14
I read the quote above this morning when starting a new book by Stormie Omartian, one of my favorite Christian authors. In the section I was reading, Stormie was telling a piece of her story in finding her way to accepting Jesus into her heart. This quote represented the moment when a friend of hers and that friend’s minister sat with her, listened to her, and then invited her to pray with them and attend church with them. The quote spoke to me, not because I am a Christ follower, but because I experienced the same exact feeling when I first sat with other people who were recovering from their addiction to food.
I spent the first 29 years of my life living in active food addiction. My earliest memories are about food – stealing food from my family (my siblings’ Easter baskets, the family cabinets, etc.), thinking about food constantly and how I could get more, and praying to God to make me thin. As I became a teenager, I began obsessing about my body size, and desperately trying to lose weight by dieting, over-exercising and taking laxatives. I tried every way I could think of to make myself throw up after bingeing on enormous volumes of food, but nothing worked – until I discovered that drinking alcohol to excess usually ended up in vomiting. Needless to say, I was completely out of control when it came to compulsive overeating, and compulsive behaviors around food.
In those 29 years, I believed that there was no one else in the world who did with food what I did with food. I knew there were anorexics and bulimics from television movies that became popular during the 1980s, but because I wasn’t exactly like the person portrayed in the movie, I believed there was no help for someone like me. I certainly wasn’t an anorexic (starving myself for half of a day was next to impossible, let alone weeks or months at a time!), and I wasn’t society’s definition of a bulimic because I couldn’t make myself throw up unless I drank to excess. Nevermind the fact that I would exercise until my bones and muscles ached, or take triple doses of laxatives to attempt to get rid of the empty calories of my binges. So when I finally met up with other people who thought about food the way I did, I immediately knew something was about to change.
I share all this because those people who first talked to me about their food addiction were not exclusively Christians (even though my initial meeting with them was near a church). Some of them were, but most of them were uncertain about God or still trying to get a handle on their own spiritual path. They didn’t talk to me about Jesus or Yahweh or Allah or Buddha. All they said was that I needed to admit I was powerless over food, and accept that there was a Power greater than myself that would relieve me of my addiction. They didn’t tell me what or who that Power was; they only stressed that they knew It existed because It had relieved them of their own addiction. To paraphrase the quote at the top of this page: I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I could sense the love and peace of this Power coming from these people, and I wanted what they had.
Today, 17+ years later, I still get together with other people who are recovering from food addiction on a regular basis. When I meet others who suffer from food addiction, I do my best to carry the message that those first people I talked to about it carried to me. And I rarely share with any of them that I am a Christ follower, especially those who are just discovering that there is a solution to food addiction. Mainly because I have no idea what the Creator of this universe has planned for any other person. How each person’s Creator finds a way to them is not up to me. All I can do is share my experiences with others when they ask for my help. The beauty of this is that because I know in my heart that Jesus is my Savior, I feel His presence in every moment I am with others who are working towards recovering from food addiction. It doesn’t matter if they feel the Power of Allah or Mother Earth or something else that works for them. What matters is that I know the love and peace of Jesus lives in my heart. And, because of that, I can share that love and peace with any other person on this earth – whether they believe in Jesus as their Savior or not. His love is always available to me – and available to anyone else through me.
There may be some staunch and structured Christians out there who would be highly offended by my way of living. I understand that. Yet, in my own understanding of what Jesus has done for me, I know I can never look at another person’s faith – whatever that may be – and tell them they are wrong, simply because they don’t believe as I do. I am one person, in a massive sea of individual human beings. Who am I to say that our Great Creator only comes to each of us in one way? Who am I to tell anyone else that the feeling of love and peace that they are experiencing from their Higher Power is wrong just because it isn’t the same Higher Power as mine?
Thank you for letting me share…
LOVE. IT. so beautifully, beautifully said and summarized.
and the last sentence…priceless.
thanks for sharing♡
Your courage and faith continue to inspire me.