Guest Blogger: Stefan Hull is wife to Josh and mother of 5. She is a deep lover of God and neighbor and a fierce hater of her sin.
For a good portion of my life, I have experienced that particular woe of carrying extra weight. Having just delivered my fifth baby, I’m feeling the “extra” even more poignantly, along with a host of other maladies that post-partum seems to magnify exponentially.
I am stressed, tired, overwhelmed, feeling insufficient, bored with the mundane and quite often full of shame at how I look. My knee-jerk reaction is to hastily replace those feelings with literally anything else. It could be Facebook, a mindless game or an untimely nap, but I run to nothing as frequently as I run to food. Turns out I can’t rid the house of food, though I’ve considered. It will always be close at hand. The struggle often feels hopeless.
“Try harder,” I tell myself. “Be disciplined. Be better.” But I never can, I never do and I never will. Even the times I think I have overcome, I am simply replacing one master for another. I quickly, though not for any length of time, become the slave of fitness, self-love or vanity.
I used to think I had an eating problem, solved by eating better foods in better quantities in better ways. It has become obvious that the battle to “eat right” is just a distraction from the real war waging in my heart.
Jesus was clear when He said “come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”. Notice He didn’t mention anything about a quick detour to the cupboard to grab a few Oreos first. Eating has a remarkable ability to numb unpleasant feelings for a time, becoming a type of counterfeit savior, an idol. Jesus is asking for my affections, all of my affections, and particularly the broken ones so common to tired moms. I am instead offering my heart to mere morsels.
So there it is, the real battle. I am an idolater searching for rest in measly idols. Though it’s very bad, this is very good news. There is hope for idolaters. To the idolater, Jesus says “come.”
Rather than mindlessly raising my hand to my mouth, looking to rich foods and lonely feasts to save my soul from all the bad feels, I want to lift up my heart to Christ and do what He is so kindly commanding; come to Him. Come with the tired emotions, the overwhelming moments, the little disappointments, the big failures. Come, taste and see if He would give me what I truly seek.
Come to Him with those hard feelings, and stop trying to eat them. Lord, I feel overwhelmed with the constant chaos. I need you, though my body and mind want to be numbed with food, I know it promises what only you can give. Please help.
Come to Him in His word, not in the snack drawer. “I lift my eyes up, up to the Heavens. Where does my help come from?’ My help does not come from the maker of peanut butter cups.
Embrace God as my portion, not the cookie dough. “’The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’”
Repent. Lord, I’m an idolater, foolishly seeking what cannot give me satisfaction. You alone can satisfy, help my unbelief.
When I wage war here in my heart, fighting to keep Christ central, two wonderful things happen. The first, a byproduct and a happy consequence of not being a slave to food is I actually slim down. But absent are all the worried strivings and intense anger when it doesn’t come off fast enough.
The more important result; my soul is at ease. And isn’t this exactly what I have been pursuing, albeit in all the wrong places? A rested soul. Yes, I’m still fighting, but I’m fighting for the one thing that can actually give me peace.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”