I watched her laugh as she stacked her plate with enough desserts to feed an entire family.
“I’m probably going to gain five pounds and go into a food coma,” she said to anyone who might be listening.
Others waiting in line joined her in a cackle of laughter. But as I looked at the women standing around the dessert table, I saw their faces told a less happy story than the laughter coming out of their mouths. Because on their faces, I didn’t see joy. Instead I saw fear, shame and sadness.
I’ve been around enough women and fought enough of my own food battles to know this scenario is far from uncommon. When it comes to our relationship with food, many of us either worship or fear it, and neither experience is what the Lord desires for us.
Food is a good and gracious gift from our Father. We need it to survive. We need it to thrive. But it is not the be all end all of our existence, and eating more or less of it will never satisfy our hungry souls.
In Matthew 4:4, Jesus says, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” So, while we need food, this verse reminds us that without God’s Word, we will never truly be satisfied. The ache within our heart can only be filled by the one who causes it to beat.
We can eat eight slices of chocolate cake or none at all, but either way, the answer to our deepest longings to feel whole, worthy and loved is not found in the cake. Satisfaction is only found when we seek Jesus with everything we have and ask Him to satisfy us from the inside out.
Food may satisfy us temporarily, but God satisfies us forever.
This truth was made very real to me in February 2017, when I underwent sinus surgery for a deviated septum. After waking up from anesthesia, I realized I had no sense of taste or smell. The nurse gave me applesauce, but if I hadn’t known any better I would have thought it was liquified sawdust. I should have been grateful for the sustenance, but every bite made me sink deeper into sadness and I longed to be able to taste what I was eating. Later that day I cried opening a can of soup. And that’s when I realized: I had a food fixation.
As a former food blogger who still does recipe development on the side, I can’t say I was surprised. I used to make a decent living photographing and making food. I lived for creating recipes. I dreamed about textures and flavor combinations. But, while all of that is fine and good, somewhere along the line I became obsessed. If I’m honest, I looked forward to eating food more than I looked forward to spending time with God.
I wouldn’t wish sinus surgery on anyone, but I don’t regret it, because God used it to help free me from the food fixation trap I had fallen into. After not being able to taste or smell food for weeks, I began to see food through a different light. Instead of being a slave to thinking about food 24/7, I was freed to enjoy food for what it really is — nourishment for my body. And that, sweet friends, was a beautiful and amazing thing.
Food was never meant to satisfy our souls. It sustains our bodies, but the satisfaction piece? That can only be filled by God and God alone.
If you’ve ever struggled with food fixation or any form of idolatry, this podcast is definitely for you! Join Asheritah Ciuciu on the Finding Joy Podcast and I as we talk about how she learned to cultivate a healthy relationship with food in exchange for a bigger appetite for God.
In this episode Asheritah and I also talk about:
- Learning how to live and make decisions by the Spirit.
- How surrender helps us claim the victory we already have in Christ.
- How a hunger for God can satisfy every longing of our stomach, heart and mind.
- Resources to learn more about Jesus and prepare our hearts for the Christmas season.
Asheritah encourages us to lay our longings down at the feet of Christ and start seeking satisfaction in the only One who is mighty to save and satisfy.
Finding Joy is a podcast dedicated to bringing you encouragement and inspiration in all of life’s moments — the good, bad and everything in-between.
Links from the Show
Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for SatisfactionUnwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional
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Jordan Leigh says
I am so in love with your podcast. I can’t even tell you how much joy and encouragement it has brought to me. I was beyond excited to see this topic! I’ve been suffering with an eating disorder for nine years and HELLOOOO wake up call!! So much truth in this. I have a God shaped hole and that can only be filled by Him, not food. Sending you so much like be and gratitude for what you are doing. And I am slightly obsessed with your doggy 😉
bethany mcilrath says
Will come back to listen to the podcast later : ) But I enjoyed the post. Asheritah, I’ve heard so many wonderful things about your book but haven’t read it yet! Thanks for sharing today!
Also— Lauren, losing my sense of taste is something I’ve feared and wished for the reason you state. Such a struggle to see food as nourishment, not our satisfaction. I’m thankful God designed us to enjoy and savor food as a good gift, but also thankful He is our only satisfaction.
Christy Mobley says
Oh mercy girl, you hit the nail on the head with me and food. “We can eat eight slices of chocolate cake or none at all, but either way, the answer to our deepest longings to feel whole, worthy and loved is not found in the cake. Satisfaction is only found when we seek Jesus with everything we have and ask Him to satisfy us from the inside out.”
Loved the post. Thank you.
So. Much. Truth. I’ve been wrestling with many of these issues lately. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!
For years I have struggled with food as being my comfort, one night the Lord showed me He is my comfort, not the food. Thank you for bringing this to light as I know it must affect so many people.