Overcoming Gluttony

I wrote last week about a book my sister-in-law Pam gave me called Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC by Frederick Buechner. It’s a little dictionary of sorts in which Buechner looks at various words from a Christian perspective. As I’ve been reading through I’ve noted some of the definitions that interested me or made me think with an eye towards eventually writing a blog post on one or more of them.

Buechner defines Gluttony as follows: “A glutton is one who raids the icebox for a cure for spiritual malnutrition.” Wishful Thinking, pg. 35.

I think this is a very apt definition. I know that for years I have eaten, especially unhealthy foods like chips and candy, when I am bored, stressed, or angry. In each of these instances, I had a spiritual problem that I was trying to fix with food. Or I was just trying to ignore the spiritual problem and hoped that eating would make me feel better. It seldom did.

Even though I was often aware of what I was doing, my efforts to stop this behavior were generally unsuccessful. I knew that what I really needed to do when boredom, stress, or anger plagued me was to stop and talk to God about it, and to seek His help for my spiritual struggle.

But I think eating unhealthy food often can cloud one’s judgment, leading to more of the same.

But recently I discovered, thanks to my doctor, that I am allergic to dairy and quite sensitive to wheat products. I have had to give up both and the positive effects on my physical health have been awesome. Now that I feel better in general, it is easier to think more clearly when boredom or stress elicit a desire to eat junk food when I am not hungry. It has changed my outlook on food in general. My mind is clearer and it is easier to remember where the source of my strength to overcome boredom and stress lies, and that is with my Savior.

Just today I had placed in front of me a number of sweet treats that in the past I would have eaten out of boredom and habit. But I was able to resist them all, thanks to the self-control of the Holy Spirit.

I confess that when I am upset or angry I can still be found eating right out of a family sized bag of potato chips, but I have at least dealt with the boredom and stress issue. I am, after all, still a work in process and I am “confident of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV).

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


5 Responses

  1. yes lord you have give as a new mornday blessing ,,,Dot,,,,,,”””“Still, if you set your heart on God and reach out to him, If you scrub your hands of sin and refuse to entertain evil in your home, You’ll be able to face the world unashamed and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless. You’ll forget your troubles; they’ll be like old, faded photographs.” (Job 11:13-16 MSG)

    As long as you focus on someone you resent, that person controls you. You’re worrying about something he or she has already forgotten about.

    Long before psychology came along, Job said there are three steps for inner healing:

    1. Put your heart right. If you want to be emotionally healed from a hurt, you have to release the offender — whether you feel like it or not. Don’t try to get even. Forgive that person, then release him or her.

    2. Reach out to God. You need to invite Christ to come into your life and fill you with his forgiveness. Why? I don’t think you can manufacture enough forgiveness in your life to handle all the hurts you’re going to face, not only those of the past but those you’ll have between now and when you die.

    • Sisterdot, That is great advice from Job! We definitely don’t have enough forgiveness in our hearts without Jesus. Just look at all the violence in the world fueled by anger and unforgiveness. A world or life without Christ is filled with these things. But a life with Christ is filled with forgiveness and love. Peace, Linda

  2. Refreshingly honest look at “food dependence”.
    I can definitely relate to the struggle you’ve outlined. And, there can often be a legitimate physical issue that needs attention along with the spiritual need.
    Thank God for His provision of Spirit-directed self-control!

  3. This blessed me so much Linda, and is something that I am dealing with, with His help. I didn’t even realize I WAS stressed, until He showed me what I was doing and why. duh. Loved the verse you shared. Yes and amen. And God bless you and all He is accomplishing in your life today!

    • Deb, That is one of my favorite verses for when the devil tries to convince me I’m a failure. It reminds me that as I let God work in my life and in my heart I will be changed for the better, and that He doesn’t expect me to be perfect on my own. I’m so glad this was a blessing to you, and will pray for Holy Spirit self-control to face your stress in His strength. Peace, Linda

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