Repentance. Honest-to-goodness, real repentance.

G'day ladies! Here we are, still trudging along on our Daniel safari, and I am here to announce that this week has been the toughest for me so far. Not in the way that I had anticipated, however. No strange prophecies bogging me down, no unusual visions to, this week has been a face to face encounter with God. It's funny how God works. In the past 9 weeks, He has used Daniel, who I never would have given a second thought to, and Amber, who I didn't even know, to get me to a place where there were only 2 paths I could take......outright defiance or full-blown repentance. Wow.

Daniel week #9 bring us to Daniel's prayer of repentance for his people. It's a beautiful prayer,with Daniel beseeching God to forgive the wickedness of his countrymen. In verse 7, he pretty much nails the whole situation on the head with this: " To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame..." 

Open shame. 

In my case, hidden shame. But here, now, I am making it open. My friend Robin says that if you confess your sins aloud to others, those sins lose their grip on you. Satan also loses his foothold once we've said it. Out loud.

But I don't want to. I really, really, don't want to.

For my entire life, even as a child, I have struggled with my weight. I was a chubby kid. I had to work really hard in high school to stay thin, and only managed to because I ran track. In college I started to gain it back, and then started the yo-yo dieting -- gaining and losing literally hundreds of pounds over and over again. I can't explain my feelings or emotions in a way that makes it clear to anyone -- I've tried a few times, casually, to talk about it just to get a feel for whether I'm totally looney or maybe learn that other people think the same way I do.

I've learned no one that I've met thinks quite like me.

I don't know what to attribute my odd thinking to. Here goes...I have a genuine fear that I won't have enough to eat. Ok, this is crazy, I know. I'm fat. Obese, even. I have never exactly missed a meal. Or a cookie, for that matter. But I get anxious and honestly terrified at the thought of not having food to eat. And don't get me started on my kids and my husband. I stress to the point of chewing my nails at the thought of Griffin not having enough food in his snack bag or lunch box. I panic that Tucker's dining account at school will run low and they won't allow him to eat. It's so stupid I cannot believe I'm admitting this here. But, worry is a sin. (And yes, I'm thoroughly in agreement that this is a mental disorder, probably OCD like in some manner.) But, it is still, to me, a sin.

However, my biggest sin, and the biggest area that God convicted me in is something different, yet similar. It's an ugly word. You might want to turn your head away from the screen for a second.



Oh. my. goodness. I said it. 

And I'm still alive.

I know that this is a sin. I have studied it over and over in years past. But lately it's really been, well, bugging the you-know-what out of me. And finally, this week, God just got in my face (relatively speaking) and I realized that I was a perpetual sinner of magnanimous proportions (and I do mean that literally).

God specifically mandates "Thou shall have no other gods before Me." But you know what? I have put food ahead of God on more than one occasion. Sometimes when I pray, I think about what is in the freezer. Instead of writing in a prayer journal, I make grocery lists. Read the Bible? How about a Barefoot Contessa cookbook instead?

Food has become my idol.

No. Food has always been my idol.

Philipians 3:19  pretty much slapped me in the face this week: " ...their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things."

I am shamed even more when I read over and over in the Bible where gluttony and drunkeness go hand in hand. The common denominator? Lack of self control. Remember that old Lay's potato chip commercial? "You can't eat just one" was their slogan. Just as an alcoholic cannot have "just" one drink, a food addict cannot have just one chip. Or just one cookie. Well, truth be told, in front of y'all, we'll just eat one. But we'll go behind your back and hide the others. So the sin just exacerbates the problem and it turns into even more sin.

So....this is just the beginning. I have spent a week in prayer and repentance and have shed more than my share of fat girl tears. I'm not saying I'm going on a diet and don't expect any before and after pictures. This is going to be a journey of the heart, to get back on track with God. To turn to Him when I'd rather have a brownie. I've been on a journey to know God better for so long now, that it is actually embarrassing to admit that there has been, well, an elephant in the room the whole time. (And yes, you can laugh at that!)

Back to Daniel's prayer. I stole this right out from under his nose (I don't think he'll mind), and I love it. In my absolute pleading to God this week, I have come to my knees time and again in humility. But....listen to this: " For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy." Isn't that the greatest?!! I am so thankful for his mercy. So incredibly thankful.

And I'm grateful that his mercies are new.....every morning.


Kellie said...

Such transparency.

And I guarantee that your thoughts and worries and fears regarding food are not "odd" or "looney".

Ecclesiastes (something or other..I'm horrible with numbers) says: there is nothing new under the sun.

There is comfort in means you are not alone in your thoughts, even when those around you deny them! ;)

God's mercies ARE new every morning...He is bigger than our hearts...he knows everything. (1 John 3:20)

And He loves us anyway...


Kellie said...

Oh! And I tried to email you but your comments come to me a no-reply email...

I don't live in Charlotte...but if you email me I'l tell you where I am!

care-in said...

I really appreciate your transparency. This has given me something to think about as I have wondered the same thing about my eating habits. Self control! I "know" but I have to "do"...kwim?

RosieRed said...

Jen, this post must relate to soooo many of us...Over the years I've been proud of the fact that I can eat a tonne load of chocolate and never put an ounce on - and I've taken full advantage of that fact...Recently however I have been under the sneaking suspicion (God's gentle whisper) that I suffer from Glutony also (I had never thought to give it that name!)otherwise known as GREED. I am hooked on food....I REALLY REALLY struggle with fasting - I feel like I am about to keel over by 10am whenever I try, when I do try I spend most of the day thinking about food.

God has been speaking to me particularly about fasting (especially in response to the Daniel Safari - and he has made me aware how glutonous I am. Food can be like a drug and easily detracts from Him. I'm with you in working on this one!

lisasmith said...

What beautiful, soul baring, life giving words found here!

I sense healing in the air...
I love the Message it says Daniel said, "Act out of who you are, not out of what we are." I love that because I'm a self-loathing perfectionist. I have had food issues because of my desire to be and look perfect.

I am praising God for your courage today, mi amiga! May you lead others in a freedom march!!

love you, xoxo

Gretchen said...

Thank you, Jen, for your courage. Maybe you haven't found anyone who thinks the same way about food as you do, but I'll bet I come close. It's ugly when we call it what it is--idolatry and lack of self control--but I do think (not copping out here) that our culture makes it so incredibly hard to eat to live, rather than live to eat. Good thing we have the Bread of Life. Because, Girlfriend...I'm hungry. And I sense you are, too. I'm so proud of you for stepping forward putting this out into the light, and letting God prune it away. Hugs!!!! Let me know how you're doing as you go along.

Tiffani said...


Seriously?? I just love your honesty. We have to do something after Daniel b/c I just enjoy being "with" you every week.

Much has been said in your comments and I echo all of it. I was just discussing with myself and the Thin Mints the other day that this is just flat out sin.

Thank you for boldly saying these words and living to tell us ;) Because guess what? Many of us want to say some of the same things!


His Girl said...

geez, girl.

way to just take the ball and RUN.WITH.IT!

you totally have impressed me with your willingness to take God's whisperings and turn them into actions.

so, so, so impressive.