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December 30th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

My Take: When the fat girl got mad at God

Editor's Note: Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and author of Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food. Lysa blogs daily at www.lysaterkeurst.com. 

By Lysa TerKeurst, Special to CNN

Three years ago I was stuck in a rut of wishful thinking and excuses with my weight loss. At the beginning of each day I would say I wanted things to be different. I would vow in my heart to make things different. I would even make a plan to stop the snacks, increase the veggies, and say no to the desserts.

But then life would happen. And the excuses were so very plentiful. So, my resolve would melt away like butter on a hot yeast roll.

Of course the next morning I would always get up and weigh myself hoping that somehow magic would have happened over night. Despite my indulgences from the day before, maybe just maybe the numbers would have gone down.

But the scale was not impressed with my wishful thinking. So you know who I’d get mad at?

God.

I’d beg God to help me one minute while scarfing down an order of fries the next. And then I’d be doubly mad He didn’t steer my car away from the drive-thru.

I deemed myself a victim of tragic genetics, overactive taste buds and a stomach that demanded large portions.  What I failed to realize for years is there was a much more significant issue going on with me.

More important than the ever increasing size of my jeans was the deception going on inside my heart. My weight was outside indication of an internal situation. There was a crucial spiritual situation that needed to be addressed.

I was relying on food to be my comfort, my ever present help, my guide, the thing that got me through the valleys and the first thing I wanted to celebrate with in the good times. Honestly, I might as well have taken Psalm 23 and replaced the Lord’s name with various food choices.

My proper little Christian self would have never expressed that out loud. But my body wouldn’t keep secrets. I had an issue. And the ever increasing size of my body demanded the REAL issue be addressed.

I don’t write to point out anyone else’s issue. There are certainly medical situations that can cause weight gain. But my issue was truly a spiritual one. And no diet would have ever been permanently successful until I got to the real root of my problem.

The root of my issue was craving food more than God. I desired and depended on the instant high of physical gratification because I hadn’t learned how to let God satisfy my deepest needs.

God wasn’t causing my weight issues as some sort of cruel consequence for my poor choices.
God was actually the very thing I needed to help overcome my issues.

Dr. Floyd Chilton who teaches at Wake Forest University of medicine wrote an article that said, "Your willpower is in constant battle with your genes and your calorie-excessive environment. Often your best efforts are no match for your genes and environment which is why so many diets fail so miserably... Will power alone is not enough to bring about this change; start by realizing that can not do this alone. If you are a person of faith, use that connection to help you change."

So, I set out to understand what the Bible says about how to consume food without food consuming me. I started in Genesis and read through the Bible with an appetite for truth rather than chocolate, chips and cheeseburgers. This was a spiritual journey that yielded great physical benefits. I lost 25 pounds in 4 months but more importantly, I have kept it off for nearly two years. That’s a first for me!

Now, I sense my weight issue was actually a gift in disguise. I never thought I’d say that. And yes, three years ago I would have rolled my eyes at someone saying that too.

But I don’t say it as a Pollyanna lollipop girl with too much air between her ears and no cellulite on her hiney.
I know this is a tough issue. I’ve walked through the tears and the feelings of failure. Remember, I was the fat girl mad at God about this whole deal. So, hear me out.

Learning to turn to God to fill my soul instead of food to overstuff my emptiness, has changed more than just my jeans size. It has changed my outlook on life. I did lose the extra weight I needed to shed and kept it off. But the real reward was what I gained with Jesus in the process. He became the best part of my journey. And I wouldn’t have missed this new found closeness I now have with Him for anything in world.

“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food,” Romans 14:17-20.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Lysa TerKeurst.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Food • God • Opinion

soundoff (1,314 Responses)
  1. Luann

    Don't be discouraged by the negative comments my friend.

    2 Corinthians 4:4
    The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    It is no surprise. Stay focused on God.

    Matthew 10:32
    "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven."
    Your audience of One is pleased.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • Tyler Rowan

      Amen, Luann.

      December 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Kim

      The only one who's opinion you need to concern youself with, Lysa, is God's. This book is going to yield something amazing for so many!!! People can be brutal, but do not take their harshness to heart.

      December 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
    • Reality

      Hmmm, let us see what some of the contemporary NT experts have to say about the "Son of God the Father" references in the NT:

      Matt 7:21
      “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."

      Not said by the historical Jesus, but more embellishment my Matthew. wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/111_Invocation_without_Obedience

      Matt 9:6 Passage notes "Son of Man" not Son of God.

      wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/127_Sickness_and_Sin

      Matt 10:32-33, ""Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; /33/ but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven"

      "Ludemann [Jesus, 344] states " this is a prophetic admonition from the post-Easter community. For it, Jesus and the Son of man were 'identical in the future: Jesus will return in the near future as the Son of man with the clouds of heaven. In his earthly life he was not yet the Son of man, since he will come to judgment only with the clouds of heaven (Dan. 7.13f) at the end of days' (Haenchen)."

      Matt 11:27 "All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

      wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/045_Father_and_Son and

      "Lüdemann [Jesus, 330f] invokes the classic description from K. Hase of this passage as a "thunderbolt from the Johannine heavens." He notes the typically Johannine reference to mutual knowledge between Father and Son, and the absolute use of "Son" as a designation for Jesus. In dismissing the saying's authenticity, Luedemann also notes the similarity to ideas in the post-Easter commissioning scene at Matt 28:18, "All authority has been given to me ..."

      Matt 1:20- 225 (another "pretty, wingie thingie requirement)

      20/ But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. /21/ She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." /22/ All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: /23/ "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." /24/ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, /25/ but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus."

      "Bruce Chilton

      In Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural paternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-identi-ty, his concept of God and his spiritual quest. "

      Mark 1: 11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

      wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/058_John_Baptizes_Jesus

      "Gerd Lüdemann

      Lüdemann [Jesus, 9] affirms the historicity of Jesus being baptized by John, but does not trace the theological interpretations back beyond the post-Easter community:

      ... Jesus did not regard his baptism as appointment to be the son of God. The underlying concept derives from the community, which believed in Jesus as the son of God (cf. Gal. 2.16; 4.4) and located his appointment within his lifetime. In the earliest period, for example, the appointment of Jesus as son of God came only after his resurrection from the dead (cf. Rom. 1.4).

      "John P. Meier

      The second volume of A Marginal Jew devotes considerable space to a study of John as "mentor" to Jesus. The historicity of the baptism is addressed on pages 100-105, before considering the meaning of Jesus' baptism on pages 106-116. On the basis of the criterion of embarrassment, supported by a limited proposal for multiple attestation (relying on possible echoes of a Q version in John's Gospel and in 1 John 5:6), Meier concludes:

      We may thus take the baptism of Jesus by John as the firm historical starting point for any treatment of Jesus' public ministry. (II,105)

      Having established the historicity of the baptism event, Meier is adamant that the narrative must be seen as a Christian midrash, drawing on various OT themes to assert the primacy of Jesus over John. In particular, Meier insists that the theophany must be excluded from all attempts to understand the event, since it is a later Christian invention rather than a surviving memory of some actual spiritual experience of Jesus.

      Meier's discussion of the meaning of the baptism puts great weight on the fact that accepting baptism implied Jesus' agreement with John's apocalyptic message, and also engages at length with the question of Jesus' sinlessness."

      December 31, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  2. Reality

    One more time:

    More on saintly Paul and how to cure the Three B Syndrome (Bred, Born and Brainwashed in Christianity) of two billion Christians to include L. TerKeurst

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  3. Reality

    Fat???

    Not according to the photos of the topic posted at:

    http://www.google.com/images?rlz=1T4GGLL_enUS362US363&q=Lysa+TerKeurst&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=LvwcTc-iO4iq8Ab3xdCxDg&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=t-itle&resnum=6&ved=0CEcQsAQwBQ&biw=1231&bih=549

    December 30, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  4. Howard Stimpleton-Hurst

    Wow, This Lysa woman sells a lot of stuff on her websites! I mean, she really rakes in the bucks, what with books and videos and the lecture circuit, wow! God clearly wants you to give her more money, because that is what Jesus meant when he repeatedly told you to sell all your posessions and give it to the poor. Bet she has a few good Christian luxury car and a holy mansion, probably a Jesus-loving God-fearing vacation home in the Bahamas. I wonder if she has a Jesus Jet yet.

    If he met Ms. TerKeurst, I wonder what would Jesus do? Maybe this? - Matthew 21:12-13 "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Howard Stimpleton-Hurst

      God loves a fat chick. He likes the sound they make as their fat thighs rub together when they run to the altar!

      The always ask for seconds at communion.

      Fat chicks are faithful. No one but Jesus wants them. LOL

      Cheers!

      December 30, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
    • jody

      Howie, do you have five children, including two adopted boys, to educate and provide for their needs? Everyone has to make a living somehow, unless they are on welfare. I am buying the book and doing the FREE online study. I am not fat, but I need to change my family's eating habits.

      December 31, 2010 at 4:16 am |
  5. leonabriggs

    Wow! I am astounded by the anger being hurled about (by both sides). What started as a woman sharing her weight loss journey and her faith, ended up being about the Christian life versus the non-Christian life. I plan to read the book–thankfully we live in a country where I can make that choice without having to worrying about persecution. Or do I?

    December 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  6. Monica

    CNN, thanks for posting this article. Lysa's story is an inspiration to me. I look forward to participating in the Made to Crave study in January. It is time for me to stop making excuses and admit Christ alone has answers for my every point of need. Many people battle addictions of different kinds. If you are at the end of your excuses, I challenge you to try this study for yourself.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  7. Salvatore

    Science = Seeing is believing
    Faith = Believing is seeing

    Please... If you have faith in a god or religion or whatever, please, please, please just keep it to yourself and let the rest of us just live. Tell me why you believe in your one god over all of the other religions. Show me something that I can say, ah, yes, I see. STOP comparing religion to science. In religion you have one faith and hundrends of different practices based upon it. There are no rules, guidelines, proofs... just what you believe and if something doesn't make sense you make excuses. You start with your explanation and ignore what you see. Science has a model with processes and proofs and if something doesn't make sense the work begins agian. Science has no pre-concieved agenda, only to explain what we see. PLEASE, believe what you want if it's good for you but you look pathetic when you try to defend yourself and you look like an imbicile when you feel sorry for non-believers and please DO pray for me because it's less time I have to here you spew your vile worship.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
    • Dallas5superrings

      Salvator, why do guys like you come on here to bash a womans story about her FAITH helping her in everyday life? There is an athiest board somewhere i am sure that would welcome you...Hey Salvator? Jesus Christ STILL loves you and he STILL died for YOUR Sins. Man, I am glad I wont be you the day we die....

      December 30, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  8. Karen

    Lysa - Great job!! There are many, many opinions being thrown out, but one Almighty God. One day -

    "at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:10-11

    I choose to bow today - in the area of eating and increasingly in others areas of my life. We can all choose to bow to Him today - or you can choose to laugh and mock Him. But one day - you, too, will bow and recognize HIm as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. If I'm right about this, I have gained joy and abundant life both now and forever. If you who do not believe in Him are right - I'm still blessed in my "foolishness." But - if you are wrong - you have lost your souls into everlasting punishment - and are missing out on great joy that could be yours today. So - who's wiser after thinking it through - you or me?!!

    Lysa - Once again - you're awesome! God bless you and may He receive all the glory!!!

    December 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Karen, that same argument can be applied to any deity, that might be good enough to worship (for some) but never not good enough to believe.

      December 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • Karen

      JohnQuest - "any deity"?

      "Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior." Isaiah 43:10b-11

      There is only God! You are obviously among much company in your thoughts now, but - just as the bible says - one day you will have no choice but to also bow. It does no good to argue with the Almighty. I pray that you choose Him today. You have no idea what wonderful blessings you deny yourself by your stubborness.

      December 30, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  9. Kandee

    May God receive all the glory from this article and the blessings that will be handed out from Him using Lysa and her book!! As I know that is the way Lysa would want it. Thank you for your wonderful encouragement to us all Lysa through your life, your writings and your loving words to us all.
    Blessings to all who have posted here. To all you Christians – please join me in praying for all those who are posting as we can all always use prayer.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  10. A New Idea

    An Archaeopteryx fossil known as the Thermopolis specimen was put on public display last week in the small town of Thermopolis, Wyoming.

    What makes this fossil so special is that it is one of only ten described Archaeopteryx specimens in the entire world, and second only to the Berlin specimen in preservation. It’s also the only one that can be seen on this side of the Atlantic.

    I have been to Thermopolis, WY, if you get a chance to visit let me know what you think.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  11. Sam

    I give up, My resolution in 2011 that Religion will always be here and no logic, truth or argument will sway the "believers" back to planet earth. While arguing with my cousin on the truth that people can not live to 900 years as per the old testament. The answer I got. Of course they used to live 900 years because they did not have polution back then.

    How can you argue with a statement like that.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  12. Tiffany

    A wonderful article! Such valuable information. Great job Lysa!

    December 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  13. Dallas5superrings

    “In this century (twentieth century), science has come to understand how the universe began from a tiny point, fifteen billion years ago. No matter how incredible it sounds, it seems that the church’s ideas of a moment of creation were right from the beginning.”
    (Steven Hawking, perhaps the most famous scientist alive, made this startling admission during the 1997 PBS program, Universe.)

    December 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      You realize he doesn't say that it was god that created it though, right? You guys are so awesome at twisting things really smart people say to make yourselves look less dumb.

      December 30, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • The earth is 6000 years old, stupid.

      So are you implying that Steven says the church is correct about how the universe came to be? If you think that then you need to reread the bible. He is simply agreeing that there was a moment of creation as apposed to everything always having existed as it currently is. Besides, everyone knows the earth is only 6000 years old =D j/k Hurray for gravity for its existence allowed the creation of everything out of nothing!

      December 30, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Anyone that quotes Stephen Hawking to defend religion has not read, and more importantly comprehended, his books, especially his most recent one "The Grand Design." Believing that Stephen Hawking believes in any god is as delusional as believing in religion, so I guess it's not a huge leap for believers.

      December 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  14. Christine

    Bravo CNN! This article is fantastic. As a fan of Lysa TerKeurst for years it's wonderful to read this on CNN. In spite of the few, who seem to have way too much time on their hands, that posted their rather confusing and irrelevant views of God, Christianity, Science and Creation, etc. I am inspired by those that heard this message loud and clear and will be better because of it. It would do all of you good to read PROVERBS 31. When I first read about this book I felt like the "lightbulb" turned on with reference to the way women handle eating and their emotions. Can't wait to hear about the success stories!

    December 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  15. Gandhi

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    December 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  16. Renee

    WOW! God forgive them....for they know not what what they say.GREAT JOB LYSA

    December 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  17. Luis Wu

    Lysa, if your delusions of an invisible man in the sky helps you to stop shoving food down your pie-hole, then more power to you.

    December 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  18. Shelly Cantrell

    Lysa,

    Your story inspires me to open my heart and let God turn the broken pieces into a beautiful mosaic (just like you mention in your book – Made to Crave).

    I know he is waiting to write HIStory in my life, and I thank you for your openness on this very sensitive subject.

    December 30, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  19. Luis Wu

    Lot of deleted posts here since this article was posted. CNN censors afraid of free speech? Obviously.

    December 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  20. Ann

    Thank you Lysa for this article and for Made to Crave. I can't wait to read it!

    I knew that when I came here that many of the comments on this article would be filled with negativity because that is par for the course here. It still amazes me though that people who proclaim so loudly that they do not believe in God come to a religious blog to read articles. It seems to me they are still seaching for something in their unhappy existence. Hopefully reading these articles will help them find what they are missing!

    December 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • Kim

      Bravo, Ann!

      December 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.