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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. kiki

    Excellent article. Praise God! Have faith in Him and He will see u through.

    January 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  2. Christy

    I can so relate to this addiction & obsession to food and yoyo diets. I've lost weight & gained back more over the years. And like you Lysa finally realizes I was focusing more that food was where I ran to for comfort than to the arms of our Savior. I am excited about your new book and just returning my attention to the source of my everything, Jesus Christ. Thank you for your obedient and humble heart to serve our Lord.

    January 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  3. Robert H.

    Kathy, I've been climbing the ladder of good ideas for so long and through you I heard, with humor on track, I began reading my Bible yesterday with like minded results. Thank you.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Robert H.

      Kathy, I meant my message for Lysa, however thank you too, as it's each support here in replies which was as well a part of my beginning.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  4. UhHuh

    Such BS! I've lost 80 pounds in just over a year and never prayed to God for help. I stopped eating junk and started walking on the treadmill. That's how you lose weight, not by praying for it. I'm 58, so it's never too late to change bad habits.

    January 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  5. Jack Frost

    A note to CNN:

    It's idiotic to have the "Report abuse" button right next to the "Reply" button, close enough to accidentally hit one when you meant to hit the other.

    It's even more idiotic to make it so that you can't use "Reply" once you've accidentally ticked the "Report abuse" button.

    Seriously, CNN. This is web design 101... You don't put anything next to the "Reply" button, and especially not something that performs the EXACT OPPOSITE FUNCTION.

    January 1, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  6. Karen

    Thank you Lysa for this inspiring message on this, the 1st day of the New Year. I am so excited about taking this journey with you. I just ordered your book (actually the whole bundle) and am anxiously awaiting to get started. I will be glued to the upcoming webcasts, thats for sure! May God bless you. I'm so proud to call myself on of Jesus's girls.

    January 1, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  7. RaleighJesusGirl

    Thank you CNN for sharing such a great article!

    Lysa, Thank you so very much for sharing your struggle, your heart and your success! I am disappointed to have read so many cold, rude comments. Park your mind on the truth. One day every knee will bow. I pray Jesus gets their hearts and minds before then.

    January 1, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  8. Cheryl

    Thank you CNN for posting Lysa's blog/article. Thank you Lysa for allowing God, the creator & sustainer of the universe, to do a great work in your heart & mind to draw you closer in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the perfect Savior of the World. Continue to be encouraged in the Lord & share what the Lord has done in your life. Blessings to you & your P31 staff/co-partners in ministry.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  9. Francis

    Oof.

    This was painful to read. From blaming a god- to begging a god. Is that progress?

    January 1, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  10. Sheryl

    Great article Lysa! God is a powerful God and I know from experience that He can do great things! Your book is inspiring me to give this "food" area of my life over to God. I want God alone to satisfy me!

    January 1, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  11. guestwhat

    Fat girl's anger is misdirected.
    This other fat girl got right to the problem; it's not God, it's Gravity! apageinthelife blog 'the world turns?..."

    January 1, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  12. Lisa Tomarelli

    Dealing with my own cravings for joy, for love, for hope reminds me of the constant desire to seek God in all things. Realizing that God can help with food, too, is a refreshing gift. The other desires seem so much more, uh, worthy. Each time I make a conscious choice, with God's help, to walk away from cookies, or M&Ms, or ice cream, I walk towards the self-acceptance and love of God I truly crave.

    January 1, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • Reality

      Some common sense for the New Year:

      Saving Christians from the Resurrection Con:

      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 would have 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.

      January 1, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  13. rose helen militello

    toAl Bluegreenenbrownenburger, i'll explain,when an atheist is on his /her death bed chances are good that he or she will call out to the Lord before he or she dies, hence, no atheist ever dies,got it now

    January 1, 2011 at 2:35 am |
  14. DeAguaDulce

    I love all the Evangelical Atheists who come to CNN's Belief.net trying to convert others to their beliefs and then whine and cry how religious people are always cramming their beliefs down their throats! LOL...Very comical....

    January 1, 2011 at 1:20 am |
  15. Paula

    Thanks for the inspiration Lysa! I always love reading your articles and blogs.
    And for the readers who think God doesn't answer the prayers of starving children – read Lysa's amazing story about how God answered the prayers of 2 starving orphans that now call Lysa "MOM"... and a dozen other boys from their orphanage also have food, families, freedom, and faith.
    God will answer prayers through people like Lysa who are willing to listen and obey His commands.
    With love from one of your Jesus girls 🙂

    January 1, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  16. Ian

    Two simple truths that you can take to the bank and put in a long-term deposit:
    1) Energy in < Energy out = No fat.
    2) God is imaginary.
    Life doesn't need to be so complicated!

    January 1, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Zamiel Crow

      NOooo.... It's MAGIC! Can't you see? God uses his miracle powers and zaps away the fat because it's part of the bargain. You promise that you love Him, and He promises to handle mundane, silly things that don't matter in the grand cosmic scheme of things! It's perfectly logical! JEEEZ.

      January 1, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Greg

      Well in that case Ian, you can make millions as a brilliant dietician and philosopher/theologian! No wait, you'd fail miserably without anything more useful to say.

      January 3, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  17. sage

    Im still mad at GOD,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,fat is far on the bottom of my list though!

    December 31, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  18. Katy

    Great post. Thanks for your transparency. It is inspiring.

    December 31, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  19. Kristin

    Lysa, I cant wait to read your book, God bless you!

    December 31, 2010 at 9:30 pm |
  20. rose helen militello

    for the non-believers,no atheist ever dies

    December 31, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Did you get started early on your New Years drinking? That made no sense at all.

      December 31, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
    • Ian

      You're right. We only smell that way....

      January 1, 2011 at 12:11 am |
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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.