Years ago, while at a retreat, I heard this quote by Henry Cloud: “Until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, we won’t change.”
I thought it somewhat odd at the time, but I’ve come to realize that it’s true for me. Until I get to the point that living a “status quo” Christian life isn’t really what I want, I’m not likely to seek God for change in my life.
For many years I was willing to “walk the walk” on the outside and, for the most part, believe I was doing all the right things. But I wasn’t trusting the Lord to be the God He claims to be in my life. This meant I was content with crumbs, when God was saying, “Patty, I have all the meat you could ever hope for–come and dine with Me!” A lot of my issues stemmed from feeling unworthy to come to His table.
I had been overweight my whole life. I would diet only to lose weight and gain it back. The enemy had me believing that even though I was overweight, I was still pretty healthy. I exercised quasi-regularly and figured it was good enough.
I wanted to lose weight, but I really didn’t have the power to control my eating. I was a closet eater–my husband didn’t even know about it. And I despised the fact that the pantry was where I turned in difficult times instead of my Lord. But to be totally honest, I did not see it as the sin of gluttony.
I know in my heart I desired change, but I didn’t seek God’s help until a few years ago. It was the first time I ever remember actually asking God to help me lose weight. I had never asked Him before because I felt that it was something I should be able to do on my own, but I was never going to get there alone.
Did I really want to see the truth? Christ says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I think I had come to the point where I was willing to see what the real problem was no matter how painful it might be. During one of my prayers, He revealed to me that I had a food addiction.
I remember it clearly. I was lying on the rug in the living room asking God to help a sister of mine who has a drug and alcohol addiction when I distinctly heard God say, “Patty, you have an addiction of your own–it just happens to be food.”
If my face hadn’t already been on the floor, I’m sure my jaw would have dropped to it. I was astounded! I couldn’t believe it, yet I knew it was true. And the moment He showed me my food addiction, the power of it was gone!
I’m not saying I don’t struggle with going to the pantry, especially when I’m bored or stressed, but now I eat to live, instead of living to eat. I sometimes eat things that I shouldn’t be eating and have to repent, but now eating healthfully and exercising regularly is the norm, not the exception.
I believe that the key to change is willingness. When we pray, we must be truly willing for God to change us–no matter what. Is change easy? No. Is it beneficial? Tremendously!
My prayer is that we would all invite the pain of change into our lives, rejoicing in the knowledge that God uses it to reflect more of His glory, love, compassion, and grace to a world that also needs change–the kind of change that only He can bring. 1 John 5:14