About three weeks ago I felt like the Lord was telling me to alter my boundary lines. I’ll talk more about that change another day, but this alteration brought up some deeply rooted lies I hadn’t dealt with yet on my WW points boundary.
With the points, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted as long as I had the points to do so. Sometimes that would mean extra exercise just so I could have a high point item. I started to get good at playing the points game so I could still do some recreational or emotional eating (albeit, less than before).
Well, my new boundaries don’t afford me that luxury. At first, I was feeling pretty good about the boundary change because I physically felt better, but then I suddenly felt worse, stress increased, and I was left suffering without the option of self-medicating with certain foods.
At first, I didn’t realize this was going on. I justified eating outside my boundaries because I had a headache and knew certain foods would help it subside. This triggered “failure” feelings. Then I started to think about foods I wouldn’t even eat on WW because the points just weren’t worth it to me (orange tofu). This triggered feelings of deprivation (which is really “discontentment”).
One evening with broken boundaries turned into three evenings with broken boundaries. I would make it all day and then cave in the evening all over again. A little “I’ll start tomorrow” eating crept in.
I thought, “Good heavens! This looks way too much like my old pattern of behavior.” It scared me to think I might return to that life if I didn’t put a stop to it right then. So, when I woke the fourth morning, I lay in bed and talked to God about what was going on. He pointed out two lies which seemed to be at the root of the deviation.
LIE: If I have a headache, I must need to eat something.
This lie was the actual trigger which set everything off. I had been dealing with an incessant headache for days and I was tired of it. When I ate a cupcake that first evening and it disappeared, I ended up eating three more to keep it at bay. It seemed to “confirm” the lie.
I distinctly remember complaining of headaches as a child and being told, “Oh, you must be hungry”. Now, it’s highly likely I was hungry then, but over the years it morphed into, “have headache, must eat”.
In reality, that morning prayer with God revealed to me the headache was due to a lack of restful sleep and eating too much too often. I asked God what I should do and felt like He told me to drink water but to wait to eat.
Well, this triggered another lie.
LIE: I need more food, and frequently, to fuel my day.
This lie plays on my fear of being without food. I have a genuine fear of being hungry and not being able to eat. So, I panicked when I had gone half the day without eating and only drinking water.
Instead of going to God about it, I ate two oranges. The headache returned. Essentially, God had told me to fast that day, but I was too scared of going without food. I would go several hours without eating, but then I would eat something because my mind kept telling me I needed to eat despite not feeling hungry.
I was actually surprised at the fears and beliefs being dredged up by a simple change in my boundaries. More time in prayer made me realize I don’t need nearly as much food (even the nutritious stuff) as I thought I did. In fact, I was overworking my digestive system and not giving my body a chance to rest and heal.
You may be wondering what could possibly be an advantage to breaking my boundaries. I mean, I gained weight during those three days. I felt bloated, agitated, and miserable. On the surface it looks like a total failure because it derailed my weightloss goals. How can this be helpful?
Well, God tells us He works all things together for good to them that love Him. I do believe the passage is largely talking about circumstances outside of our control, but I can’t ignore that He says, “ALL things”. I believe this means He can use our mistakes to His and our advantage. What the world may see as a failure, God sees as an opportunity to teach us, refine us, and transform us if we go to Him for help.
In the past, I would have viewed three days of breaking my boundaries as a total loss. In fact, it probably wouldn’t have just been three days. Thankfully, the truth says they aren’t a “set-back” in my journey. Now I see them as a “set-up” for future success because God shined a light on more lies to be extracted. So, no matter how badly we mess up with our boundaries, there is always something to be learned. We don’t have to remain in a place of defeat. We can allow God to make us stronger instead.