I honestly don’t know how to start this post. So I’m just telling you that. It’s as good a place to start as any. The wordsmith is at a loss for words for two reasons. #1 – God is doing a work in my life and although I know He wants me to tell you about it, I’m not sure I can sum it up nicely in a blog post. And #2 – It’s more than a little embarrassing.
I’ve confessed sins, shortcomings and other foibles here before, but let’s face it, we rank and categorize sin. The grace of God begs us not to, but we humans are a fallible, judgmental brood. We’re the worst. And though I have talked about this issue with close friends and family members and made self-deprecating jokes to strangers and acquaintances, I spend most of my time trying to hide it. It’s not that others can’t see it. It’s pretty darn obvious. And yet I dress myself and avoid taking pictures and hide behind others to try to forget…I’ve gained a lot of weight.
Body image has been a lifelong struggle for me. But in my younger years I kept my issues under wraps with fad diets, appetite suppressants, obsessive calorie counting and extreme exercise sessions. About 6 years ago, I went through some counseling and was encouraged to lay all those things aside. But instead of tasting freedom, I quickly fell into more bondage – that of gluttony. And I fell and broke my foot. Then I tore my ACL and MCL resulting is rehab, surgery and more rehab. And then I got the cancer diagnosis. Each issue left me restricted from the vigorous exercise routine I kept to counterbalance the comfort food I was eating. Each year I bought into the excuses and gained more weight until, frankly, I felt pretty helpless about the whole situation.
When the opportunity presented itself to review the book Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science by Drew Dyck, I knew I needed to read it. As a card carrying member (no really) of the fitness industry, I have read lots of books about health and wellness – even ones with a spiritual component. And I’ve still continued to try to diet off and on (more off than on), so I can’t say that I expected this read to be transformational for me. But it was. While Dyck writes about all issues of self-control, God used it to convict me of my gluttony and misuse of food. The author points out that as Christians we usually speak of “dealing with issues or struggling with sin. But rarely do we speak of defeating it!” In the same way I have tended to view my weight issues as a personal weakness instead of what it is – flat out rebellious disobedience.
I knew I needed the truths in the book after reading this in the introduction: “I’ll never arrive at perfection, not in this life. I don’t expect to. But shouldn’t Christians expect to make some progress? Shouldn’t they gradually overcome bad habits and besetting sins? Shouldn’t they become more humble and selfless? Shouldn’t they look a little more like Jesus with every passing year? Shouldn’t I?” Whoa. The author fills the rest of the book with instructional scriptures and practical tips for fighting against our sin nature and actually growing our self-control like a muscle.
I followed up this read (after making note cards of all the things I had underlined in the first book) with The Power of Christian Contentment: Finding Deeper, Richer, Christ-Centered Joy by Andrew M. Davis. For me, in this particular issue, self-control and contentment are deeply interwoven. My “failure to find genuine contentment in the midst of any and every circumstance” has led me repeatedly to grab it for myself, in the cheapest and most convenient way possible. Davis says, “Much of our discontent comes from our selfishness in pursuing our own agendas, seeking our own glory, feeding our own lusts. We were created to be God-centered servants of His will, moment by moment.” “A discontent servant has ceased to obey the master and is actually rebelling against the commands he is giving.” I’ll leave this discussion of contentment with one last convicting question: “Has Christ, crucified and resurrected on your behalf, done enough to make you content today…or must he do a little more?” If that one stung a little, rest assured it burned me too. I mean, is there really something that bag of Cheetos can do for me that Jesus didn’t?
I was generously gifted these books from Moody Publishers and Baker Books respectively. If you choose to purchase these books or anything else from the affiliate links included here, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you to help offset the expenses of running this site. Thank you in advance.
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Martha J Orlando says
Thanks for these wonderful reviews, Lauren, and for your stark honesty here. That takes lots of courage, my friend, to share shortcomings with others, but it certainly made me think long and hard about me own.
Thank you, Martha. Praying for you in this today.
Tea With Jennifer says
You’re very brave Lauren & Thank you for being so authentic in your struggle!
Thank you for reading, Jennifer.
Lauren, I struggle with the same issue about weight. Just this morning I was bemoaning the fact that I just don’t like my body the way it is. Then I had to remind myself by reading and praying through Psalm 139 that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My weight doesn’t define me and I need to remember that. Then I can work to lose from a place of contentment, not desperation. Thank you for sharing your struggle and for your encouragement to face the problem and move ahead with God and by His grace. Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #FreshMarketFriday.
You are so right about not working from a place of desperation. Thank you for sharing that. Praying for you today in this.
I haven’t been getting to blog parties like I used to…I forgot which one I used to see you at… but what a good post here. I’m so glad that you’re making progress in these areas…. (I wonder if the info in My Husband’s Before and After would be helpful… he struggles, too). Did you know there are two link parties on my blog? You’re the Star on Mondays, and Best of the Weekend on Fridays…. I enjoy featuring serious posts like yours once in awhile. I hope that you have a good week.
I will check out your blog and link ups. Thanks so much for the info.
Great reviews, I think it’s important to learn to let go, strangely something that seems to go against what society dictates (and really hard to get to grip with I find also) #globalblogging
Thank you, Isabel!
Calleen Petersen says
This looks like an interesting book. I don’t struggle with these issues but I know a lot of women who do.
I have found it so helpful, Calleen.
This sounds like a thought inducing book for sure! Thanks for the review!
I can’t recommend it enough.
Wow! It looks like these books should end up on my stack of books to read.
I can feel you pain. I have struggled with weight loss and the ups and downs of weight control all my life. Then the frustration of every time, it seems, that we start a good program something happens to break the habit ( broken bones, sickness). Then adding on the struggle of medications that add pounds just by swallowing them. ugh!
Keep the faith. Stay the course. I with ya! …and so is God.
Thank you for the encouragement, Mandy.
~ linda @ Being Woven says
Oh Lauren, I so want to say to you, “I know! I understand” I tried that and that and that too!” And then I’d say “Thank you for telling me about those books!” I am 71 and have struggled with weight and body image since I was a teen. I actually still struggle but am trusting in God to show me His creation His way each day. I am learning to trust Him and am learning to take a bit better care of this body. Even when I am thinner than in years, I still think I look heavier than I am. That old image is stuck in there. But He is with me and showing me better ways to live whatever time I have left here on earth. Thanks for your words.
Thank you for the encouragement, Linda.
Susan Shipe says
Gluttony can look differently than just food. Lauren, I appreciate your candid confession and thank you for it.
You are so right, Susan. I have also had a problem with shopping in the past. And I think even “binge” watching can be a problem.
Ashley Rowland | HISsparrowBlog says
So many things in life fool us into thinking they’re the problem when they’re actually a symptom. I’ll definitely keep these books in mind for later. Glad to be your neighbor at Tell His Story. 😉
Great point, Ashley! Thanks for reading.
Patsy Burnette says
Thank you Lauren for this very honest post. I have not read either of these. Adding them to my list. Shared. I think most of us struggle with weight. Personally, I have found clean-eating and cutting out ALL of the sugar helps. Sugar is such an addictive drug! And it’s a fertilizer for cancer—another reason to cut it out! Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
Thank you, Patsy.
Wow! This sounds like a book that I must read. “But shouldn’t Christians expect to make some progress? Shouldn’t they gradually overcome bad habits and besetting sins? Shouldn’t they become more humble and selfless? Shouldn’t they look a little more like Jesus with every passing year? Shouldn’t I?” Loved this!!!
I never thought of this as disobedience before. Thank you for making me think about self-control in a new way.
It was a fascinating and transformative read, Laurie.
Tiffany Montgomery says
Thank you for being so transparent. It is amazing the way God comes in, shines His light through unexpected ways. I’m so glad these books were His tools to help you. I will be checking them out.
Thank you for the encouragement, Tiffany. I hope these books are meaningful to you, too.
Angela Johnson says
I started reading this book, and loved it! Then life happened, and I have not been able to finish it or any other book(softball, baseball, travel ball), lol. You have inspired me to start reading it again!
Oh, good. I pray you get as much out of it, Angela.
Heather Keet says
Self-control with food is definitely one of my weak points, I may need to read this book! #GlobalBlogging
I cannot express enough how much I got (and am still getting) out of it.