Food, Relationships, and Physical Wellness
As a minister of the gospel, a meal goes with almost every emotion, occasion, or relationship-building activity. Growing up as a large guy, I embraced who I was early on and never struggled with my size. Also, growing up in a Baptist home, I embraced that a good meal or snack could solve or heal most situations. While it is not unique to our denomination to fellowship with food, it is often the smokescreen we hide behind to mask other issues in our lives.
Relationships Mattered More Than Food
I found myself in my early 30’s, after going through a particularly hard ministry season, in a physically unhealthy place. The week before we went to the waterpark, I had preached a sermon on making things in our lives “not an option” to find freedom. While standing at the end of a slide, unable to go down with friends due to my weight, I realized my weight was keeping me from the very thing I loved. Relationships. On the drive home, I was visibly upset. My wife said, “Maybe your ‘not an option’ should be not overeating,” and my heart sunk. My selfishness for food was now impacting my ministry, fellowships, and the ability to be used by God.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”— and God will destroy both one and the other.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12-13
Don’t Blame Food
There are several aspects of wellness. One moment I needed food to feel better, and the next, I cursed it. My initial weight drop after the waterpark was a step in the right direction. However, I never acknowledged my toxic relationship with food. I had allowed food to dominate my thoughts, spiritual life, emotional health, and of course, my physical well being. I had to see food as nutrition, not a counselor, to begin a new path of wellness. I had to regain control of my life where food had been allowed to fill voids of emotions and relational dependence.
The Heart of Physical Wellness
My journey has seen me lose nearly 170 lbs, but that did not regain control of my life. Freedom came when I let go of false expectations of how much or what foods I had to eat and allowing God to be my counselor, not food. The toxic relationship I had with food was never about the type of food, diet, or even my willpower. It was about giving everything over to God to reverse decades of bad habits.
I don’t have this all figured out. Like most addictive behaviors, I will wrestle with this for the rest of my life. But each day gets better, and that freedom is the result of being disciplined to keep food in its correct place in my life. The victory was not in the weight loss but in the heart-change relationship with food.
Take Your First Step
The number on a scale is not a heart measurement. If you struggle with your relationship with food, take the first step to admit this is a challenge. Pastor Wellness at the GBMB is here to support you in your next best step towards wellness, including your physical health. We will connect you to the support you need to maximize your ministry impact. You can also join the private Facebook group here.
Our outward appearances don’t always reflect this struggle. Seek the Lord, and be well so you can be used by Him in all ways to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Published July 24, 2020