I have now admitted that I am powerless over my compulsive eating — that my life has become unmanageable. But this is not the full truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It is not the Gospel truth. The Gospel says this:
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. (2 Peter 1:3)
I have all I need to stay clean from sugar and eat well not on my own, but through all the many means God gives me. My intellect and desire. Food labels and the money to purchase healthy food. My sponsor and friends in recovery. My wife and family encouraging me. Prayer and reflection on Scripture and other spiritual readings. I am blessed by God with so many things to keep me on track.
So how does this relate to my mental illness? One key component toward mental health is drawing on the resources of both medical science and faith. I require prayer and pills, worship and therapy, Bible study and psychosocial education. My own body, my own mind carries a disease that makes it impossible to enjoy a balanced life. Fortunately I’m not in this alone. God is with me; I have a heavenly host watching over me; and friends and family walking alongside me.
I am so grateful for the encouraging notes I received after my last post on making a commitment to food recovery. I cherish each response. One in particular touched my heart. It is from a stranger to me, named Peter Higgs:
Hi Tony, from what I’ve read I believe you can/will do this. Thank you for sharing your commitment with humility, vulnerability, and determination. I began a similar journey a few months ago. As I look back down through the decades… as someone with bipolar type 1, epilepsy, and diabetes — I know that I know God’s goodness and your faith will enable a wondrous lifestyle change. You can/will do it.
Yes, Peter, I will do it, by the grace of God. I know it won’t be easy. My human nature resists with all its being. Flannery O’Conner once wrote:
All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.
Grace us bit just amazing, it can also be agonizing. The fire of the Holy Spirit purifies us like silver is refined. The change is more than worth it, but there are moments we can hardly bear it.
I can remember countless basketball practices growing up where we would run wind sprints. They were essential for training, but I hated them. They made me sick. Countless times I would go in the locker room after practice and throw up. My muscles would cramp. My lungs would burn. I had poured everything I had on the court and I paid for it afterward.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! It benefitted my body, my mind, and my spirit. Those practices erased my asthmatic tendencies, keep me focused on my goals in life, and gave me confidence that with God’s help and my effort, anything was possible. I’ll never forget the time after tennis practice when I stepped onto the track field and ran a five minute mile, something very few people I’ve met can say they’ve ever done.
If you both feel the need for change and fear it, I’m here to share some Good News. You may feel powerless. Indeed, on your own you are powerless. But God gives us all the power we need to do wonderful things — by God’s amazing grace.