Growing up as a Catholic girl, I always felt a sense of judgement and condemnation. We grew up in a strict home where the belt was often used to enforce discipline, morality and justice. At church, we were taught about God’s wrath and his judgement. We had a confession box where we told our sins but I remember even as a youth thinking that I could not possibly tell the entire truth, after all I know what happens when you tell the truth. My younger sister was kicked out of church because she got pregnant and even as an adult when I got pregnant out of wedlock to my fiancé, I was told to make a public apology to my congregation for sinning. Needless to say I did not but I remember the guilt, shame and judgement I felt. I had failed God again…
It’s no wonder I took the same fears, guilt, shame and condemnation with me into most areas of my life…including my health. During my 20’s and 30’s I can’t ever remember feeling great about my body (even though I have been blessed with a great shape). I can’t ever remember not feeling guilty when I ate and I was always counting calories and doing the next crazy diet to keep my weight down (the Master cleanse was the worst) I felt like the biggest failure and fraud because I was supposed to be the one teaching others about healthy living but the voices in my head that kept telling me how bad I was would never shut up.
A series of encounters with God began to change my thinking about how I saw myself and how God saw me. The process of telling myself the truth started. Here are some of the truths I had to start telling myself:
Lie #1- God only helps those who help themselves
I bet you thought that was in the bible… I sure did. So I charted my life on the course of helping myself so God could help me. I tried and I tried and I tried and I failed and I failed and I failed. I could not stop myself from bingeing or the laundry list of other sins that I was committing on a regular basis. I came to believe that weak people like me were of no use to God.
I’m slowly coming to learn that that in the Kingdom of God the illogical becomes logic. The weakest are the strongest and the last are first. The truth is, God helps those to who come to Him for help, submitting to His will and way which may involve taking action or conversely, letting go of control.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.~ 2 Cor 12:9
Lie #2- God is mad at me because of my ‘sins’
I believed that every time I binged or had long bouts of laziness that I was letting God down and I was a disappointment to Him. I was not being a good representative to Him and I was not worthy of being called a child of God. My church reinforced the notion by only teaching us about God’s wrath (or at least that’s all my 7 year old mind heard)
Truth is, God is not counting my calories or tracking my daily steps. He loves me fat, thin, muscular, apple or pear shaped. My physical appearance only matters to God in the context of how I feel about myself.
When I’m broken physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, God cares but by no means is he mad at me.
God is not mad at you or I, He loves us and will never stop loving us, Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –
Lie #3- If I loved God enough then I would stop sinning.
Similar to lie #1, I also believed that I if only I were more holy then I wouldn’t struggle as much with eating, finances, relationships (pretty much everything) I believed that my life would be easier so on top of trying to fix my personal life I also tried to fix my spiritual life. I read through the entire bible; I went to church every Sunday; I said ‘praise the Lord’ and ‘if its God’s will’ after every sentence and I did church. Yet I still could not stop myself from eating 3-4 chocolate bars in a row (while counselling clients about healthy eating. )
Then I remember hearing Joyce Meyers quote someone by saying: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.” I started to learn that:
1. God does not serve me, I serve Him
2. I can’t earn God’s favour no matter how hard I try
3. God’s love is unconditional
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (NIV).
If you’re anything like me, believing that your overeating eating or other proclivities are making God angry then it’s time to accept that: God is not mad at you no matter how many times you mess up. In fact, he is waiting patiently for us to come to Him. He says in Matthew 11:23, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take Him at his word today and watch Him work in your life. Will you join me?
Jeremiah 31:3 says: “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness”