It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve had cake for my birthday, which I celebrated recently. Strawberries with nuts are my favorite treats today. That was definitely not my choice in years past until I made some monumental decisions in about 2009.
Not eating sugar and flour went deeper than just not eating cake on my birthday. I would have eaten desserts made with sugar and flour every day of my life if possible, and many days I did. For years I counted on desserts like I would a best friend. I was like a woman who told me, “Food is my friend.” To her, the kinds of foods she loved to eat were always there and helped her fill a void.
I understand because the foods I loved felt like a companion I could count on. I thought this inanimate friend would always understand me and ease my stress, anxiety, overwhelm, frustration, anger, worry, sadness, pain or any emotion I didn’t want to feel. The foods I loved were always available because I was the one that bought the groceries and made sure what I wanted was there at my beck and call.
I Am in Control
I also had the false idea that I controlled what I ate because I bought the foods I loved and the ingredients my Grandma had shown me went into the foods I loved. I bought them, fixed them, baked them and ate them. Sure, my family helped with the eating, but without a doubt I was the one who ate the most. That was evidenced by the amount of weight I had on my body. At one time that was over 430 pounds.
I am an all-or-nothing person. That led me to fill my days to overflowing with meetings, volunteer work, family and actual work to make money. This level of activity stressed me to the point that I felt I deserved all the treats I indulged in. They were consistent in that when I ate them, they calmed me and gave me what I wanted which was hundreds of small bits of reprieve in the midst of a stressful day.
Most days I had too much to do. I planned it that way because having nothing to do meant I had time to think and I didn’t want to think about what I was doing to my body. That might mean I’d have to say good-bye to foods made with sugar, like all the desserts I loved and felt I couldn’t live without. After all, they were the things keeping me somewhat sane, weren’t they?
Sugar Is Evil in Disguise
When I finally realized I was addicted to sugar, it helped me understand that sugar was not helping me. It was actually evil in disguise. It didn’t care about me. It was a real tool of the devil, just like drugs or alcohol. It gave me a feeling of peace for a moment, and then when the high wore off I had to have more to get the same feeling. I was like an alcoholic, only with sugar.
Finally, I began to see that sugar was not my friend. It was only acting like my friend to drag me into bondage in another of Satan’s schemes. When the truth that I was treating sugar like a friend hit me, I was raving mad at the devil and at sugar because both were not my friends. They were my enemies.
Jesus Is My Friend
So you may wonder if sugar or other foods aren’t my friends then who is? Of course we all have friends, but they aren’t like our favorite go-to food that is always available to munch on. Then who is meant to be our friend? Proverbs 18:24 tells us there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. That friend is Jesus.
He is the member of the Godhead, who is closest to us because He knows what it is like to be human. Paul tells us that Jesus became a human willingly. He did it out of love for us so that He could live a sinless life and become the supreme sacrifice for our failures so that we would have a clear path to salvation. That’s love that denotes a friend that is closer than any human being alive today. That’s intimacy that goes beyond even the intimacy of a spouse.
Jesus chose to become a human and die on a cross for us. There is no greater kind of friend than this. He is the friend who is always there, and sticks closer than any person we have ever known, loved and trusted. He is the epitome of what a friend is.
Am I Jesus’ Friend?
The question then becomes “Am I Jesus’ friend?” How can I show Jesus that I am His friend? By doing what He tells me to do. When I ask Jesus what to do about anything here on earth and He shows me, if I do that, I am His friend.
Sometimes though, we hear what Jesus wants us to do and we agree to it, but then we get busy doing what we want and we don’t realize that our own life could be on the line if we don’t listen and follow through. God has our good in mind, not our disaster as Jeremiah 29:11 tells us. This how Max Lucado explains how God feels about us. “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Face it, friend. He is crazy about you!”
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight-loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don’t miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN. Also don’t miss episode 144 of Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast, Food is My Friend. Teresashieldsparker.com/podcast/.