How Your Looks Can be an Idol

by | Jun 6, 2014 | Woman

Rein in those weight obsessions. Don’t let eating consume your thoughts and control your life.

I have experienced both ends of the spectrum: I’ve been overly thin, and I’ve been overweight, so I can keenly identify with the frustration and pain of those who suffer from eating disorders.

During a six-year period in my life, weight dominated my thoughts. My struggle began years before I became a Christian, yet it continued after I’d become one.

I heard the gospel for the first time during a summer break when I was a college student. Becoming a Christian filled a void in me that I had tried to satisfy with so many other things.

I realized that God loved me just the way I was. I stopped my excessive exercising, dieting and drinking, and I began to look healthy again.

However, I had a new problem. Around Christian tables no one talked about calories or the vices of food. Food was a celebration. I celebrated with them, and before long I had put back on most of the weight I had previously lost.

During this time, I met John, who would become my husband. We got engaged at the end of the next school year, and I returned to my home in Indiana to prepare for the wedding.

I was a little overweight then, but by August I was totally out of shape, with only two months before my wedding.

My home was filled with turmoil, and I responded to it by eating. I binged or starved myself, and I became more and more discouraged, so I binged even more. Every diet failed, and I felt fat and ugly.

Day of Reckoning
With four weeks left until my wedding, I needed to rent a slip for my size nine wedding gown. I brought my dress to the store with me so we could determine the appropriate style and length.

My wedding gown buttoned almost entirely down the back. I stepped into it and pushed the sides together so the saleswoman could button it.

“Honey, something is wrong,” she said as she shook her head.

“What do you mean?” I questioned.

“This must not be your gown. There is no way you fit into this dress! The buttons are this far apart!” She showed me the distance of three or four inches with her with her finger and thumb.

I was certain she was mistaken, “Here, it may be a little tight, but I’ll push it in.” I sucked my stomach in and pinched my waist with my hands.

Sweetheart, there has been a terrible mistake; this cannot be your gown. I still can’t close it; the buttons will tear off if I try.”

“Just get me the slip, and I’ll try it on without buttoning the dress,” I huffed.

“OK.” She walked out, shaking her head doubtfully.

I whirled around to see the back of my gown. To my horror, she was right. It was impossible even to make the sides meet—let alone button the buttons.

I placed my order for the slip, gathered my gown and raced home. My parents had spent a lot of money on this gown. Now I wondered if I’d ever wear it.

The Truth
When I arrived home, I ran straight upstairs to my room. After hanging my dress in the closet, I grabbed my Bible, threw myself down on the hardwood floor and wept.

“God, how could You allow this to happen? I don’t eat all day, and still I can’t lose a pound. If I eat only an apple and a yogurt, I gain a pound. I binge and gain two pounds overnight! I’m tired of trying and failing. Why can’t I eat like a normal person?”

When the crying was done, a quiet settled over me. Then I heard a still, small voice: “Lisa, your weight is an idol to you.”

An idol! All I could envision was the picture of a golden calf I had seen in a children’s Bible. I remained quiet and listened.

“When you are lonely, you eat. When you are angry, you eat. When you are bored, you eat. When you are depressed, you eat. When you are happy, you eat.”

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