Once when I was a little girl and was left alone at the kitchen table after being told, "Finish your dinner!" an idea came. I "transferred" my fish chowder into the pockets of my shorts and escaped to the garden where my dinner became fertilizer for my mom's geraniums. A short-term remedy for solving the problem of somehow finishing a meal I couldn't bear to eat.
You might expect that I eventually outgrew the problem. But I didn't, not for a long time. Not until I'd spent many adult years dining without most fruits and vegetables, indulging in cravings for snacks and desserts, and eventually becoming uncomfortably overweight and unhappy.
Not unlike the unpleasant feeling of being imprisoned at the dinner table to eat unwanted yet perfectly healthy foods is the discouraging feeling of being out of control in a pattern of indulgence. Living in a body that just doesn't fit well, searching endlessly for clothes that fit correctly, looking in the mirror to see a reflection that really isn't you, evoke a cry for freedom.
What does work? Some diets and programs offer hope and success. But people are also finding results in a spiritually oriented source that offers a variety of insightful and healthful remedies.
"The Bible contains the recipe for all healing," wrote Mary Baker Eddy in her premier work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pg. 406). And there's wisdom in the book of Proverbs that's very useful as a starting point in this effort. One passage refers to a man given to appetite: "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (23:7).
An honest examination of the thoughts of the heart shows us what we cherish most. If we see our affections weighing in more heavily on the side of snacks, desserts, or overindulgence with the "right" foods, the correlation to the size and weight of our bodies is obvious. We've become heavy, and the proverb is demonstrated.
But take heart. If thinking makes it so, thinking also makes it not so. Here's how I found freedom. I faced the fact that my inappropriate cravings for food were connected to the way I was feeling - stressed, tired, bored, insecure, dissatisfied, unloved - even overjoyed or festive.
But problems and sentiments are not material objects and can be nourished only through a nonmaterial source - a spiritual source. This source is Spirit, the only Spirit, God, in whom all spirituality originates and from whom it comes to bless and feed us.
This leads into the next biblical recipe that was essential to my freedom. It's a call to praise the Lord for His goodness because "he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness" (Ps. 107:9). I accepted this call wholeheartedly.
A craving would come, and I would pray, with all my heart, to feel the caring, the nurturing, the attention that come only from God. I would mentally let go of my body and turn myself over to Him. I would humbly acknowledge that, in my need for support, love, compassion, companionship, understanding, satisfaction, action, praise - any goodness needed - He was right with me, a tangible presence, my best friend, steadfastly nourishing me through the present difficult moment.
One more "delicious" recipe, this one from Deuteronomy: "Thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and ... thou mayest cleave unto him; for he is thy life..." (30:20). How I clung to Him whose living presence is my life, sustaining me in every way imaginable. An even deeper understanding of my life as spiritual came to me as I was reminded that the Bible says of God, who is our life, "God is Spirit" (John 4:24, Moffatt). I knew, beyond doubt, that denying cravings for snacks, desserts, or overindulgence could not possibly harm any part of my being.
I think differently now, and, not surprisingly, all the needed adjustments are taking place in my appetite. My body fits me again, I feel satisfied, full, and good. As an added bonus, I'm enjoying wholesome foods that for so long I rejected.
These spiritual recipes are ours for the taking.
I will not leave you comfortless:
I will come to you.