When the Battle Rages

On May 22nd, I decided to start eating better. Forever this time. I didn’t start a diet, I just changed how I looked at food. I’ve started “diets” so many times, but temporary changes only lead to temporary results. Slowly but surely, I’ve seen results from changing my lifestyle.

This time I just started eating for real hunger and stopped eating out much at all. I pay attention to why I’m eating to make sure it’s not because of boredom or stress. I want these to be permanent changes in my life. I don’t count calories and I don’t go strict. I just eat normally and pay close attention to my body’s natural signals of hunger and fullness. My “normal” is usually pretty healthy. My issue has always been eating too large of portions or eating out or buying a bunch of sweets on a whim.

I’ve still messed up a few times this go around, because I’m not perfect. I have still struggled and made some really bad food choices. But I’m not giving up. Last week was one bad food choice after another. A few days ago, the effects of all that multiplied, and I ended up breaking down worse than I ever have before…over ice cream.

I tried to convince my husband that I needed the ice cream and that it would be that last “bad” thing I ate before we got back on track. I actually begged. For awhile. I tried to sway him to have some with me, even knowing that he is also trying to do better with his eating. But he stood strong and kept telling me no, gently reminding me that if I gave in, it wouldn’t be the last time. Just the night before I cried when we went to bed because I physically felt sick from eating bad and also realized how much weight I had gained back during the week because of eating out too much. I was feeling so much regret and shame.

I was reminded of how I felt that night before and that I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. My wonderful husband stood strong yet was gentle with me while I begged to get my way. And I am so thankful that he did. He truly loved me by reminding me that I don’t want to give in to those cravings. In that moment, there was a battle raging inside me. It wasn’t just the physical craving for food. It was a spiritual battle going on inside my heart. I had a moment where I resented him for telling me no and I grabbed my keys and headed toward the door. I told myself that I’m a grown woman and I could go get some ice cream if I wanted to. But I knew that he would be disappointed in me if I walked out the door.

Because my relationship with my husband is so important to me, I couldn’t actually leave. I stood by the door for a long time, just crying as the battle raged on inside me. Then I went to the bedroom and laid on the bed by myself. I pulled up an app I had never used that gives Scripture for such a time as that. I also messaged my best friend looking for comforting words. I chose to fight it and not give in.

My husband came in the bedroom soon after while I was messaging my friend and bawling my eyes out. He was a strong and yet gentle rock for me. He laid beside me and held my hand. He stayed quiet while I cried and just listened when I told him how much of a struggle it was for me. I thanked him for telling me not to go get the ice cream. I knew he was right, but it felt like I was fighting a toddler inside myself. I’m sure I was acting like one too with my begging. And sometimes it seems easier just to give the toddler what they want to stop the tantrum. But thankfully, I didn’t.

My best friend I was messaging was encouraging me and sending me Scripture during this. I didn’t know it when I first messaged her, but she was having a bad night also, yet she still spoke into my life. She still took the time to encourage me. I’m so thankful God placed my husband and my best friend in my life. I have needed their support on many occasions, especially this one. I didn’t understand why I felt so hopeless and defiant in that moment. I still don’t understand how I could get so upset over something so trivial like ice cream.

Some people may think, “It’s just a little ice cream. What’s the harm? What’s the big deal?” The problem itself is not the ice cream. But food is my weakness. And I have certain triggers. I realized it’s a source of temptation that leads me away from God’s best for me. It was a temptation to be prideful, thinking I deserved it. It was a temptation to live in shame and excuse “just one more time” since I had made bad food choices that week. It was a temptation to turn to food instead of to God with my feelings. (We’ve talked about that before in our study of Made to Crave.) {affiliate link}

It’s spiritual warfare when these temptations happen.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12 NASB

No matter the object of our temptation, when the battle rages inside us, we must turn to God and find strength in Him to win the war. And we need to have someone who supports us also, so when we are struggling, we can turn to them for encouragement. (If you don’t have support, I have a private group for ladies so we can share and encourage one another. You can request to join here.) When we don’t have that support, we are discouraged and beaten down more easily when the battles come. We need friendship and fellowship with other Christian ladies who can lift us up when we fall and hold us up when we are weak.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:23-25 NASB

We all go through battles like I had a few days ago. But instead of making an excuse for it and continuing in the habit of overeating, I choose move on. Instead of letting the temptation defeat me in that moment, I conquered it and began anew with the help of Jesus and my supporters. Moving forward is all we can do in life. We can’t go back to the past, even to the past hour, and change anything we’ve done. The best thing we can do after a mess up in life is to ask God for forgiveness, turn away from our sin, and keep moving forward. We won’t be perfect but we can give it our best.

We also have to forgive ourselves and not wallow in the shame of past failures. And the most important thing is to seek God first in the process and ask for His help. I thought in the past that it was up to me alone. I thought I just needed to be more disciplined. That’s true, but seeking God first and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in my life produces the fruits of the Spirit. And guess what? Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

It never starts with me. It always starts with Jesus.

He is the source of our strength so we can win the battle. So my prayer for you is that when the battle rages on in your life, that you turn to Jesus. Let Him help you and guide you. Let others who have Jesus in their lives be support for you and encourage you to seek Him first. Don’t give up. Don’t let the temptation win in your life. You can win the battle! And we will win the war!

What battle do you face in your life? You can share here in the comments or in the private group.

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