A man named Eric posted this on my Facebook page, and it was heartbreaking to read.
“I have struggled with weight problems for years and it's catching up with me. On December 5th I spent time in the E.R. due to dangerously high blood pressure. They're still working on getting the right combo of drugs to get it under control. I am morbidly obese and it is a matter of life and death.”
Some of you reading this can relate to Eric’s situation – the fear of imminent heart failure; the knowledge that you are killing yourself with your diet; the hope that doctors can help you but the guilt that you have brought this on yourself. . . .
But what can you do? You’ve tried every diet you know, you’ve confessed the sin of gluttony or unhealthy eating to the Lord a thousand times over, and still, you’re overweight – grossly overweight – and now it’s threatening your health.
Eric then said this: “I left homosexuality behind 6 years ago. That was SO much easier than getting my weight under control. I do understand being isolated from life due to weight. It's more than just what people think. It is a physical bondage that fatigues and makes just fitting in a chair difficult. Other than learning about God's word and knowing Jesus there is nothing I want more than to be healthy.”
These are strong words: It was SO much easier to leave homosexuality than to get his weight under control. That is saying a lot.
I know many people who have struggled with same-sex attraction, some experiencing instantaneous, miraculous transformation, others working for years to see those attractions gradually diminish, and still others fighting for decades to see change without any success.
Yet Eric says that leaving homosexuality, obviously by God’s grace, was so much easier than changing his relationship to food.
When God set me from heavy drug use in 1971 at the age of 16 (including shooting heroin), I couldn’t relate to those who would say, “I’m a recovering drug addict.”
For me, that was a thing of the past, someone who I used to be, and it had no bearing on my life after that. To this day, I do not think of myself as a recovering drug addict.
But when it comes to food, I live as if I’m a recovering food addict. In fact, one of the first chapters in my new book Breaking the Stronghold of Food (written together with my wife Nancy), is entitled, “Confessions of a Recovering Food Addict.” And even though I’ve been totally free from food addictions since late August, 2014, when my lifestyle transformation began, I live as if one wrong bite could set me back. Why play with fire?
After all, illegal drugs do not play a regular role in our lives – in other words, when I quit getting high in 1971, I cut off contact with that old part of my life – but when it comes to food, we need it to live, and we are constantly surrounded by unhealthy food choices.
As someone on the road constantly – traveling 30 hours straight on overseas flights, at endless airports and hotels, being taken out to restaurants all the time – I know how easy it would be to fall back into my old lifestyle. That’s why I don’t make any exceptions to my healthy eating. I recognize that the Lord has given me grace, and I know that one misstep could open the door to another and then another. I do not take my freedom for granted!
Getting back to our friend Eric, for whom I ask you to pray, he wrote this at the end of his post, explaining that there was one more reason he was ordering our new book, and for him, it was another reason to get healthy: “the morbidly obese make poor witnesses for Christ.”
Nancy and I really do understand how difficult the battles are (we’re totally candid in the book, and you’ll laugh – or sigh – at some of our stories), and that’s why there’s not an ounce of condemnation in anything we write.
We don’t want to beat you up, we want to help you out, and we’re convinced that if the Lord could help us, with all our bad eating habits and food addictions, He can help anyone. (For the record, according to recognized weight standards, which are probably a little too generous, we were both obese in the past.)
So, if you find yourself struggling with unhealthy eating habits or food addictions, even if you’re not overweight, there is a solid, lasting way out. And if you’re obese or morbidly obese, all the more are these promises for you. Even when it comes to food, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). There is a better way!