Yesterday morning I woke up with this song on my heart. I knelt down beside my bed and began to sing it to my Father. Per usual, I was late but that song was on my heart and I wanted to give thanks to my God for all that He had done. I did my morning stretches, pulled out my clothes, and then stepped on the scale. I was shocked to see that not only had I not lost any weight, but I had actually gained 2 pounds. I was devastated. I wanted to shed real tears but I did not have time to dwell in it. Instead I vowed to starve myself.
I had ended 2018 twenty pounds lighter than the number in front of me and I know that stress plus carbs contributed to the new number on the scale. My heart recalled the three days that I had eaten ice cream, the four days that I had eaten flatbread, and then seven days that I had eaten beyond the point of full. And as I recalled it all, I cried in my heart. I shed real (emotional) tears and swore off of food forever. I remembered being obese and I would rather starve than ever go back to that. I hated the weight gain and I refused to come to terms with the gain. So instead of focusing on the gain, I allowed my spirit to be broken and crushed by the numbers on the scale. I felt myself sinking into the Dark Place and I could not bring myself out of it all. I pressed on to church and just accepted my new vow of starvation.
I arrived in the parking lot at the same time as my sistah-friend and turned my attention to her. I could tell that she wasn’t at her best… and she could tell that I was not at mine. My phone rang and I ended up rushing my mother off of the phone with the simple words, “I’m the worship leader; I’ve got to go.” She understood and I hung up. Too late; my spirit was already impacted. I sat with my friend and we tried to pour into each other but we were both empty. How in the world was I supposed to lead worship– I mean, literally usher others into worship– when I was broken inside?
So I prayed.
I prayed as hard as I could.
And I ministered from my broken heart.
I had nothing to offer the congregation… so I offered God my broken heart and my tears. My heart cried more than my eyes, but I could feel God healing me with each fallen tear. I pressed and prayed, prayed and pressed, and God brought me to the moment that I needed.
During my time as a licensed minister, I have spent so much time trying to fit into the footsteps of the other preachers around me. I followed their lead and tried to do things the way they did. I needed to pray like them. I needed to preach like them. I needed to dress like them. I needed to be refined like them. I needed to be like them. They had been preaching and teaching for decades so clearly they knew the right way to do things. Right? But back in April for the Seven Last Sayings of Christ on the Cross, God told me to just be M.E. and ever since then I’ve just let His Spirit lead me. So when it came time for altar prayer, I had to let God be God.
I don’t know what if anything others felt, but I felt freedom. I felt God sweeping away layers of pain and disappointment and giving me the freedom that He had always promised me.
Even now as I sit here typing, I recall being at my friend’s kitchen island. This song was playing and all I could think was, “Yes, God is good.” My life will never be perfect. I will never have all of the things that I want or think I need… but I will always have what I need because my God supplies all of my needs according to His riches in glory which is in Christ Jesus. I realized today that I will forever struggle with food as long as I place it above my God. As long as I continue to think that I deserve what I have or think that I need more than what God has currently allotted, I will struggle. And moreso, as long as I try to wage the war on obesity and food addiction on my own or in my own strength, I will lose. God has given me the victory to overcome all of my strongholds… as long as I do it in His strength. So that’s what I am doing today; I am standing in His strength. Yesterday I knelt and surrendered to His sovereignty and authority but today I stand in His strength. I have submitted to Him, stepped outside of my comfort zone, and now I stand expectant of the fulfillment of His word.
I know most people can’t “get with God” because it seems like there are so many rules to follow, so many restrictive clauses to abide by. I’ll even admit that I was one of those people who thought the same thing. But today I see things for the way they are and how God intended for them to be:
I have freedom in God’s strength.
I have FREEDOM STRENGTH.