For most of my life, food was my crutch. I self-medicated with food to the point that I became addicted.
When anxiety filled my mind and body with tension and fear, my addiction focused on the food and how good it would taste and how it would make me feel. I needed to calm down and I knew the food would help with that.
When depression stole all my energy and I didn’t care about anything, my addiction told me that other people were judging me and calling me lazy. Food didn’t judge me. Food accepted me as I was and didn’t try to force me to “get over it.”
It wasn’t until I started focusing on God’s Word that I was able to make changes in the way I dealt with food. And when I changed what I ate, I noticed that I was better able to function mentally and emotionally.
Last week, I had to face some of my insecurities and it triggered my anxiety. I used all my tools of prayer, God’s Word, sharing, and journaling and I was able to get through it and back to a foundation of peace.
But I also thought about food – a lot. I was greatly tempted to eat to feel better, even though I knew it would only make things worse.
I had to put my money where my mouth was and trust God’s Word to keep me from self-medicating with food again.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
God’s Word goes to the root of the problem. I wanted to eat to feel better, to calm down. But the reason I needed calm down was because I was overwhelmed by insecurities, guilt, and shame.
When I applied His Word to the fear in my heart, I was dealing with the cause, not the symptoms. I can let go of my insecurities, because He gave me His righteousness.
II Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I needed help to deal with the guilt I was feeling over past choices. His Word tells me I can pray to Him for that help and He will answer me.
Psalm 116:1-2 (TLB)
I love the Lord because he hears my prayers and answers them. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I breathe!
As I started listening to God’s voice, I heard that He wasn’t condemning me, but He was working in me to learn from past mistakes.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
There’s a whole category of food known as, “Comfort Food.” And I often ate to feel comforted. I wanted to be selfish for a while and do something that felt good, which was eating certain foods.
II Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
I used to reach for food when I was anxious or depressed, because it worked and I didn’t know I had an option. Now that I know that God’s Word will fill my heart with the peace and comfort it needs, I’m able to say no to eating the wrong things and for the wrong reasons.
Some people self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. God’s Word is a powerful tool in recovering from those addictions as well.
What do you use to self-medicate when dealing with troubles? Can you see how God’s Word could be a much healthier option, and achieve better results?
Photo credit: Maria M Johnson