I’m just so sick of the struggle. I feel like I’ve been fighting this battle my whole life and I’ll never get over it.
Those are the words of a dear woman in one of my Bible studies last week. She had been renewing her mind for about six months, had already experienced quite a bit of victory, and then slipped back into defeat for a few days.
She was frustrated and discouraged.
Can you relate to her? I remember feeling that way for more than twenty years, on and off, including the early days of renewing my mind about eating.
If this is how you’re feeling today, I want to encourage you. Here are a few questions that help me when I'm going through a tough battle. I'm hoping they'll help you, too:
1) Are you expecting it to be easy?
It’s natural to get caught up in unrealistic expectations for quick and easy success, but those expectations can get you down. Think of it this way: if you’ve been overeating for thirty years, you’ve got thirty years of lies to dig through on your way to recovery.
It’s going to take awhile to dig through all those lies.
If you’re tempted to get discouraged, think of a stock market chart. Even the best stocks out there never go up in a smooth, continuous line. It’s always up, then down, then up again. That’s how your battle with eating will be.
2) How long have you been using spiritual weapons to fight the battle?
The woman in my class had been fighting the battle for thirty years but she’d only been using spiritual weapons for six months. So in a sense, she’d really only been fighting the battle for six months. Remember 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? If it’s a spiritual battle, you need spiritual weapons to fight it. Thirty years of dieting isn’t the same as thirty years of fighting lies with truth.
3) How diligent have you been with your weapons?
Sometimes we think we’re working on a problem when we’re really just obsessing over a problem. Here’s a question I ask myself sometimes just to keep myself honest:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much effort are you putting into renewing your mind?
I can tell you from experience that I see almost no change when my number is less than a 5, very little change when it’s less than an 8, and lots of change when it’s a 9 or a 10. So what do I do if I really want to change? I make it a 9 or 10.
4) How often are you using your weapons?
The more I work on issues in my own life, the more I realize: if I want to change, I need to renew my mind every time the issue comes up. Even if the issue comes up so often I’m sick to death of renewing my mind about it.
It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Not only because I’m breaking free from my obsessions, but also because I’m growing closer to the One who loves me and longs to show me the way to victory.
5) What are your motives?
I’m hesitant to include this last question because I think if we have the wrong motives, God shows us when we renew our minds. But it might be worth thinking about.
Here’s why: If we’re only going to God so He can make us skinny, He might not be inclined to change us. Why? Because if we feel like we have to have skinny, there's a good chance we're making an idol of skinny. And God doesn't want us to have any idols.
He knows that only in Him will we find lasting peace and joy. So He may decide to help us find peace and joy by not giving us skinny until we can handle it.
I hope these questions will encourage you to persevere in the battle even if you’re exhausted. I’m going through a battle of my own right now, not with food, but with some other things God wants me to give up.
Why don’t we press on together?