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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Craving God, Not Food

Craving God, Not Food

Asheritah Ciuciu offers women insight on how they can achieve and maintain a healthy relationship with food in a discussion based on her book Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction. She covers topics like the lies women believe about food, choosing truth over those lies, and finding ultimate fulfillment in God.

Opening:

Excerpt:

Asheritah Ciuciu: And I had been meditating on a chapter in Isaiah. And I went to the pantry. I opened up the doors because I was gonna have a snack, and the verse came to mind – “Why do you seek fullness in something that does not satisfy?”

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Asheritah Ciuciu. And you’re gonna hear more from her today on Focus on the Family about finding your satisfaction in Jesus. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: You know, God desires each and every one of us to know and to enjoy Him. I think that’s one of the greatest things of life – is to know the Lord and to enjoy your relationship with Him. That’s how we bring Him glory. We’re made in His image. And I think it all works in a very good way when we recognize that. Unfortunately, we are easily distracted from this purpose. And for many people, that comes with being distracted or consumed by food. It’s a touchy subject, but we’re gonna move in that direction today.

Anything that we hold up as more important than pleasing God is an idol. And I know some of us think of an idol, like a little wooden statue from the Roman period, maybe something you carry around. But idols in modern day are money and sex and other things like that that we hold up – maybe materialism. These are idols in our lives today – anything that takes the place – the first place that God should take. And that’s true of our eating habits, as well, whether it’s chronic overeating, an eating disorder, maybe an obsession with diet and exercise in the other direction. Those can all become idols in your life and take you away from God. And here at Focus, we want to discuss and hopefully, open eyes to what these things can do destructively in your life.

John: And we have a lot of helps and resources for you for your spiritual growth, your physical well-being. Just stop by our website – focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And Asheritah is an author and speaker and a blogger. She grew up as a missionary kid in Romania. And she and her husband, Flaviu, live and raise their children in Ohio. And Asheritah’s mission is to help women find satisfaction in Jesus. And she shares a lot of practical advice and personal stories, so I’m really looking forward to the conversation. A lot of this is captured in her book, Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction, which again, we have at our website.

Body:

Jim: Asheritah, welcome, for the first time, to Focus on the Family.

Asheritah: Thank you so much for having me here. It’s my pleasure.

Jim: This is a really interesting topic. It’s a fairly narrow topic. We don’t have a lot of guests that talk specifically the way you have addressed the issue in your book. And that’s what caught our interest and the desire for us to share it with hopefully millions of people listening right now.

Asheritah: Yeah, that’s my prayer. I mean, it…

Jim: What – what’s your food story? Tell me about it.

Asheritah: Well, I didn’t want to write about food.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Who does…

Asheritah: Right. I mean, who wants to come out…

Jim: …Other than a recipe book?

Asheritah: …And say – yeah – like, “I struggle with food.” But that’s the story of millions of women and men. And I think we – we get held back by shame, and we don’t want anyone to know our struggle. For me, the turning point was my first daughter’s first birthday we had a Very Hungry Caterpillar party. And um…

(LAUGHTER)

Asheritah: …Everything – yeah, I mean…

Jim: This is it.

Asheritah: …It was lovely. She won’t remember any of it, of course, but we went all out. And um, I remember tearing down party decorations and bringing stuff inside. And I’d brought the cake in and grabbed just one – one bite of cake. And one bite turned into five. And then I went back and brought more stuff back in. And every time, I’d stopped by the cake, because I needed just a little bit more.

Jim: What flavor was this cake?

Asheritah: It was, um…

Jim: Tell me…

Asheritah: …Marble.

Jim: …Chocolate. Marble – okay, good.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: It had to be a good one.

Asheritah: It was.

(LAUGHTER)

Asheritah: But it was mostly the sugar rush…

Jim: Yeah.

Asheritah: …And the sugar high. And before I knew it, I had demolished half of this caterpillar-shaped cake.

Jim: Now, was the first time that, you know, that got your attention? That, “Man, I’m – I’m going to town on this cake.” I mean…

Asheritah: Yeah, I mean, I’d over-eaten before. And you know, I left the table with that stuffed feeling of “Ugh, I shouldn’t have eaten that much.”

Jim: Yeah.

Asheritah: But – but that was almost an out-of-body experience where – where I was looking at myself and saying, “Why am I still eating? I’m not hungry anymore. I don’t want this anymore. It doesn’t even taste good anymore, but I almost can’t stop myself.”

Jim: Well, that – that really is the question – why?

Asheritah: Yeah.

Jim: What drives a person to move in that direction? I mean, I could see that – you know those little pints of Haagen-Dazs?

John: Oh, yeah.

Jim: On occasion, I mean, you could take a couple of bites. And then before long, oh, the pint’s gone.

Asheritah: Yeah.

Jim: What happened to that pint? Now, that’s a small portion, isn’t it?

(LAUGHTER)

John: Depends on who you are.

Jim: Nobody is in agreement.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Nobody is agreeing with me here. But, uh – but that is the issue. And…

Asheritah: Yeah.

Jim: …I guess the question is where’s that satisfaction coming from? Why do we do that, kind of that binge-eating idea? What’s happening to us?

Asheritah: Yeah, I mean, I would say there’s definitely a physical component to it. And – and scientists have recently discovered that, you know, food, sugar, carbs, fats can be just as addicting as drugs.

Jim: Why is it always the good stuff?

Asheritah: I know.

Jim: I mean, not like lettuce…

Asheritah: I’ll get to that though.

Jim: …And tomato.

Asheritah: Food is a good gift. Like, this is…

(LAUGHTER)

Asheritah: This is one of my, like…

Jim: I’m not addicted to lettuce and tomatoes.

(LAUGHTER)

Asheritah: It’s hard to be.

Jim: It’s bread. It’s ice cream.

John: Nobody’s listening thinking, “Yeah, he just mentioned lettuce and tomatoes, I have to have that.”

Jim: Yeah, “Wow, I got to go out.”

Asheritah: “I need to go out and get some.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: That’s it. But it is good. You know, one of the words used in Scripture is gluttony. It’s not a word that we use commonly today.

Asheritah: Right.

Jim: But it is this – it’s what we’re talking about. Gluttony, you know, is the overindulgence of food. And you eat too much, and you see it. You describe it more as a food fixation…

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: …Though. And I – I would say – when I was talking to Jean, my wife, about this, she really liked that…

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: …Concept, because it broadens the issue. It doesn’t talk about shaming…

Asheritah: Right.

Jim: …Somebody.

Asheritah: Right.

Jim: But describe food fixation.

Asheritah: Yeah, it’s – so there is a physical component, but there’s definitely a mental and a spiritual component, as well. And food fixation is this inordinate preoccupation with thoughts and longings for food. So even if you’re not necessarily eating a lot, if you wake up in the morning thinking, like, “What’s for breakfast? I can’t wait to dig into whatever that’s gonna be,” and you’re constantly thinking about what you’re going to eat, or what you just ate, how much you ate, if you go to sleep regretting your food choices of the day, if you look in the mirror, and you’re constantly thinking about food, it means it has mastery over you. And Scripture tells us that a person is a slave to whatever has mastered them.

Jim: Hm. You know, if you’re trying to take a self-assessment, that may still be a little difficult for some people.

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: Um, you know, some people, you may just eat what’s on your plate.

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: I remember talking to my doctor, who said, “You know, in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the government actually promoted that – that you should have your child eat everything on their plate.”

Asheritah: Mmm.

Jim: I had no clue. I was a little boy…

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: …In the ‘60s. But, isn’t that interesting? And he said, “That’s one of the lingering effects of those campaigns…”

Asheritah: Absolutely.

Jim: “…where people are – feel guilty that they don’t eat all their food.” You all remember the statement – you know, “There’s starving children…”

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: “…in Asia, and you need to eat all your macaroni and cheese.” I don’t know how those two thoughts were ever linked. But there’s starving people…

Asheritah: I don’t know how that helps…

Jim: …somewhere…

Asheritah: …But…

Jim: …So you become obese on their…

Asheritah: And they’re…

Jim: …on their behalf.

Asheritah: Right. That’s one of the lies. And maybe we’ll get to that. But they’re – they’re these scripts that are playing in our mind, and that cause us to act a certain way toward food. And I like to think of food fixation as a spectrum. On the one hand, there is this obsessive, maybe emotional eating. On the other end, it might be a very healthy person on the outside, but is obsessing over healthy eating. And that is called orthorexia. I didn’t even realize that’s an eating disorder, as well. And, it’s the same manifestation of food fixation…

Jim: So back to that…

Asheritah: …but in a different way.

Jim: …Self-assessment idea, how does a person know – it’s not necessarily weight that’s gonna tell you that…

Asheritah: Right.

Jim: …Because, you know, I think people that might be a little higher in their weight aren’t necessarily fixating on food. They might just eat their plate…

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: …And they’re not counting calories.

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: So is there a distinction between the two?

Asheritah: Yeah, I – I think it comes – I’m glad you brought up the idea of an assessment, because it is pausing to reflect on your life, on your thoughts, on your heart, asking where do you go after a hard day at work?

Jim: Oh, that’s interesting.

Asheritah: Do you hit your knees and bring those problems to the Lord, or do you go to the fridge?

Jim: Huh.

Asheritah: Where do you go when you have an argument with your spouse, or when your kids are misbehaving, or…

Jim: Stress-eating?

Asheritah: …When – yeah, or sad, happy, stressed – all those emotions.

Jim: Yes.

Asheritah: What about when you feel hopeless about the future? Where do you go at that point?

John: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

John: I appreciate you bringing up the orthorexia thing. We did not know anything about that until several years ago…

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

John: …When one of my daughters was – she was obsessed with a certain healthy eating and a certain way to exercise. And she dropped weight, and we were concerned. And, God intervened and really saved her life. And…

Asheritah: Praise the Lord for that.

John: She’s in a good spot now. But that was a really scary moment. It was like, “Do you have anorexia?” “No, I’m eating all this good stuff, and I’m not bingeing, and I’m not” – “Yeah, but you’re running, like, 10 miles a day and eating lettuce and tomatoes and carrots and mustard.” So that was a fixation for her.

Asheritah: Yeah.

John: So she had to find out, “I don’t have to let that drive my life.” And so I think she’s getting to a place that you’re kind of talking about, which is finding satisfaction in God, not in all I can do about this food stuff. But still, that’s – that’s an important thing to recognize.

Asheritah: Yeah. It can also be a control thing, right?

John: Hm.

Asheritah: …Because, there’s so much in our lives that we don’t control. But I can control what I put in my body, right? I can control the purity of the foods that I eat. And so that’s often the driving force. And it can be fear. So there’s idolatry on one end of food – that food is gonna solve my problem – and then there’s idolatry of the will that I can control things…

Jim: Huh, interesting.

Asheritah: …I can be disciplined. But in either case, we’re not worshipping Jesus; we’re not consumed by a hunger for Him; we’re not finding our soul’s delight and satisfaction in His presence.

Jim: And that – I want to explore that a little more. Let’s move the other side of the equation – kind of the lies that the enemy of our soul tells us. Because you specifically go at that in your book, and I think that’s important to hear, too.

Asheritah: Yeah.

Jim: Because he comes to steal, kill and destroy, right?

Asheritah: Absolutely.

Jim: What are some of those lies? We’ve hit this one – clean your plate.

Asheritah: Yeah. So what I like to do with the lies is you identify the lie, but then Scripture tells us this is a spiritual battle. And so we take up the sword of the spirit and the belt of truth. And so I like to turn to Scripture and say, “Okay, what’s the truth about this?” If the lie is I have to clean my plate, the truth is I can steward resources wisely, and it doesn’t have to be me eating everything.

Jim: How does that turn into a practical application? How – just being satisfied…

Asheritah: Yeah.

Jim: …Basically, right?

Asheritah: Yeah, so…

Jim: Don’t overeat.

Asheritah: With a clean plate, it could be I put less on my plate and eat what I have, if it’s that much. And then the rest of it, maybe if I save $50 on my grocery bill, because I’m cooking less, and I’m eating less, then that $50 can go to feed the hungry children in Africa…

Jim: Right.

Asheritah: …whereas, what’s left on my plate doesn’t make a difference.

Jim: Yeah, amazing.

Asheritah: Another lie is, I deserve this, right? I’ve had…

Jim: Is that a lie?

Asheritah: …A rough day.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: No, I’m kidding.

John: That’s where…

Jim: It’s true.

John: …The Haagen-Dazs comes in, right?

Asheritah: The kids…

Jim: I deserve this.

Asheritah: …Have been acting up.

John: Yeah.

Jim: That’s right.

Asheritah: I have kept my cool all day long, but…

Jim: It’s my time to get a treat.

Asheritah: Yes. Yeah, food is not the enemy. But uh, food is a good gift from a good Father given to turn our hearts to Him in worship. Our Father gives good gifts to His children. And sometimes, that ice cream is a gift. Sometimes…

John: It’s a gift from God, yes.

Asheritah: But typically, it’s when we share it with someone else.

John: Hm.

Asheritah: In Scripture, we seek fellowship over food. And food can bring people together. But when I am locking myself in the pantry because I want my treats…

Jim: Yeah.

Asheritah: …It’s possible that I’m medicating something, that I’m trying to cover something up. And the question is after I eat, “Will this treat really help me feel better, or will it leave me feeling guilty?”

Jim: Yeah. Is there any room here for, it just tastes good?

(LAUGHTER)

Asheritah: Absolutely.

Jim: Yeah, I just like the way it tastes.

Asheritah: Yeah, and there is that. But then do I need to have two candy bars, or can I have just one bite?

Jim: Yeah.

Asheritah: You know, there’s scientific research that our taste buds go numb, after a few bites. So there’s the three-bite rule. I can have three bites of this delicious food and enjoy every bite of it and have it be an act of worship. So I end and say, “Jesus, thank you for this.”

John: This is “Focus on the Family.” We’re talking to Asheritah Ciuciu. And, her book is called, Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction. We’ve got this and other resources, including a CD or free download of our conversation at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. I can hear some woman, though, saying, “Come on now. That’s a little bit controlling. I mean, that’s a little bit legalistic – three bites, really? That’s all I can have?”

Jim: I think men can participate in that…

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: …Not just women.

 Asheritah: I – I will not put this on anyone. This is between you and the Lord. And so I encourage women – take your life story with food and bring it to Jesus and – and ask the Holy Spirit to shine His light and His truth in your life. And to show you, is there an era of your life where you have become a slave to food? Because you’re right; the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but that’s not where the verse ends. Jesus says, “I have come that you might have life and have it to the full.” So if you’re living that full life, and food is a part of that, then, Sister, Brother, I – I bless you in the name of the Lord. This is a good gift from the Father. But the enemy doesn’t care what it is. He will use anything to keep us from finding our satisfaction in Jesus.

John: Yeah, that’s good. I appreciate that.

Jim: So, with the cake – I mean, I’m going back now, because…

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: …we’ve moved along…

John: Oops.

Jim: …But I can’t get off of that cake.

John: We’re past the lettuce and tomato.

John: We’re onto the cake.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: That cake – you consumed it. And what was it – what were your next thoughts after that – the feeling of guilt, I’m sure, like, “Oh, my goodness, I just ate…”

Asheritah: Yeah.

Jim: “…half of my kid’s birthday cake”?

Asheritah: Well, it was after the party.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Yeah. Well, right, right.

Asheritah: So…

Jim: So, you didn’t take cake out of the…

John: Yeah, there weren’t…

Jim: …mouth of…

John: …Crying children…

Asheritah: No.

Jim: …Babes.

John: …Because of…

Asheritah: No.

John: …the cake.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: We just want to make sure.

Asheritah: Yeah, so after that, there was guilt, there was despair and disgust. Like, “Who am I, that I’m eating this way?” And after that, there was this resolution of, “I am going to fix this.” And I promptly researched, “Okay, what’s a good diet to go on?” And I went on this super strict, healthy – I’m not gonna name it – but, it worked. It was really good. It helped wean me off of sugar and carbs and all the good stuff. And I was eating very healthy. But about three weeks into that, both my husband and my mom kind of sounded the alarm and said, “You’re – you’re getting a bit excessive here, a bit obsessed with healthy eating.”

John: Hm.

Asheritah: And um, they could recognize the beginning warning signs of…

Jim: Huh.

Asheritah: …Orthorexia.

Jim: That quickly?

Asheritah: Yeah, I tend to be all or nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Well, it must be, because, you know, you’re – I would have assumed, “Oh, look, she’s moving in a great direction.”

John: Yeah.

Asheritah: Yeah.

Jim: You know, that’s a good thing. And then there’d be that encouragement that would reinforce that obsession.

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: And that – you’re saying that – that’s a danger.

Asheritah: It is dangerous.

Jim: It pushes you from one side of the pendulum all the way to the other side of the pendulum.

Asheritah: Right.

Jim: So that moderation issue – um, you know, how do we find that moderation? It’s interesting to me scripturally when you look at these things, like food, but physical intimacy – these are all things that God wants to have control over in your life.

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: And they’re – these are the core things that we battle.

Asheritah: Yeah. I always say these are all gifts, right? God created us as physical beings, and He gave us these wonderful gifts, like food, like physical intimacy. And yet, every good gift, the enemy will try to distort and to use it in a way that hijacks the pleasures that God has given us to draw us away from finding satisfaction in Jesus. But it’s not a hopeless battle, because Jesus has won, and He has equipped us with everything we need to win as well. So in my story, I went from that overly fixated healthy eating to finally hitting my knees and saying, “Lord Jesus, you need to take control of this.”

Jim: In fact, you mention, you know, when you have that desire to then invite Jesus into the conversation. Play that out for us. If you have that food desire all of a sudden – you want to go to the pantry and lock yourself in…

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: …As you described – how do you turn…

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: …To the Lord and say, “Okay, Lord, help me. Throw me a life-saving moment here.”

Asheritah: Yeah. Well, it starts with asking God to even help make us aware of those thoughts and of those triggers, those moments that drive us to food. And just the other day, I was driving – I had to drop my daughter off at preschool. And it had been a very stressful morning. And I drove away thinking, “I just need a mocha, and that, like, will fix it for me. I just – I need that.” And that phrase, I need a – what is it? And that for me was – was that wake-up moment of, “No, I don’t need a mocha, I need Jesus, and Jesus is enough.”

Jim: And some people are gonna hear that and go, “Really? I mean, that seems hyper spiritual.” Uh, but you’re saying, no, this is healthy living, this is godly living?

Asheritah: Yeah. Yeah, I will have mochas. I had a mocha this morning. But, is it from a place of, um…

Jim: “I need.”

Asheritah: …Desperation?

Jim: Yeah.

Asheritah: Or is it from a place of fullness? If I am already full in Jesus, I can enjoy the good gifts He’s given me the way He intended for them to be. But if I am craving emotional stability, or happiness, or peace in my home, and I run to the pantry, that will leave me feeling empty every single time.

Jim: And this is kind – this is it. This is the critical nature of it. What is it rooted in?

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: That’s what you’re saying…

Asheritah: Absolutely.

Jim: …Over and over again that, you know, you got to discover what those cravings are rooted in. And, you know, giving yourself a little bit of a treat here and there, that’s okay. But if it’s rooted in desperation – “I need, in order to feel better” – then you’ve got a problem. And that’s true of all of the human appetites, not just – not just food.

Asheritah: Absolutely.

Jim: But, like we said, all of our appetites have that issue. On that practical level, again, let me come back to, how did you begin to hunger after God instead of hungering after, maybe, Doritos?

Asheritah: Yeah.

Jim: I don’t know.

(LAUGHTER)

Asheritah: Yeah. Well, sugar was it for me. And I – I found myself one morning in my sunroom journaling. And – and the Lord had awakened in me a hunger for Him. And I remembered reading one of the Psalms. David says, “Lord, I want you more than life itself.” And I was saying, “Lord, I want you more than life itself.” And then I felt the spirit saying, “Even more than sugar?”

Jim: Wow. Really?

Asheritah: And I was like, “Um, I think so.” And um, just His prompting to – He prompted me to go on a sugar fast. And that was – this was five years ago. This was the first time I had even heard of anything like that. But I had been reading a book on fasting by John Piper and was very convicted that sugar had become a stronghold in my life, and it was something that was controlling me. And it was difficult to reach that point of surrender, to say, “Okay, I – this is a good gift, but I will give it up, because I want something better.”

Jim: You know, when you think about that, you look at the explosion of diabetes in our country, partly, again, I think, because of our eating habits, but also because there’s so much sugar in the diets now – the normal food that we eat. People were attracted to sugar, and so companies throw sugar in everything.

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: It’s a good thing that the Lord has done here to create our bodies in such a way, but it’s an abuse of our body, isn’t it?

Asheritah: Yeah. And what happens on a – on a physiological level – I am not a doctor, but I do love research, and so I’ve looked it up. And food addiction ends up changing our brain chemistry, where it suppresses the production of serotonin, which is the chemical that helps us feel full and satisfied. And it stimulates beta endorphins, which gives us that happy feeling that this is great.

Jim: Yeah.

Asheritah: And so the more sugar we have, the more we want to have.

Jim: Interesting.

Asheritah: And it gets to the point, just like a drug addict, where just a little bit isn’t enough. “I don’t want just one piece of cheesecake. I want two. I want half.” And when you get to that point of being out of control, it comes back to, “Does food control you, or do you control the way you eat?”

Jim: Yeah. No, this has been really good. What are some other ways that we can gain victory over food? I mean, obviously, you’ve talked about the discipline of doing it – turning toward the Lord – “Help me, Lord, in this moment” – maybe taking a time to pray, when you feel that urge to, you know, eat – over-eat food, or go for the sweet food. What are some other ways that we can engage to gain victory over this?

Asheritah: Yeah. One of my favorite ways is to memorize Scripture. It is the…

Jim: Interesting.

Asheritah: …Sword of the Spirit. It is the way we fight the spiritual battle. And there have been times in my life where just memorizing and filling my mind with Scripture is what allows the Spirit to bring it to mind in that moment of crisis. And I had been meditating on a chapter in Isaiah. And I went to the pantry. I opened up the doors, because I was gonna have a snack. And the verse came to mind – “Why do you seek fullness in something that does not satisfy?” And – and that was just a pivotal moment, where I was like, when we hide God’s Word in our hearts, it is what God will use to give us victory in those moments. It helps us identify lies and confront them with truth. And Paul says that “We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Jesus Christ.” That is where the spiritual battle is fought.

Jim: That is so good. What role does community play in overcoming that food fixation? I would think – I mean, sometimes, as buddies, you know, if you go play golf or something like that, it’s pretty normal to go get a bite to eat. Maybe we end up eating an appetizer and a bite to eat. It’s that kind of thing. But…

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

Jim: …How can we use community to keep us…

John: Hm.

Jim: …From overindulging?

Asheritah: Yeah, that’s a great question because so much of this is a solo struggle. We struggle by ourselves in the dark.

Jim: In silence usually.

Asheritah: Right. But when we bring it to community, we can link arms with our brothers and sisters and find victory that way. So, it can be bringing it to the table after your golf outing…

(LAUGHTER)

Asheritah: …With the buddies and saying, “Hey, you know what I’ve realized? I tend to eat a bit too much. So would do you guys help me – you know, keep me accountable and eat just enough and enjoy it?”

John: And they’ll say, “Sure, we’ll finish off your fries for you.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: No, that’s good. And we’re putting that in a guy’s context.

John: Yeah.

Jim: The book’s written for women. But I mean, I would think – you know, I would imagine after a woman’s Bible study or on the way home, you stop at your favorite coffee place, you get a little bakery item and that latte that you’re craving. I mean, those are the kinds of things, right?

Asheritah: Right. And again, those are not bad foods. It depends what drives us to those foods. But another way to pull in community in this – and this is something I’ve done even recently – is texting a friend and saying, “Hey, would we encourage one another in this?” – and at the end of the day saying, “You know what? I have been obedient to the Lord today in the way that I’ve eaten, and celebrate that with me.”

John: Yeah.

Asheritah: Or, “I have been disobedient. Would you pray with me and help me to stay accountable?”

John: What role, Asheritah, does a – does a friend play in maybe calling you out? You mentioned how your family members said, “Hey, you’re going too far in this.”

Asheritah: Mmhmm.

John: What’s the role for a friend in that?

Jim: Tread carefully.

Asheritah: That can be really tricky.

(LAUGHTER)

Asheritah: Yeah.

John: Yeah, that’s what I’m getting at.

Asheritah: Yeah, I – I think it has to start with the person who’s struggling, and they have to reach out and give permission to that person, unless it’s a parent-child situation, or a situation, where, you know, you need to guide that person to a safe, healthy place, if they’re dangerously obsessive. But if it’s where most of us are, it’s a spiritual matter, as well as a physical one.

Jim: Let’s go to the last question, which is really, for that person listening, going, “Oh, she’s describing me. This is me.” What are those words of encouragement for next steps? Don’t eat the cake, I mean, obviously. But, what are some of the things they can do, as they change today?

Asheritah: Well, it’s not as easy as, “Don’t eat the cake,” because I think every person wakes up saying, “Today is the day I’m gonna eat right.” I would really – if you’re the one who’s struggling with this right now, I would say turn to Jesus – and not in an overly spiritual way, but He is right there willing and wanting to help you. And then find someone who can hold you accountable. And I would take that last step and just challenge you to go on a sugar fast. Find our community on Facebook. Find someone to join with you and this and break the stronghold of food in your life through the power of Scripture and prayer and worship.

Jim: Asheritah, that is a great place to land. I hope this has been helpful to you. Wonderful advice in Asheritah’s book, Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction. This really hits, I think, the hidden places in the Christian’s life. And it’s so true. These are the things that we don’t concentrate on. We concentrate on the big things, but we fail in this area particularly, when it comes to the infamous church potluck…

Asheritah: Hm.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: You know. And everything in the – in the Christian community tends to revolve around food. And a lot of women get a certain sense of worth – self-worth from the food they can prepare and watching people love eating it. And that is…

Asheritah: Enjoying it.

Jim: …good.

Asheritah: Yeah.

Jim: It just needs to be in balance and in moderation. If you’re in that spot, man, get a hold of us today. Let us be there to help you. And certainly, we can send you a copy of Asheritah’s book, Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction, as a starting point. Also online – and we have counseling, who can help you think through these things that are really taking maybe years off your life…

Asheritah: Hm.

Jim: …if you think about it.

John: Hm.

Closing:

Jim: And that’s a good place for all of us to be, whether you’re a woman, or a man, seeking to do this in a more God-honoring way. And one thing that you can do to help us is to send a gift to help us continue the ministry of Focus on the Family. And we will send you Asheritah’s book, as our way of saying thank you for supporting other families that need help.

John: And you can find help and an opportunity to donate to the work of Focus on the Family. Get a copy of this book and a CD or a free download of our conversation, so you can listen again or share that. Our website is focusonthefamily.com/broadcast and our number – 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Again, Asheritah, thank you for being with us. If we can, let’s continue the discussion online, talk about fasting and a couple of other things. Can we do that?

Asheritah: Sounds great.

Jim: All right.

John: All right, and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family today. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back next time, as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Full

Receive Asheritah Ciuciu's book Full for your donation of any amount!

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Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

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Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

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Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

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Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

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Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

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Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you!