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Craving God, Not Food

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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.

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Episode Summary

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.

Episode Transcript

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.

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