Last summer a friend from church invited other women to join her in a six-week study of Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Made to Crave. Lanette had already lost over 120 pounds. Needless to say, she was an inspiration to us.
The title intrigued me. I certainly dealt with the desire for unhealthy foods and I often gave in to them. Even though I was only a few pounds over my desired weight, I knew I did not make the best choices in my daily diet. I wanted to get control of my sugar and carbohydrate addiction.
In her introduction Terkeurst writes, “It’s not the ‘how to’ I’m missing. It’s the want to…really wanting to make changes and deciding that the results of those changes are worth the sacrifice.” Right away I was hooked. Like the author, I knew the right way to eat; I just lacked the discipline to do so. I needed a new focus.
Another simple statement jumped out at me in Chapter One: “We crave what we eat.” She goes on to say, “God made us to crave.” Before the thought, “That’s not fair,” got too firmly entrenched in my mind, she adds, “The object of our craving was never supposed to be food or other things people find themselves consumed by, such as sex or money or chasing after significance.” We were made to crave—God.
Terkeurst realistically points out it takes time to reprogram our taste buds. The more veggies and fruits we eat, the more we will crave them. The opposite is also true. By continuing to eat cookies and brownies, or chips and dip, our body and mind will believe it needs that to feel good.
God gives us power through prayer and his word to strengthen our weak wills and to make healthier choices. A verse that I chose for my motto is: 1 Corinthians 6:12 “Everything is permissible for me…but not everything is beneficial…I will not be mastered by anything.” This helps me not to feel deprived. I tell myself, “I can eat that cookie, but it’s really not good for me.” Most of the time that works for me because my goal is not just to lose weight but also to be healthy. I don’t want to be obsessed with food and treats. I believe, as stated over and over in the book, we are made for more. We are made to have a strong, healthy body and a spirit that’s connected to a loving God who wants the best for us.
It’s a challenge to make the right choices day after day. I sometimes have to readjust my focus, away from feeling deprived, to wanting to please God with the choices I make. Terkeurst suggests using our cravings as a prompt to pray.
This journey will be different for each person. For me the focus is on eating healthier foods, especially in regard to snacking. Yesterday I walked into the store and my nose was assaulted by the smell of donuts. I had to walk by them twice to drop off my prescription and then again to pick it up. I breathed a prayer for help to resist this temptation and I walked away without them in my hands.
Although I still allow myself occasional treats, I don’t let my cravings rule me. The old way of thinking that I need unhealthy food to make me feel good is no longer an option for me. On the days when my focus wavers and I fail, I don’t beat myself up but turn to my loving Friend for his help and forgiveness.
God wants us to be free of anything that weighs us down and detracts us from him. I don’t enjoy my human weaknesses, but when I turn to him and claim his strength, it forges a stronger link in my walk with him.
With God’s help I am gradually gaining victory over the “cookie monster” who has lurked in my mind and body for too many years. Thankfully he has also provided resources such as this book to guide me in my journey.