As a young child, I grew up in a home with eleven other siblings, and we lived in low-income housing for a number of years. Mom and dad tried to provide us with most of our needs even though money was often scarce. But one of my fondest memories from childhood was when my mom would buy ice cream and cake cones as a special treat every two weeks when my father got paid. We always enjoyed whatever flavors she purchased, and we could barely contain our excitement when she returned home from the grocery store. However, we were aware that as long as she continued to purchase the ice cream, along with other household essentials, it meant we would have enough to eat for the next two weeks.
Over the years, I continued to purchase ice cream or frozen yogurt as a special treat even though eating it every night resulted in my gaining a few pounds. There were times when I tried to give up ice cream, but I never lasted for more than a week. As I began asking God to show me why ice cream had such a strong hold on me, He began to reveal past family issues that contributed to this problem. My father was an alcoholic and often used some of the household money to purchase beer and liquor instead of food. The Lord showed me that I associated buying ice cream with always having enough money to buy food, and emotionally I had developed a strong connection to this treat.
Recently, when a friend at church shared that he was fasting and giving up certain foods for lent, I thought I could give up eating ice cream during this time as well. However, it wasn’t until I read Isaiah 58 that I was reminded of what a “true fast” should be and giving up ice cream or any other food with the wrong motives would not be pleasing to God. God wants us to honor Him with pure motives from our hearts. For me, ice cream became an emotional crutch that sabotaged my dieting efforts, but God reminded me that we are to honor Him not with giving up a certain food but by helping those in need. By seeking His purpose and direction in our lives, He promises to help us overcome those unhealthy habits that keep us from becoming the person in Christ that we were meant to be.
God’s word teaches us that “we can do all things through Him who gives us strength.” I am happy and humbled to say that it has been over a week and I have not purchased ice cream for my freezer. Now, my goal and desire is to only have this “special” treat once a week when my husband and I eat out after church. When I go to the grocery store, I will continue to ask for God’s help and strength, and I know He will help me because “with God, all things are possible.”
If you have an unhealthy habit, seek the Lord’s help. Proverbs 3:5-6 says that we should “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, but in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” He is ready and willing to help. All you need to do is ask.
Until next time, may God bless you and keep you in His care today and always.