I recently purchased the book “Made to Crave” when I saw a friend recommended it on Facebook. It sat on a shelf for a while, then in the all-purpose bag I take with me to work and everywhere else, and finally, today…I took it out and started reading it.
I don’t know how old this author is, but she shares my story. She knows what it’s like to cycle over and over through good eating and bad, discipline and rampant consumption. In short, she knows what it’s like to experience what she terms “spiritual malnutrition.”
And then to look Jesus in the eye and have him say: “I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me. Then come, follow me.” If I truly want to commit myself to God, I have to change what is most important in my life – from food to Him. My commitment to good food has to be about more than looking and feeling good, it has to be about God. As she calls it, a spiritual “want to.” I like this statement:
“Honestly, I am made for more than a vicious cycle of eating, gaining, stressing – eating, gaining, stressing…I am made to rise up, do battle with my issues and, using the LORD’s strength in me, defeat them – spiritually, physically, and mentally – TO THE GLORY OF GOD.”
WE CRAVE WHAT WE EAT
This is so true for me. The more good things I eat, the more I crave them. The more sugar I eat, the more sugar I crave.
Her explanation is that Satan is at the root of our cravings – the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes, the boasting of what he has or does. These are misplaced physical, material, and psychological desires, trying to get our needs met somewhere besides with God.
Eve was tempted by Satan to EAT the apple, as was Adam. Both gave in, and the world became a meaner, sadder place. Jesus was tempted by Satan and resisted, and we were saved. We still suffer, but ultimately – we are saved.
The book includes personal reflections that I’m going to try to write here as part of my spiritual exercise…
First: What does my craving look like? I found a picture online that IS my sugar demon. Its body contains everything that tempts me in my weakest emotional moments – from loneliness to celebration to the desire for reward. It zaps me then dances in glee that it has defeated me once again. When I defeat it, it goes into a corner and sulks, and plots how it will win the next time.
If I could sit down and have a conversation with it, I would say, “Leave me alone! I know where you come from, and I don’t want you in my life anymore. Go away!!” It probably would say to me: “You say that, but you don’t really mean it. You say I’m evil and nasty, but that’s only until you want or need me. That’s okay. Talk mean to me now. I’ll be here in the corner until next time.” I would ask it: “WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU GO AWAY FOREVER???” I’m not sure how it would respond. Maybe it would say, “I’m just the symptom of something else. Resolve that, and I’ll go away.”
Second, what do I think of the statement that God made us to crave? I agree. I think we are made to crave something higher than ourselves, something spiritual, and I think that a big part of what’s wrong with this world is that we have substituted other things – like food – in an attempt to fill that craving. Like me, it never works for long.
I have pursued that craving in a positive way. The best example of this was my decision to pursue the Catholic church. This was a tremendously positive thing for me – I went to RCIA, I went to Mass many times during the week, I prayed my Rosary regularly. That craving gave me peace and a sense of fulfillment, unlike my food cravings, which leave me ultimately empty and feeling worse than when I started.
Third, what if I believe we’re made to crave? This isn’t really news to me, as a psychologist. I know food cravings stand in for something deeper. To think that something is God gives me a couple of feelings. One a “of course” feeling and one a slightly depressed feeling – that sense that if I try to fill that with God, I’m going to fail because I’m not a “holy” person. But listening to those cravings, trying to fill them in some small way, may finally help me break free of this sugar demon.
Fourth, how have I experienced these three temptations – cravings of sinful man, lust of the eyes, and boasting – over the past day and what did I do?
Cravings of sinful man – well, this is all about food. I have inhaled sugary stuff over the last few days. I bought it, knowing how it would make me feel, and I ate it even when I didn’t really want it.
Lust of the eyes – Material things – probably the thing that springs to mind in the new Internet service and a new wireless router.
Boasting – well, I often post my workouts on Facebook and in other places. I don’t think I do this for praise, but more for reinforcement, but that’s something I’ll have to look at.
The food thing is the most difficult for me to resist right now, without a doubt, though the others are a close second and third.
Finally, using Scripture to defeat temptation. I can’t say that I’ve done this on a regular basis, because I’m not familiar enough with scripture. I am partially excited about using this as a method to address my unhealthy eating, and partially apprehensive. I’m not a big Bible scholar, and I tend to be an auditory and interactive learner/seeker. But I’m hoping this book will guide me, and by doing some entries here and in other settings, will help reinforce this for me – without succumbing to the Boasting temptation, LOL.
Here we go! I hope! I pray!
Lord Jesus, please help me to look this temptation in the eye and shoo this sugar demon away once and for all. I admit that if I try to do this on my own, I may experience temporary victory, but in the long run, the only thing that will satisfy me is your love and embrace. Help me to take and MAKE the time to use the tools you offer, and your love, to take on this difficult challenge. Help me hang in there when it gets tough and turn to you, and be humble in the face of the temptation. Help me to not put sugar ahead of the things that really matter in my life. Thank you for all the gifts you give me. Amen