What Would You Say?

A few weeks ago, I asked your advice on doing a short TV slot for 4thought.  Thanks for your wisdom –  I’m doing it and the filming is tomorrow.

I wish I could be a Christian who hasn’t struggled and who is a better example of faith and recovery.  I’m worried about what strangers and friends will think – and ‘recovering Christian anorexic’ isn’t what I want people to see. But I really believe that Jesus is for us in our mess – He loves us as we are and He makes it okay to be weak and dependent.

The topic is ‘Does feasting bring us closer to God?’ They’ve asked me because of my history with anorexia.  If you’ve any spare, I’d love your prayers.  But I’d also love to know…

What should I say?

Over to you…

18 thoughts on “What Would You Say?

  1. It’s interesting just how many key allusions in the scriptures to redemption and future life revolve around the image of either a meal or a party – we’re essentially invited to ‘come and dine’ on all the goodness He bestows upon us, especially in relation to the richness of His grace given in Jesus Christ.

    Hope the filming goes OK.

  2. First of all well done for agreeing to do it. I know God will honour your wish to bring something of Him to those who listen to that TV slot.

    As for ‘Does feasting bring us closer to God?” I would say that it doesn’t automatically bring us closer to God anymore than fasting brings us closer to God. I’m not convinced that food has spiritual attributes to it, in and of itself. It is how we use it.

    I used to be a compulsive overeater and in the days when I was in the thick of my eating disorder feasting didn’t bring me closer to God it drove a bigger wedge between me and God. But fasting didn’t always have a positive effect either because I was often pretending to do it for spiritual reasons but really I was trying to prove to myself I could heal my own eating disorder if I chose to.

    Both feasting and fasting can bring us closer to God if our hearts are genuinely seeking that. I think honesty is what God values. In John 4:24 Jesus says “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” I think feasting and fasting would then both be pleasing to God when they are outward actions that show an inner reality of love of God.

    Enough of my ramblings! Praying for you

  3. Could you talk about being invited to a feast – how we can meet God in communion? Meet him as we take bread and wine, a feast for the senses – sight, words, smell, taste, touch, and a chance for God to speak through any of our senses.

  4. Dear Emma
    I feel your uncertainty for I am a recovering suicide-alcoholic Christian. When those feelings of shame overwhelm me, I only look at Jesus writing in the sand and pretend that He is standing right alongside me daring all the accusers to throw the first stone!

  5. Like everything else, our relationship with food has been tarnished by the ‘fall’. So until we are right with God, our relationship with food can be tarnished. It’s not feasting, or fasting, that brings us closer to God, it’s our relationship with Him that matters.
    Having said that, as the mother of a sufferer of an Eating Disorder, the over-emphasis on the things of this world, including food, at Christmas-tide is hugely problematic for families of sufferers. It starts as early as Advent (do you do the usual chocolate a day advent calendar, replace it with chewing gum or trinkets, or what, specially if there are other children in the family?).
    Sufferers from an Eating Disorder find shared meals really hard, and these are especially common at Christmas-tide as families try to get together. The food is not the ‘norm’, so adjustments need to be made to an eating plan. We have in the past refused many invitations around Christmas, when my daughter was at her worst.
    And then there’s the ultimate horror: Christmas dinner. Even in a family with no Eating Disorder, the cooks get stressed, relationships fray, meals are late … It’s just heightened if you also have an Eating Disorder sitting round the table with you. I don’t have any easy answers except:
    1) Keep things as low key and as ‘normal’ as possible: here will be other more joyful and relaxed Christmasses in future.
    2) Try not to be completely isolated: find friends and relations who understand and see if you can pop in for a cup of tea/coffee +/- mince pies!
    3) As you sit down to your Christmas dinner, spare a prayer for those who have an uninvited guest: the Eating Disorder. That’s what I asked my friends to do and it HELPED!

  6. Well done Emma! What time is the filming – would love to be praying for you.

    Gosh, that’s hard. For me, in this world, definitely not. It’s what i turn to for comfort, instead of relying on God.

    But I do like what Howard said too. It’s good to think that one day we’ll be at the feast of the King – and ED’s will have no place there, because He will make us new.

  7. “I wish I could be a Christian who hasn’t struggled” – oh me too! Me too!

    Praying for you for tomorrow – I suspect that your thoughts would be better than anything I can come up with – you’ll be brilliant!

  8. Okay… I haven’t time to read all the suggestions and responses others have written so I will possibly just throw out what everyone ha already said but…

    First, sorry for thinking you were doing a radio slot! I had read what you said but ‘saw’ the pic of the mic and thought ‘radio’. Interesting power that the image has huh?!

    Second, does fEasting bring us closer to God? Maybe. Does fAsting? Maybe.
    I don’t think there is any ‘action’ that brings us closer to him. Isn’t there something in 2Timothy where Paul points out that it’s not about our actions… we’re saved by our FAITH rather than our works…
    I would say that whether we feast or fast is not really the point. It’s is the spirit in which it’s done… AND (thinking more as I’m going along here…) God can’t be ‘bought closer’ like he’s some chess piece! He is always close… It’s just that at some points, we may have a greater sense of his presence than at others. How close we FEEL He is, is an entirely different matter to how close He ACTUALLY is. No action, food related or otherwise changes His position in relation to us.

    I’m rambling and (I suspect) repeating a lot of others’ points.

    Finally, I’m glad you are not a sorted, ‘I’m great and being a Christian made my ED and all my other problems disappear’ type.
    I never got how worked.
    Lucky them… but for those of us who have to bear the screaming tortures and somehow find God in ‘the mess’, I’m so glad that there are voices like yours out there.
    Real and platitude free.

    Thinking of you and admiring you lots.


  9. Praise God he has reached out to us in our helplessness when we were far away! Like everything else in creation food and feasting have been tainted by the reverse Midas touch of human sin. What should be unalloyed joy in the wonderful gift of food given to us to be enjoyed together is tainted by all kinds of things resulting directly from human sin or the general brokenness of the creation in which we live (which, itself, stems from human rebellion back at the beginning) including failure to acknowledge the gift giver, greed, food poverty, poor harvests, inhumane agricultural practices, food allergies/intolerances, eating disorders etc etc. It’s not completely spoiled and at least some of us can enjoy good food at least some of the time, even better, we have the hope of the new / renewed creation pictured for us in the NT as a feast. That hope has come at an unimaginable price – again pictured as a feast but this time feasting on the flesh of the Passover Lamb – Jesus Christ. Our LORD, sacrificed for us – how humbling, how amazing!

  10. Well done Emma…I’m sure this must have been A tough decision, but as others have said, I’m sure God will honour your intention to give Him the glory …

    As for the feasting thing… I’m sure it is all about what we are feasting on? Aren’t we called to hunger and thirst after righteousness? Feasting to satisfy ourselves ultimately will bring nothing but disillusion….but feasting on God? And his grace, mercy and greatness? Suddenly it all seems a little better? Sorry, all the question marks are because I’m thinking as I type…

    Really praying for you tomorrow;-)

  11. Praying for you tomorrow…am sure you will glorify God in the way you do on your blog day after day with such honest words. You’re a massive blessing to so many. Hope filming goes smoothly xxxx

  12. We live in a country where many people will be feasting on christmas day. But will this bring them close to God? Will they even consider him? Probably not. Observing traditions like christmas dinner does not buil or relationship with Jesus by itself in the same way that not eating turkey on December 25 th will not deprecate us from God. Jesus is the bread of life we need him to sustain us and in heaven where we stand lit by the radiance oif god we will feast on life bead. People thinking that eating turkey at Christmas and eggs at Easter is enough to “qualify” them for heaven is a dangerous idea. We are saved by Jesus alone. If you just tell them that they you will have blessed them. Eek long post!

  13. Excited for you, Emma, though I can appreciate your fears. I admire you for taking this on even though it sounds scary! I would like to try and say something encouraging, because I’ve been so encouraged by your blog, so I hope this comes across ok.. forgive me if it sounds trite or harsh? You see, if you were a Christian who had never struggled, and who was ‘a better example of faith and recovery’ people might end up wanting to be like you, rather than hungering (unintended…!) for the Jesus you cling to, and that’s not a happy situation to be in, because none of us can live up to the expectations of ourselves, let alone others. I hope that you find it freeing and life-giving to point to Jesus in the midst of all the mess and not bear the weight of that yourself. Praying it goes well!

  14. Have been praying for you, for peace, God’s presence & the absence of that ‘rabbit in the headlights’. What God thinks is what matters.
    J x

  15. Without being too trite, Maybe God has given you this opportunity because YOU have something that he wants you to bring. It is easy for me to say but I expect that he will give you what you need. I think you will be fabbo…

  16. Be honest and Be yourself. Its good enough and although I also wish we didn’t struggle I know deep down that is unrealistic and God wants us to be honest, real, to be that is to be fully human and fully free and to fully know the love and grace of God

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