As a Christian, I knew at a head level that Jesus could set me free but there was conflict between what I knew Scripture said and what I experienced. This was especially true when I developed food addiction (or compulsive overeating/binge eating disorder). I ended up in utter captivity to this condition for years. I was so frustrated because I knew Jesus could set me free and yet I wasn’t seeing this freedom realised in my life.
Three and a half years ago I was still completely imprisoned by an uncontrollable urge to binge eat in response to difficult emotions. I prayed for, and sought, freedom constantly for many years to no avail. Food was an anaesthetic which held me captive with its ability to numb pain. Not even my ever increasing weight stopped my bingeing but I didn’t give up. I kept on seeking because I knew that if the Bible told me Jesus could set me free, then He could set me free indeed.
Strangely, my turning point was suffering a major crisis of faith. During my time away from God, I began to miss him horribly but I no longer believed in His existence. This caused me to seek Him more seriously than ever. Ultimately, I rediscovered His existence, and also discovered His Father love in a much deeper way than I had ever previously known. Knowing Him and His Father love became my only focus.
I remember praying “Lord, I am willing to be a fat food addict for the rest of my life, I just want to know you more” and I meant it. Consequently, I began to trust Him with my emotions in a new way and He became my refuge in the way food previously had. In March 2012, I surrendered my addictive behaviour to Father God. Finally, I was ready to transfer my allegiance from food to Father God. I have been free ever since.
But there was still a faint whisper, a shadow of temptation to binge in response to difficult emotions. However, the love of God was so strong that I was able to keep making the choice to keep away from food as an addictive substance. I wondered if the temptation would get fainter over time.
A few weeks ago, an operation that I desperately wanted, was cancelled on the morning of the planned surgery. I was devastated. I spent all day talking, crying and praying through my disappointment until I found peace in the situation. The next day I realised that I hadn’t had even the tiniest shadow of temptation to binge. I was elated because now I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am free, completely free. As John 8:36 says “If the Son sets you free, you are truly free”.
The turning point for me was seeking the healer not the healing, seeking the giver not the gift. Addiction is both emotional and physical and it stands to reason that healing need to be emotional too. Seeking the healer to be my refuge brought that emotional healing to me in a way that seeking the physical healing alone had not. I’m now learning emotional maturity and that takes time but I know with Father God by my side I will grow stronger in that way.
If Jesus can set me free He can set anyone free. Turn to Him, seek Him and allow Him to be your refuge. Seek the healer and you will find your emotional healing.
Lynda Alsford currently works a GP receptionist and writes in her spare time. She has self-published two books. He Never Let Go describes her journey through a major crisis of faith whilst working as an evangelist at a lively Church in Chiswick, West London. Being Known describes how God set her free from food addiction. Both books are available in paperback and on kindle on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com