EXCERPT FROM SWEET FREEDOM BY TERESA SHIELDS PARKER
I know what hell is like.
Hell is when I find myself weighing 430 pounds and know I have put myself there. Hell is wanting to stop eating, trying to stop, but feeling powerless to do so.
Hell is feeling like I am standing on a railroad track watching a locomotive speeding towards me, but feeling too paralyzed to move, and not knowing why.
Hell is realizing I must do something to stop eating, but like an airplane on autopilot I keep going full speed knowing what the end result will be.
Hell is not being able to enjoy life because all I can think about is what I am currently consuming and how I can get some more, much like a drug addict awaiting the next hit.
Hell is wanting to be normal, but hopeless that normal can ever happen to me.
Hell is having the foods I love turn on me, and with angry claws and fangs begin to devour me.
Hell is denying all of this is going on while trying to smile and live an ordinary life when inside I feel dead. Except, of course, when I eat something decadent and then, the cycle starts over again.
Hell is knowing all of this is my fault, but not knowing how to do what I know to do.
Hell is understanding God has a better plan for my life, and knowing I have willfully ignored and thwarted it.
Hell is living mired in lies and half-truths, which have me bound and gagged.
Hell is living for the next time I can gorge myself with rich, sugary breads and foods.
Hell is knowing I breathe for one reason and one reason only—the next time I can eat.
Is It Heavenly?
I don’t like hell. I have been there and lived there for over half of my life. I am determined never to return. However, I also well know while I was there Satan, the father of lies,1 the master deceiver,2 had me convinced where I was living was heaven.
I saw all the things I loved to eat as heavenly. Some of them were even packaged with words like heavenly cakes, delightful treats, good bars and too good to be true candy. When someone would say, “Think of the most heavenly thing on earth,” my mind would not go to a pastor or some great missionary or person I knew who was godly. No, my mind went to something delicious my grandmother and all the wonderful great aunts made while I was growing up.
Being in heaven would be like being at a great feast, which lasted continually. It would be eating anything and everything I wanted. This was my idea of heaven. It had nothing to do with the presence of God, and everything with the presence of my favorite foods.
I had definitely been deceived.
Source of My Deception
I had been deceived and I couldn’t blame anyone but myself. I wanted certain foods. I thought I had to have them to survive. Surely Jesus understood eating good food. He was human. He ate meals. However, He did not allow what He ate to be something which controlled His heart, the seat of His emotions.
I did, though. I thought I had to have comfort foods to make me halfway normal. It seemed to be the only way I could calm any frustration, anger or what I considered the ugly emotions.
What Am I Living For?
God gives us the opposite of what the evil one wants us to believe. The devil uses our own desires to set up deception in us. I thought food was an acceptable thing to live for. The devil agreed because living to eat meant I was not living for God.
I was living for the next thing to give me pleasure. Ungodly pleasure is anything I put above God. For me, it was the foods I craved and allowed to master me. Just the subtle thought these foods were heavenly made it acceptable for me to continue eating them anytime I wanted, and as much as I wanted.
When I gained an ungodly amount of weight, and God nudged me to show me the right course of action, I stubbornly stood my ground. This was my food, and I wanted it. It’s the one thing I can have. The church says I can’t drink, do drugs, lie, steal, have sex outside of marriage, but I can eat, so there.
Truth for Me
This idea that food was an acceptable way to overcome any pain or emotional outburst is the devil’s perversion of what helps me live.
I cannot live without food. However, I can live without certain foods, especially if when I start eating them I can’t seem to stop.
I’ve learned for me it’s better to not eat foods made with sugar, flour and gluten. If I stay away from them, I can eat healthy. If I start to eat the other foods, I have knowingly put myself back in prison.
Controlled by God
With the help of Holy Spirit dropping real truth into my being, I have done a complete turn-around. I no longer live to eat. Instead, I eat to live. When I find certain foods are controlling me, I stop eating them. I only want to be controlled by God.
One way leads to death, maybe a slow death, but an earlier death than necessary, nonetheless. The other way leads to life. I will choose life.3
I am no longer deceived. I know the truth now. To deny it would mean I am rejecting my Savior. It might not mean I would be barred from heaven, but it would mean I would no longer hear His voice, be in His presence or fulfill the destiny4 He has for me.
That would be hell.
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1 John 8:44 TLB
2 Revelation 20:3 AMP
3 Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NLT
4 Ephesians 2:10 TPT