Conviction is a…well, I’d say a funny thing, but “funny” isn’t really the right word, now, is it?
Conviction is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Conviction is that nagging sense that you are doing something that you know is wrong, but you keep doing it, and you keep justifying it, over and over and over and over again.
Maybe you’re binge watching a television show (instead of sleeping) that is putting lustful or angry thoughts into your head. Maybe you’ve escalated from one glass of wine once every few months to two or three glasses a night, causing you to make less-than-thoughtful decisions around your loved ones. Maybe you self-righteously attack strangers on social media, judging sound bites and snippets of things, ignoring the glaring gaps in your own practical theology.
For me? Ah, for me. As for me, I was eating too much food in an effort to hide emotional pain, and I was turning to food for comfort, instead of turning to Scripture or Christ. So the Holy Spirit started with the conviction.
It began a few months ago – little hints here and there that I needed to get my eating under control. It was obvious to me that I was sinning in the way I was eating, but it wasn’t something I was willing to confront. It also wasn’t something I was willing to work at via a “magic” fix – you know, one of those “get thin quick” diet plans that involve spending a ton of money, or cutting out entire food groups that God said we could eat. Nor did I want to embark upon some sort of poorly-exegeted Scripture based program, thinking that God could solve all my problems, if I would just fill in your chosen health & wealth prosperity tripe here.
I half-heartedly prayed about my increasing conviction, but I continued to eat chocolate and sugar and sweet tea and fried foods, and turn down fruits and vegetables. I mean, I’m a grown woman; I know what to eat, I just wasn’t doing it.
Suddenly everywhere I turned, I began to see information about clean eating. Friends were doing it, and it was all over social media. So I began to read and research about it.
Conviction continued. My son and my husband complained that I was grumpy all the time, tired too often, yelling a lot more, grumpy (did I already say that?), and just not a lot of fun to be around. My migraines were happening almost daily, I had frequent stomach pains, and I just felt terrible.
The final straw was actually a tweet by someone I follow on Twitter. I don’t know how to embed a tweet, but Millennial Puritan (@Puritan2000) tweeted on 8/26/16 “I’m really starting to think I need to write something on the theology of health stewardship.” I tweeted back, “There’s a need, for sure. People either neglect health or expect miracles via spiritualizing fad/bad diet plans.”
Sure, Rachel, because you are such a paragon of health stewardship.
That night I had a terrible stomachache from eating fast food. I don’t think conviction is always physical, but sometimes…sometimes it is.
September 1 I started something called “Whole30.” You can google it, honestly, if you are interested, because you need to read what they say, and not just take my word for it. I ordered the books, read all about it, and for seven days have been eating real, whole foods that God created.
I haven’t had a migraine, hip pain, stomachache, or mood swing since I started.
Has it been all sunshine and roses? No, and I’m still the homeschooling mother of a six year old boy (meaning there is still some yelling at our house), and we’ve been passing around a head cold that is keeping the tissue companies in business. But both Keith and The Boy have seen a huge change in my attitude, my energy level, and the food on our plates. I woke up singing “Victory in Jesus” the other morning!
I have prayed, extensively, that God would spare me some of the more unpleasant detoxification side-effects I’ve read about, and so far He has. I have also found myself turning more to Him, when I would’ve been turning to chocolate or sugar, for whatever reason.
I don’t really know why I’m sharing this, except…I do believe that as Christian women we should be taking care of ourselves. I don’t want to end up a burden on my husband or son as I grow older; I want to be one of those awesomely fun grandmothers who takes her grandkids on fun adventures and gets in the pool with them. I was certainly not headed down that path two weeks ago. And this isn’t a magic bullet; changing the way I eat, and then, changing the way our family eats, will take consistency, and thought, intention, and trial and error.
However, I am taking steps in the right direction, because I responded (finally) to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I do wonder what I’ve missed out on by not obeying sooner.
But if I can pinpoint what triggers my migraines, hip pain, mood swings, etc., then I will be well on my way to being a better steward of my health. Hopefully I am dethroning the idol of food in my life for good!