I find comfort in food. It has always been a problem, one which I have fought most of my life. But it becomes an even bigger problem when I am stressed. I am a stress eater. I eat when I am stressed and I can’t stop. This wasn't always that big of a problem; my life has not always been stressful as it is now.
In October of last year, my church’s senior pastor was asked to resign by the elder board. I was serving as the Associate Pastor and as an elder and was in the thick of this decision. It was weighty, it was serious, and it was heart breaking. I stepped in briefly as the interim pastor and was quickly asked and confirmed by the congregation as the new senior pastor a few short weeks later. This made for a stressful time as I sought to guide the church well through the transition, which is still going on.
I share that story to show that stress hit and how it hit with a fury. Since October, I have been stress eating almost nonstop. That sounds like I am a huge pig, but it really just means that come 10 o’clock at night, I am looking in the fridge for something to fill my belly. I can’t figure out how to make everyone happy so I choose to make myself happy with a big lunch. We all have stress in our lives; I am not unique in that regard. I bet some of you eat your stress as well. But why?
I already mentioned at one of the reasons. It is because it gives me comfort. Filling my belly and enjoying some delicious food is comforting. That is why there is a whole category of food called comfort food. It comforts us. It wraps its fatty arms around us and make us feel good. It can bring back memories of better times, times when stress wasn’t at our door. I also feel like I am in control when I eat my stress. I feel like I might not be able to control the situation that is giving me stress, but I am control what I eat. When I put it this way, I can see how eating your stress or stress eating is just another idol. I am running to something other than God to give me what only God can give.
God is the only one that can truly give us comfort and this is a comfort that doesn’t just look to the past and the good ol’ days. It is a comfort that holds the future in its hands. God gives us the comfort of knowing that because of Jesus we have peace with God and that, because of Jesus, God has nothing but love for us. That is true comfort.
God is the only one truly in control. We try to delude ourselves into thinking we are in control, but we should seek the comfort that comes from knowing that God is in control. Everything is working according to his plan. How wonderful is that!
So, instead of seeking comfort from the fridge late at night, I should seek solace in God. Instead of filling my stomach, I should fill my heart with prayer to God and my head with God’s Word. Instead of stuffing my gut, I should have the Spirit fill me completely.