An Encouraging Word – The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15

I have done it before so why can I not do it now? To be brutally honest with myself and others, I need to shed a few pounds. My clothes are too tight. My blood sugar level is higher than it should be.

I lack the energy that I should have in spite of my age. Why can’t I overcome my addiction to eating at night? I have quit smoking tobacco products and have no serious desire to start back. Why can I not translate that control to food?

Do I really lack control? Have I forgotten how to summon it? Do I really want to get a grip? What am I waiting for?

My mind searches for circumstances on which to lay the blame and shift the focus away from myself — a convenient, but dead end street, to say the least. Is it the medications I take? I think the doctor mentioned that, didn’t he? Is it the slowing metabolism of old age? Didn’t Dr. Phil mention that on his program recently? I know that blaming something outside myself is a lie and futile at best.

The real question is why won’t I get a grip not why can’t I get a grip?

All I have to do is quit putting food in my mouth! Why won’t I just quit doing that? I can do almost anything else I set my mind to. I am disciplined in every other area of my life. I show up early for meetings and appointments. I never arrive unprepared to preach. I meet deadlines earlier than I need to.

I am faithful to family members, friends and parishioners. Why can I not put food down and quit putting it into my mouth? I would not die immediately if I did, but I act as if I would.

The truth is that people can go without food for about three weeks and water for about a week. So what is this irrational drive to stuff food down my throat that I do not need, food that ends up being stored on my frame unnecessarily — so much so that it causes lethargy and shame?

There was a weight-loss program that was popular some time back called TOPS —Take Off Pounds Sensibly.

Their motto was “It’s not what you eat, it’s what’s eating you.” Somehow, that resonates with me. I have always found that when things do not make sense, there is always a deeper problem behind the problem that is obvious, and working on the obvious problem is only working on a symptom.

Like all destructive behaviors, I believe compulsive eating is not about intentionally hurting oneself, but about choosing an unhealthy way to comfort and reward oneself. The goal is good, the choice of methods to get there aren’t!

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