Freedom. As Americans, it is the fabric of our history. It is the foundation our country was built on. We celebrate it with fireworks and waving flags. We view it as our right as citizens. Men and women gave their lives for our freedom.
As Christians, freedom takes on another meaning. It is the gift of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that released us from the grasp of death, sin and condemnation.
I was sitting in a membership class at the church I attended a few years ago. One of the pastors stepped up and, instead of telling me how I could sign up to volunteer for the youth group, he began talking about freedom.
“Freedom, he said, is the ability to control yourself.”
Wait. Freedom leads to control? What a paradox! That definition of freedom struck a chord within my spirit and has stayed with me ever since. Growing up in Christian culture, it was pretty easy to grasp the idea of freedom as a gift – one we didn’t earn, but can receive.
Sitting in that meeting, I was introduced to the perspective that freedom is not only a gracious gift, but a partnership where my response is essential.
So how does freedom relate to our bodies and food? Diet culture has taken this concept of control and turned it into calorie counting, depravation and manipulation to achieve an ideal that is, at best, not naturally obtainable for most and, at worst, destructive and debilitating.
We become slaves to the scale, the gym or whatever fad diet has rolled around and promised us the results we so desperately think we need to achieve. Trying to cling so tightly to control often backfires and results in feeling out-of-control.
Like the time I had myself on one of those restrictive cleanse type diets for a couple of weeks. We were going out for my friend’s birthday to a BBQ place and I decided to cheat “just a little.”
I bet you know how this one ends. In my deprived state, I ended up gorging myself on pulled pork and every fried thing in sight, and felt sick for the rest of the evening. I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned that deprivation and control usually swings the pendulum to out-of-control pretty much every time.
The amazing news is this: We were not created to live this way!
Galations 6:1 says,
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Beloved, you were created for freedom. Jesus solidified that right 2000 years ago in one final sacrifice. No more sacrifices needed. Case closed. It was finished. He gave us freedom and no one can take it away.
As Paul commanded the church in Galatia, we have to stand firm and not be enslaved to the things of this world. This means we have some choices to make. Freedom from the dieting mindset is a gift that is packaged in the form of…
· no more negative self talk while swimsuit shopping
· a guilt-free dessert experience while out with friends
· full permission to go for a walk instead of a run
Here at BBL our mission is, “to empower you in discovering healing relationships with food, fitness and body image through the unconditional love of God.”
Empowerment means you have choices. Our hope in creating this space is that it would be a catalyst for you to feel empowered in your thoughts and actions towards your body and your relationship with food. That through complete and utter freedom you would feel a little less out-of-control and a little more your natural amazing self.
And, with Jesus’s gift of freedom as a firm foundation, there is nothing hindering you in making choices that will allow you to live the abundant life that you were created to live – a life of freedom.
Body positive blogs are inspiring, but sometimes it might not be enough. We get that! You might want something more. An expert to walk along side you in your journey towards body respect and food peace. We've got you covered. Sign up for a free "pre-consultation" to see if working with one of our registered dietitians doing faith-based nutrition counseling is right for you.
Jessica is a registered dietitian nutritionist at a post acute hospital in Redding, California. With a background in psychology, she returned to school after many years as a full time missionary and completed her masters degree in nutrition at California State University, Chico where her research interests include body image, non-dieting principles, and how these topics interact with faith and spirituality. In her free time, Jessica enjoys hikes in beautiful places, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen and time around the dinner table with loved ones. Jessica is especially passionate about nutrition counseling and desires to help others live fully loved and fully alive-the life Jesus came to give us. (John 10:10)