TURN ON THE LIGHTS!
Most of us know how hard it is to admit something that everyone else already knows. But to willingly go public so that others who are dealing with the same thing can have the courage to take a break from their emotional imprisonment is admirable. This young lady decided to do so, and we can all benefit from her experience.
She begins by telling that when she was overweight, she frequently struggled with depression. She confesses I had my “I am depressed” routine: Take my negative thoughts into a dark room in my messy house where ignored bills lay on the table but not look into the mirror to see I wasn’t taking care of myself.
But when God began to convict me, I knew I had to make a choice: His way or my way. Was I willing to let Him teach me how to cope with my depression so that things could change into the way they were supposed to be? Her answer was clear, she says, I said “Yes!” to both questions. So, she decided to trust God’s Word, and that’s when things began to change.
She read in John 6:63, where Jesus says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” It was a matter of getting out of the darkness into the light. What God has done for me, she says, He can do for you.
God’s love was so strong that she felt compelled to follow Him. It was His love that drew her to change, not misery nor self-condemnation. She decided she wanted a better life than the one she was living. That’s why now she tells everyone that God loves them too, just like He loved her. But they are the only ones who can make the decision that they want to live differently. No one else can do it for you.
One therapist says that in her years of coaching people, she discovered that there are people who are perfectly happy being miserable. That way, they get attention and sympathy from others because of their agony. Their discomfort gives them something to talk about.
They bought into the lie that they cannot change. And some people do not want to change because despair is all they know. Deep down, they see grief as safe because they know what that feels like and they are afraid of the unknown. God did not create us to live in anguish. He created us to live in joy, no matter what we experienced in our past or outward circumstances in the present. Just like the prophet Jeremiah, “God has great plans for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future.” (29:11).
In fact, He gives us a promise and offers us an exchange for our gloom and doom. Listen to what God told Isaiah: “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (61:3). Here is the exchange: If you are mourning, God gives you Consolation and the Oil of Joy. If your life is in ashes, God gives you Beauty. If you have a spirit of heaviness, God gives you the garment of Praise.
But, are you willing to believe Him and make the exchange? Jesus did not die so that you could live pre-occupied with our past, our shortcomings, and in the pursuit of gratifying our flesh. We are called to be a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified.
Not only that, but 1 Peter 2:9 reminds us even more of who we really are and what we are called to do: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Did you get that? According to God’s word, you are: A chosen generation (you were created for such a time as this). A royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own special people. Because this is your identity through Jesus Christ, then you were called to proclaim His praises because He has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
But how will you proclaim His praise when you continue to make darkness your friend? You are called to walk in the light as He is in the light. So how do you do that? There are two guidelines from the scriptures: “The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12)
The first step is to renounce your friendship with darkness. Repent of any wrong thinking that has set up a stronghold in your mind. Repentance starts with an attitude of your heart. It is agreeing with God that you believe His Word above your feelings. You will no longer worship at the altar of your feelings. You will instead be diligent each day to meditate on His Word and trust that in time, your feelings will have an extreme makeover!
Just as physical food is designed to give you physical strength, so God’s word is designed to give you Spiritual strength. With that Spiritual strength, you will be able to handle whatever the enemy tries to throw at you. In addition, you spend time with God in prayer. His presence is like your water – you can’t live Spiritually without that! Be honest with God and yourself through prayer. In doing so, you expose the works of darkness into the light. There is an old saying that the strength of sin is secrecy.
How well I know, she says. I used to eat “normal” in front of others and binge in secret. To stop that, I needed to protect myself from those foods that trigger binges and eat foods that helped me feel emotionally stable. In that way, I could live with integrity – acting the same way whether I was with others or alone.
I learned to be transparent about what I was doing, I told myself the truth, and stop justifying why it is okay that I continue to live in darkness. As Luke 8:17 says, “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” Our challenge today is to live in the light of God’s love and order our thinking according to God’s word.
1 John 1:5 declares: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
Maybe your hang-up is not food but other things that make you feel you don’t measure up to other people’s standards. Think about it, you have become judge and jury, sentencing yourself to a miserable life. A lot of times, the thing that gets us down is that we can’t do anything as good as others. That bothers us. Instead of trying to improve or finding something we are good at we let it get inside our minds and the light for doing better goes out.
But through His Word we see where God has put a light switch on the wall of our minds, all we have to do is turn it on. Here’s what the Scriptures tell us: “You are all people who belong to the light. You belong to the day. We don’t belong to the night or to darkness. So we should not be like other people. We should not be sleeping. We should be awake and have self-control.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6). Also, “We should live in the light, where God is. If we live in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, washes away every sin and makes us clean.” (1 John 1:7). Furthermore, “But anyone who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that whatever they have done was done through God.” (John 3:21). So, take this message with you: “You were former cellar-dwellers, but now you have come out into the light of the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. This light produces every kind of goodness, right living, and truth.” (Ephesians 5:8-9). – Dr. Robert R Seyda