Freedom from Shame and Guilt
Do you ever get that feeling of guilt after eating a little too much dessert? How about a piece of pizza? Do you find yourself often feeling guilty about something you ate or because you didn’t do something (like exercise)?
Hmmm. I wonder though, should you feel guilty? Guilt and shame happen frequently for many of us when we “break the rules”. These feelings come up more and more often as we continually add food and exercise rules to our list of “shoulds”. These feelings can also creep in when we break rules that rules someone else has set for us.
The real question is, should we feel guilty when we don’t follow “the rules”?
Who made your rules anyway? And, what does it mean to eat well?
To consider these question, let’s consider these questions to help us think more deeply about this issue
1. Are you able to recognize when you feel guilty or shameful?
If not, it might be helpful to begin a journal to explore some of your feelings. Sometimes we don’t recognize that it is shame or guilt right away, but we may have an unidentifiable feeling of sadness or discontent. This may be God’s prompting to get you to think about these feelings more and explore them.
2. Are you praying about these feelings and asking God is your action or thoughts were sinful?
It might be helpful to begin to understand if you have certain patterns of sin related to your eating. For example, are you elevating your health, body, or food as more important than God? Are you overeating frequently in search of comfort or pleasure? Is your time at the gym more important than time in God’s word? Do you turn down offers for dinner with friends due to your diet restrictions? Do you walk into a room and compare your own physical appearance to others in the room?
If you answered yes to any of these, it doesn’t automatically mean your action or thoughts are sinful, but it could mean that. Take some time today to explore your “whys” and consider God and His word in the process. Pray and ask God for wisdom to help you sort through it all.
3. If you see some patterns of sin, are you accepting the forgiveness that God offers you through Christ?
God calls us to identify our sin and confess it regularly. If you have be convicted by something, don’t wait! God is listening and hears your prayer of confession. Remember that when we ask for forgiveness, we are not “forgiving ourselves” but rather we are accepting the gift of God’s forgiveness through Christ!
4. Are you able to let go of the guilt realizing that you are forgiven and are you thankful for that forgiveness?
As you consider all of these questions, it might help to journal about any feelings of guilt you have had this week related to food and nutrition. Answer the above questions and begin to find freedom from your struggles! Finding food freedom is a small step in discovering what the Bible has to say about it all! If you found this article helpful, please share it! If you want to dig deeper you may want to check out my Food and Faith Program. It is 8 weeks of exploring what God has to say about how we take care of our bodies for His glory!