the Freedom (restriction) of eating

God gave us the freedom to eat. He provided us with bountiful, various types of delicious food to enjoy. He gave us taste buds to savor the combinations of different flavors. He sparked imaginations and the creativity of different people from different cultures to create delicious combinations of the same ingredients.
Food was meant to be enjoyed. It is meant to lead us to further glorify Him. It is meant to be shared to bring unity and joy among His people. It is meant to lead us to gratitude for His provisions. It is meant to nourish our bodies.

But I had turned something that was created to honor Him into an enemy.
After a series of events, the desire to transform my body into the ideal Korean body image crept up like a poisonous fume. Without even noticing, slowly my perception of beauty and my own sense of worth/value became distorted. I wanted the slender waist, the thin face, and the boney legs. I thought that achieving this slim frame would make me more desirable, more worthy, more beautiful, more valuable.

In order to achieve such a body, I calculated that the quickest way to do it was to deprive my body of the nutrients I needed. I thought that by intaking a little less food, I could achieve the slimmer body that I so desperately coveted. But small subtractions from my meals slowly turned into larger subtractions, and now I was under eating. Months of under eating physically deprived my body of the nutrients, it mentally deprived my mind of the healthy mindset I had of food and my own image, and it spiritually deprived me of surrendering everything to my Father. The more I took control of my food/my body, the more absorbed I was in my obsession with being thin.
Food was no longer a gift to me. Food was an enemy. Food was something that I desperately needed and my body and mind constantly craved for, but it was something that I suppressed. It was no longer used for its original purpose: to be eaten/made to glorify God. When we distort God’s creations from fulfilling its original design, we are perverting His masterpiece.
When we disrupt His masterpieces by taking control of it ourselves, we lose our freedom. God gives us freedom, peace, and joy when we fulfill our designs: to glorify Him.

After a year of going through a vicious cycle of restricting, under eating, feeling shame/guilt, wanting to get better, and falling back into restriction… I realize that even when I acquired the ideal slim frame, my soul is not satisfied and it never will be.

The solution was to CHOOSE freedom, not restriction.
During the time I was intensely struggling, I felt bonded to this sin of coveting/controlling. I thought that God wasn’t doing enough to help me. I thought, “I want to change, but how come God would change my heart?” But the truth is, even as I was saying these words I was still holding onto my control over weight.
The fact is not that God wasn’t doing enough to help me, or that He wasn’t able to help me. He was simply waiting to help me. The fact is that I needed to choose freedom. I needed to have a desire to remove the bonds of sin of coveting/controlling in order to choose God. God has more than enough strength to remove our bondage to sin–we need to want to remove the bondage to sin.

I realized that I was trying to fill an empty void–feeling discontent with my body and image–by filling it with another temporary action (losing weight). But filling this void with something temporary is like pouring sand into a bag with a hole in the bottom. No matter how much I pour into the bag, it will always leak out. The void will always seek for more and more–desperately trying to be healed and filled. No matter how much I gain weight or lose weight, I will never feel content. This is because my original design was not to take control of my body by getting thinner, to bring glory to myself by achieving the coveted thin body frame. It was not to fulfill MY desires. My original purpose–as His creation is not to take control of my life, but it is to surrender to the Creator.  

I am finally starting to accept my body as it is. Regardless of whether I’m 10 lbs lighter or 10 lbs more, I want to love what He has graciously given me.

Looking back at photos from times where I was simply content with my body and had a healthy relationship with food, I realized how much freedom I once had. Food wasn’t an idol to me, nor was it an enemy. It was something that I simply enjoyed, something that I was grateful for. It was God’s creation that invited joy and unity as I shared delicious meals with family and friends.

I want to care for my body because it’s the ONE body that God has given me. This body is a temple of the living God. Because of MY need to control, MY self-absorption, MY obsession with looking a certain way–I deprived my body of the necessary food and nutrients it needs. I took away from God’s original design for me and my body because I was so absorbed with my need to control. God’s original design for me was to simply worship Him. Part of worshipping Him is to honor the temple He has given me. How can I honor this temple when I am physically and mentally depriving my own body? By tormenting my body physically by choosing not to eat/eating as little as possible, or tormenting my mind by consistently thinking about every calorie, every nutrient, every food label–I am dishonoring the temple He has given me.

I want to glorify God by honoring what He has given me. I want to glorify God by surrendering my control over food every single day.
And for the first time in a while, I feel so much freedom and peace as these desires to honor and glorify God surpass the desires to restrict and control.

My hope and prayer of sharing this is not simply to share a personal story about myself, but to empower those struggling with body image/weight/beauty issues. I hope you realize that when we choose to honor and worship our Father over worshipping ourselves (by being obsessed with control over our lives/our bodies), you will feel MORE peace and freedom than anything else the world can offer you. God created you as His MASTERPIECE. Whether you are smaller or larger, taller or shorter, God molded every aspect of your body and said, “It is well”. As His masterpieces’ let us glorify the one who is worthy.




4 thoughts on “the Freedom (restriction) of eating

  1. Great post Soyeon! Always such a treat to be able to read your posts. As Brian said, you show incredible vulnerability here. Vulnerability allows others to connect to us. I hope many others who can relate to what you have battled with may be encouraged and enlightened!


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