I borrowed this book from my mom because I had just read Lysa Terkeurst’s Uninvited and loved it. I love her voice, her passion, her compassion. I deeply admire how she has clung to God and humbly pointed her family and the world back to Him in the face of very public and humiliating struggles. Lysa Terkeurst is the real deal, folks. She’s one of my heroines and one of the most powerful champions for truth in modern women’s ministry. Anyway, I picked up Made to Crave from my mom’s bookshelf and thought I’d give it a try.
It did not disappoint. As with any topical Bible study, this book has a very narrow focus: in this case, Lysa is specifically addressing women who struggle with unhealthy food choices. Honestly, it was exactly what I expected. It was relatable, often humorous, always classy and steeped in Scriptural references. Lysa talked about how her addiction to food led to predictable weight gain and misery. I’m pretty sure the majority of women have been there, done that, got the “fat jeans” to prove it.
Lysa’s approach is compassionate and relatable. There are a plethora of food-related issues that she could have touched on that she chose to leave out for sanity’s sake. One book simply could not possibly address every single issue a woman (or person in general) could have with food. From the wide range of eating disorders to physical ailments such as diabetes to fad diets and even the chemical additives found in modern foods – there’s simply too much to address! Lysa does a fantastic job of addressing the issue that is most pertinent to her, and coincidentally, to me; that is, the struggle to make healthy eating choices and avoid a sinful addiction to food.
WHOA. WHAT?! Are you saying food is sinful?! NO. Just hold on a minute. Food in and of itself is not sinful. I’m a firm believer that God made food for our nourishment, but also for our enjoyment. I mean, have you ever had ruby-red, freshly picked strawberries, or bit into a juicy, plump Georgia peach? Have you ever enjoyed a juicy grilled steak or a warm, hearty bowl of soup on a cold day? Do you reap the benefits of coffee on a regular basis? You get my point.
Our relationship to food only becomes sinful when we allow it to control us. I don’t mean planning your day around your kids meals and snacks. I carry snacks in my purse at all times for contingency purposes – I get it! What I mean is do you ever sneak unhealthy snacks? Do you obsess over what you’re going to eat on a regular basis? Are you addicted to unhealthy foods like fast food or potato chips or candy or sodas? A lot of foods contain addictive components such as caffeine and can become full-blown addictions if you’re not careful.
For me, it’s caffeine, especially sodas, and chocolate. I would obsess over ensuring I had a soda in the morning with breakfast, another one at lunch, and even one with dinner sometimes. And I always, always had a candy bar in my purse. Usually a Butterfinger or 100 Grand, because those are the best candy bars ever. I would get angry if I couldn’t have my fixes, and I was dependent on the caffeine. It was completely unhealthy and it was effecting not only my health, but also my moods. This is when my relationship with food began to cross over into the murky sinful area. I was deliberately choosing to allow certain foods to control my moods and habits, to the detriment of my health and relationships. I knew they were bad for me; I simply didn’t care.
In the book, Lysa explains how we don’t need to follow fad diets or severely restrict our eating habits. Rather, we need to learn to submit our lives and our decisions to God in humble obedience to His plan for our lives. He wants us to live a life that is healthy and points others to Him. When I submit my decisions about my health to Him, I’m also teaching my kids how to make healthy decisions and develop lifelong habits that will leave them with appropriate, healthy relationships with food.
After reading the book, I was shocked to read the reviews on Goodreads. I should have known that a book about God and weight loss would be extremely polarizing. Is this the best book I’ve ever read in my life? No. That wasn’t Lysa’s goal. Her goal was simply to breathe hope into the lives of women everywhere who struggle to make healthy eating decisions.
There’s a balance here that each person has to find for themselves. From the Balance 365 program I did through Healthy Habits Happy Moms, I learned that moderation is key. “Everything in moderation,” or as the Bible says:
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.
Sometimes there are cut-and-dry rules laid out in the Bible by God, such as the Ten Commandments. Sometimes we’re left to discern for ourselves, using guidance from the scriptures and prayerful consideration. The Bible is clear that gluttony is a sin, but beyond that the only guidance given is that our food choices become sinful when they are allowed to rule us in any way.
This book was well worth the 19 days it took to read. I did it as my quiet time every morning, reading one chapter per day and reflecting on the questions at the end of each chapter. It’s completely changed the way I think. Whether you struggle with food issues yourself or are looking for ways to explain to your kids why they have to eat healthy foods, I recommend this book to all women.