May 27, 2022
By Gina Padilla
During my quiet time the other morning, I found myself singing, “Looking for love in all the wrong places. Looking for love and too many faces. Dah, dah, dah. Dah, dah, dah. Oh, I forgot the words.”
I chuckled as I had fleeting thoughts of mechanical bulls and John Travolta in a cowboy hat (if you are under 50 – ask someone). I thanked God for my husband and that I didn’t have to go looking for love in all the wrong places. But as I continued my quiet time, the song kept popping in my head.
As I thought about the song, I realized that although I was not out actively hunting for love apart from my husband, there were times I was seeking love, approval and comfort from people or things other than God.
I experienced this most recently as my husband and I dealt with Covid. I had a mild case with a sore throat and fatigue. My husband had a more severe case with lots of coughing and body aches that kept him in bed for most of two weeks. He never had trouble breathing and I was never concerned that he had to go to the hospital, he just felt terrible. During that time, I took on household jobs that he would normally do, in addition to caring for and waiting on him. It wasn’t a big deal, except for the two days we got a lot of snow dumped on us and the snowblower didn’t work!
I sought God often during my husband’s illness. God was with me every step of the way and I felt very close to Him during this time. However, I also found myself doing something else. I began to seek comfort in junk food, which I normally don’t do. I was doing the grocery shopping — which my husband usually does — so I would buy myself a little treat because I felt I deserved it.
I’m not saying that having a little treat now and then is bad, but I began to look for “comfort” in the junk food and soon I couldn’t stop myself from eating more. I started to look forward to it. I bought more and more and kept telling myself that I deserved it. In addition to not having energy to work out due to Covid, I was now getting addicted to food that wasn’t good for me. In my head, the food was actually making me “feel” better in my circumstance. It became somewhat of an idol to me.
I was still seeking God every day and enjoying my time with Him, but I was adding “comfort” food to my daily practice. I was doing what the Israelites did when they added additional gods to their worship. (The Israelites did this many times. However, 2 Chronicles 28:1-4 gives an extreme example during the reign of King Ahaz.)
God is the place I should be going to for comfort, not Little Debbie. Although I was not trolling in a honky-tonk “looking for love in all the wrong places,” I was trolling in the bakery aisle looking for comfort in all the wrong places.
“This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me“Psalm 119:50 NASB
Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying it’s wrong to have treats, but I was giving that treat power over me that it shouldn’t have. I was looking for comfort in the treat. I was telling myself I was feeling better for eating the treat even though I wasn’t. God should have been sufficient for me in those moments, but I took something man-made to give me comfort in addition to my time with God. I repented of this sin and turned my focus back to God. Just God.
“But as for me, I will sing about your power.
Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress“Psalm 56:19 NLT
I still wrestle with my junk food addiction especially when I am tired or stressed. I think, “If I just have some chocolate, I will feel better.” When I feel this, I know I have to get in the Word and keep my eyes on Jesus. My thinking is messed up and I’m lying to myself by thinking I “need” the chocolate to “feel” better. Again, it’s fine to have chocolate. It’s fine to eat a cookie. It’s fine to enjoy a glass of wine. But when those things are “needed” and we find ourselves craving them, we are giving them a power over us that they shouldn’t have.
As the apostle Paul, so beautifully reminds us:
“‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but I will not be mastered by anything.”1 Corinthians 6:12 CSB
Photo Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters