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Change Your Relationship with Food FOREVER with Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst
I’m a Christian mental health therapist, a wife, and a mom of two kids. I’m also a woman who has struggled with my relationship with food for the better part of my life. I have never been significantly overweight or underweight. And most people looking at me would view me as small. But I wasn’t taking care of my body well.
And I found myself trapped in a cycle for years. I loved junk food and sugary items. I always have. They had been my go-to food group whenever I had a bad day. Or when I had a great day. And don’t forget when I was running late and just needed to grab something.
I would have great resolve to stop eating junk food. Usually this lasted for a period of time until life got tough. College stress. Work stress. Baby, toddler, kid stress. I would then give in “just once” and the cycle of cravings and “who cares” attitude happened all over and I was back in the thick of candy bars, Oreo’s, and Cheetos.
Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
I stumbled upon Lysa Terkeurst’s book Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food while I was researching a different book for one of my clients. The title alone was enough for me to want to read the book and hope that I would finally be able to push through food cravings.
Made to Crave
Like any other Lysa Terkeurst book, Made to Crave is filled with scripture verses and biblical principles. She describes going through the bible to focus on all verses addressing food. Lysa also writes with vulnerability in sharing her battle and journey with food.
From the very beginning the book grabbed my attention and frankly made me uncomfortable. Lysa addresses the different of “how to” and “want to”. I know how to change my diet and exercise but like so many women, my want to waxes and wanes. She also writes a long list of rationalizations we come up with on a daily basis to minimize our issue with food.
The book then brings up Matthew 19:21, Jesus responds, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” This is about money right? Lysa writes, “I imagine Jesus looked straight into this young man’s soul and said, ‘I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me. Then come, follow me.'”
Gulp. I realized then how much I needed and wanted to read this book and see where it took me.
At the end of each chapter are personal reflection questions that I highly recommend to take the time to answer.
Chapter 1 – What’s really going on here?
Chapter 1 focuses on our cravings and the belief that God created us to crave. Above all, Him but also crave our desires and our talents (which was also created by God). The chapter addresses that cravings, if from God, are not bad but we focus them on other things that cause us harm. If we are able to view our craving as of God and place our sights on Him, we then would be more focused on Him.
The chapter also discusses Satan’s attempt to pull us from God through cravings, lust of the eyes, and boasting. Cravings: meeting physical desires outside the will of God. Lust of the eyes: meeting material desires outside the will of God. Boasting: meeting needs for significance outside the will of God.
Lysa discusses when tempted with a craving to use scripture to combat it as Jesus did against Satan in the desert.
Chapter 2 – Replacing my cravings
Lysa poses a difficult question – Is it possible we love and rely on food more than we love and rely on God? There have absolutely been times that my answer is yes. With guilt and sadness I had to agree with these next few sentences: I relied on food more than I relied on God. I craved food more than I craved God. Food was my comfort. Food was my reward. Food was my joy. Food was what I turned to in times of stress, sadness, and even in times of happiness.
This chapter lays out a challenge to use a craving for food as a prompt to pray instead of food. This very quickly takes you back to “want to”. How bad do you want this? How bad do you want to be rid of your stronghold with food? Because when you set the intention to pray during a food craving and ask the Holy Spirit to give you guidance and strength to seek God and not food, you have to want to listen.
Chapter 3 – Get a plan
Chapter three focus on the work necessary for growth and how so often we want to skip the work and get straight to the results. This chapter addresses the necessity of a healthy eating plan that works for you and addresses your specific goals and desires.
I’ve read this book twice. The first time I didn’t have a very concrete and structured healthy eating plan. While I still saw growth in my food battle as well as significant growth in my relationship with God I wished I would have had a better plan. The second time reading this book I took the time to focus on a healthy eating plan, too. At the same time I also read Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig and followed the Whole 30. Melissa Hartwig’s book gave me the practical food advice while Made to Crave gave me the spiritual tools I needed.
Chapter 4 – Friends don’t let friends eat before thinking
This chapter addresses accountability and the potential benefits of inviting a friend to join the journey to healthy eating. Most people don’t believe they need accountability in regards to food because they think they can handle it by themselves. However, Lysa brings up all of the other aspects of accountability in our life and how that motivates us to follow through.
Chapter 5 – Made for more
You were made for more than your food cravings! Lysa focus on the Ephesians 1:17-19 to illustrate this point and help us through our journey. Be persistent in asking for God’s help. Embrace our true identity and not our false messages about ourselves. Find the deeper reason – “so that we may know Him better”. Discover a hope and power like no other – “that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened”.
Chapter 6 – Growing closer to God
Lysa writes, “Growing closer to God has a whole lot less to do with any action we might take and a whole lot more to do with positioning our hearts toward His. This chapter focuses on our calling and our commitment to God. She goes on to say, “Don’t think physical food can satisfy the longing of your soul. Only Jesus can do this. Our souls were created to crave Him and love others to Him.” Being ruled by anything other than God is something God takes quite seriously.
Chapter 7 – I’m not defined by the numbers
This chapter addresses the multiple ways we feel like we don’t measure up and how to respond to that experience. Do you withdrawal or go into fix-it mode? This then can be seen when the number on the scale is not what we want it to be or the size of our jeans. Lysa uses three great questions to combat her self-defeating thoughts: Is this true? Is this beneficial? Is this necessary? I have used these questions many times myself as well as recommended them to my clients as ways to break down the false statements we fall into.
Chapter 8 – Making peace with the realities of my body
Lysa writes, “The body God has given me is good. It’s not perfect nor will it ever be. But it is a gift for which I am thankful.” This chapter is all about shifting our motivation and focus from a desire to be smaller but rather delighting in the accomplishment of obedience to God through healthy eating.
This is a hard chapter and requires time and patience with yourself. We each have a body part or feature that we have disliked or desired to change for a long time. To be able to make peace with that aspect of our body and actually see the benefit of it take self-love and trust in God’s design of you.
Chapter 9 – But exercise makes me want to cry
Learning to embrace the benefits instead of resisting the hardship of exercise. This chapter focuses on the benefit of exercise and praying for God’s power to take over your weaknesses. It also addresses our control of time and making exercise a priority for ourselves but also as a way to honor God by taking care of the body He created.
Chapter 10- This isn’t fair
This chapter focuses on our struggles with resentment for having to deal with food issues. It helps to address when we start to feel indecision, wavering, and resentment that we are trying to rely on our own strength to get us through the journey rather than relying on God’s strength and power.
I don’t know about you but I know I’ve have my fair share of pity parties in regards to my food struggles. This chapter was a good reminder of being thankful for this struggle as I have to rely on God so heavily to succeed. And relying on God is what we are called to do.
Chapter 11 – Stinkin’, rotten, horrible, no good day
This chapter addresses how you handle difficult seasons in your life as well as the challenges of a bad day. Lysa discusses our tendency to try to put a mask on and pretend everything is okay. Unfortunately that also means you are not leaning on God’s help either. She talks about replacing old lies about food with new truths about God’s love.
Chapter 12 – The curse of the skinny jeans
Chapter 12 discusses our struggles once we have reached our weight loss goals. We often tie happiness to the wrong things and needing to learn to remain in God. When we let ourselves place our happiness in other things we set ourselves up for failure because they are not consistent and constant like our God.
Chapter 13 – Overindulgence
This chapter discusses the concept of gluttony and how your church as well as the Christian people around you focus on food. Lysa uses the Exodus story to demonstrate how God taught His people to depend on Him by giving them just what they needed each day. This is really good news. We don’t have to do it alone. We are supposed to rely on God daily to help us.
Chapter 14 – Emotional Emptiness
Lisa writes, “Each time my heart felt a little empty, my stomach picked up on the cues and suggested I feed it instead.” Boy have I done this! This chapter discusses how our past painful relationships do not have to continue to hold us back and foster emotional emptiness. We can view it like broken pieces of glass being made to use a beautiful mosaic.
Chapter 15 – The demon in the chips poster
This chapter discusses the need to set up boundaries surrounding food. Setting boundaries before the situation arises is a way to set yourself up for success instead of being faced with temptation and not having a plan.
Chapter 16 – Why diets don’t work
Chapter 16 address how diets focus on sacrificing for a season. However most of us aren’t able to maintain a life of sacrifice. But Lysa describes now “on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine are of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness.” That’s a much more positive and beneficial way of viewing this journey.
Chapter 17 – The very next choice we make
This chapter discusses the concept of discipline. Lysa focuses on the connection between holiness and daily disciplines with food. She uses Ephesians 4:24, “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Lysa also writes, “The very next choice we make isn’t really about the food…It’s about whether or not we’re positioning ourselves to live the kind of God-honoring lives in which, by God’s strength, sustained discipline is possible.”
It is really about a million little small yeses on a daily basis to achieve discipline.
Chapter 18 – Things lost, better things gained
I have come back to this chapter multiple times because I believe it is so powerful. “Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial.” This verse is focusing on not being mastered even by things in our life that are permissible.
I do not have any food allergies, therefore all foods are permissible for me to eat. However, added sugar is not beneficial. I get significant cravings from sugar and I struggle to be able to eat it in moderation. Too many times I have started to eat something sugary with the intent of eating just a small portion and I end up eating the whole thing. And I’m talking packages and containers! Added sugar is just not beneficial and it masters me. I do not want to be mastered by earthly things. So for me personally, I chose to give up added sugar.
Chapter 19 – Live as an overcomer
“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” Revelation 2:7. This chapter focuses on the promise from Psalm 107:17-20 that God hears our distress and He heals us with His Word. It is acknowledging your victories and identifying the factors that lead you there so that you can continue the process.
I loved this book even when I didn’t because it was hard. God shows us our stronghold and hardships to rely on Him and seek victories through His strength. There was a reason why I stumbled upon this book when I wasn’t looking for it. Maybe this post is God’s nudge for you!
I sincerely hope that the book Made to Crave helps you to overcome your food battles and grow in your faith with God. For other Christian books that have made a difference in my life and my clients, check out my reviews on Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram and Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge.