At my weekly Bible study recently, we broke into small groups and were instructed to pray about our issues and listen for and write down God’s answers. I prayed about the strongholds of food and TV.
After praying, one friend in our group of three said this is what she felt the Lord gave her: “Food-comfort from past hurt. TV-knocks out loneliness. Sit with Me without either and let Me show you I AM there, right with you. Hebrews 13:5. (“I will never leave you or forsake you.”) I will comfort. God of ALL comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3)
The other lady in my group said, “Go back to that child and find out why you turned to TV and food.
What came to mind, which I spoke out loud to them was this: “I didn’t want to feel my feelings.”
She said, “He felt your pain.”
The first lady added, “He cried when you cried.”
What the Lord gave me as I called out to Him at the Bible study was, “Sup with me—literally and figuratively. (Invite Him to be with me when I turn to food and also take time to enjoy “eating” the food, which is His Word. See Jeremiah 15:16) Time with Me has no negative side effects, like TV and food.”
Then the Lord brought a song to my mind which He gave me years ago to sing to myself and to the psych patients I worked with. The song had comforted the adult in me, and I first received the song from the Lord in the present tense, but God wanted me to sing it over the little child in me and look back to my childhood as I sang it:
Rest assured, my child, I loved you.
Rest assured, my child, I cared.
When life was hard, and the road was long,
know that I was always there.
When you couldn’t understand,
I was holding Your hand.
So rest assured, my child.
Then I was given this instruction: Time with Me first.
I realized that watching TV and eating are not bad. It’s just that I have chosen them so many times in my childhood and since instead of God—that during times when I believed the lie that God abandoned me, I maintained a strong hold on TV and food because I couldn’t seem to gain or regain a strong hold on God.
I felt like I had gone through therapy at the Bible study, and I determined to receive the truth presented there to help fully tear down those strongholds which were based on lies about God and whether He cared about me when I was a child and whether He cared about me when He let such hard things happen to me as an adult.
I realized one of the emotions which was a trigger for me as far as turning to food and TV was depression.
How I long to turn to God as my stronghold immediately when I feel depressed.
Here are verses I looked up which speak of God as my stronghold:
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9 NIV
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. Psalm 37:39
Note: In the Amplified Bible in some of these verses, after the word “stronghold,” in brackets there are the words “refuge” and “high tower.” That helps me to understand more about God as my stronghold. Next, I could look up verses with those words in them.
Then I discovered Psalm 43, which I can pray instead of turning to food and TV during those times when I feel God is not my stronghold, which will help to set my soul straight.
“Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. (In my life, it’s “unfaithful,” rejecting people.) Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
After reading this, I see that David was depressed and felt God was rejecting him. I relate. So I see when I go to God, I can tell Him how I really feel–like David did. A revelation just came to mind. Sometimes I have a hard time going to God because I want to be over my negative feelings and thoughts before I do.
Even as I had the above Psalm ready for each day, and I understood facts about my strongholds, when more disturbing circumstances happened this week, I still turned to food and TV at times. I realized how much of a habit it was. I also saw that although I wanted to use food and TV to avoid dealing with my feelings—especially depression—turning to these strongholds only made me feel more depressed.
One truth that came to mind in regard to depression over circumstances is Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Even though some bad things are happening lately, I can choose to believe this truth.
I see that another issue involved in turning to strongholds other than God is that when hard times come, on certain days I feel too immobilized to pray. Instead I say—I speak about the negative circumstances in between turning to food and TV. Instead of this, I can turn to others who will pray with me or go directly to God in prayer.
I want to turn to God. I long to cry out to Him and ask that He alone be the stronghold of my life, but I admit that some days I feel blocked from doing that. I long to receive more of His truth in order to remove these blocks and tear down these strongholds that seem to have been torn down at one time or perhaps many times, but I have rebuilt them once again as hard times came.
In the days ahead when new circumstances may once again tempt me to believe more lies, I feel determined to receive and believe the truth that no matter what happens, God is there to be the stronghold of my life, and I can let go of every other stronghold. I pray the hurt child in me and the broken-hearted adult will let go of lies and fully receive truth. I realize I haven’t yet arrived there; I’m still in the process of doing that.
Lord, I’m ready to have these two strongholds demolished. I know it may take time, but I trust You to help me to turn to You instead of to them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“When We Pray” by Tauren Wells