BY JOY PEDROW

I kneeled on the floor, took off my sweater and exposed my fat arms, the ones that I usually hide. Sweaters cover my imperfection, while sleeveless shirts show the world I struggle with weight management.

But here I am on the floor of my bathroom, crying out to God, because I’m sick of being addicted. God already sees my brokenness, He knows my heart struggles, so why not show Him my fat arms too.

Sadly, no one really knows about this problem, at least the extent of the struggle. Because I always wear a sweater. Why do I hide this from others? Why do my closest friends not even know about this?

I thought getting engaged would fix me. I'd have more motivation to eat healthy for the wedding day and night. The problem is that now I feel even more guilty when I eat sweets. Now I feel that not only did I let down myself but I’m hurting my fiancee.

Now, I think about how fat I’ll look in that white dress. Most women don’t wear sweaters with their wedding dress.

Now, I think about the moment after the wedding when all the clothes come off. No women wear sweaters on their wedding night.

If I stayed the weight I am at now, I could learn to love myself. I could work on self-esteem and self-love and affirm myself daily. But, the problem is more than the weight on the scale. (Well, some days it is when I can't fit into an outfit I really want to wear.) Usually though, the problem is what's underneath my weight. What's behind the fat and the bone and the skin.

Addiction.

Gluttony.

Craving.

The desire for sweets.

Some days I feel so free. I think back on my walk with God and realize how much freedom He's given me. Freedom from shame. Guilt. Sexual abuse. Sexual addiction.

But then I think about the other ways I'm still not experiencing the freedom that Christ already gave me.

Freedom from the desire to eat. This gluttony and addiction. And I feel alone. Shameful for this struggle. No one talks about gluttony. But look around and you can tell that this sin is in our church. I'm not saying that all people who are overweight struggle with gluttony, but I would think most do unless they have a physical ailment of some kind.

I want my life mission to be bringing freedom to other women, yet I too need freedom myself.

Can we ever outgrow freedom?

Can we as Christians finally reach maturity to the point of discovering freedom in every area of our lives?

We are humans living in the in between of the already and the not yet. We know that Jesus will come back one day, yet we are still here waiting for Him. We have a taste of His freedom but while we wait, we don't have all the freedom.

Oh how I long for complete freedom.

There have been times I've stolen chocolate from my roommates because I craved sugar. Gluttony is real. And sometimes it makes you lie, cheat, and steal.

I remember being a little girl and my parents telling me I couldn't eat the sweets we kept in the tall kitchen cabinet. After bed, when the doors all closed and the lights turned off, I quietly opened my door and went downstairs. I rolled over the tall chair and got on top to open the cabinet. My heart raced as I looked around. Hoping no one saw me. I grabbed the sweets and would run back up the stairs to my room. This went on for years.

How does a child start this habit? How can I stop it from continuing for the rest of my life?

I want God to remove my sweater. Permanently. Get rid of the comfort I have in wearing a sweater. I live in Texas, no Texas girl should wear a sweater in 100 degree weather.

I want to love my body and I want freedom from this addiction.

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