At an early age, we learn to have fear if we feel no one is protecting us or if we feel we have to protect ourselves from someone who is abusing us and we can't tell anyone for some reason. When we begin to develop our concept of Father God, we cannot seem to believe He will protect us and so we self-protect. Perhaps we do that with anger, control, overeating, overachieving, drinking or drugs.
False Protections Become Strongholds
Whatever we choose as a false protection we allow to become a stronghold in our life. It makes us feel protected for a short time period. For instance, if a father figure in our life sexually abused us, we may turn to food, thinking if we are larger we can protect ourselves better.
Remember this is the emotional reaction of the child who is us. As we grow up we understand this isn't the truth, however the little girl is still with us because she is us. So she still wants protection.
This sets up the juxtapose behavior within ourselves that we can't understand. Why can't I lose weight? I want to, but I just can't seem to stick with it. That's because the fear has been stuffed with food and the little girl is crying to be heard. Her emotional needs are crying louder than your adult cognitive needs.
This same thing can happen if a wonderful, loving mother or grandmother feeds us delicious high-calorie food. It doesn't matter that it was only given on special occasions or when we visited, it still begins to set up that comfort equals those foods. And when we aren't around those people and want comfort, we go to those foods.
It happens before we realize it. Certain foods or extreme overeating has become a stronghold in our lives. It gives us a physical feeling of fullness that we equate with the comfort or protection we crave. It really isn't the food we are craving, it's what only God can provide for us —protection and comfort.
I know this to be true, because I allowed comfort foods to become a stronghold in my life. I paid it homage and allowed it to set up a solid fortification around me. Of course, the Holy Spirit's role is Comforter and Teacher, but I never got there completely until in the last few years. Though, had you asked me, I would have felt I had a good relationship with the Holy Spirit. In reality, it was sadly lacking.
The dismantling of strongholds comes in various ways, but in the final analysis we must get to the root issue and allow God to replace the lies or pretenses the little child within us believes and then allow the God to become our strength and pour His truth into our hearts.
God always trades up. I gave Him my desire for comfort foods made with processed sugar and flour, and He gave me His comfort and protection. As I have asked Him questions about next steps on this journey, He teaches me. There's so much more communication with Him these days. I have questions and He has answers. We are a perfect combination.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on this subject. I will write more on this subject. Until then let me say, if you KNOW you have allowed a stronghold in your life, name it, renounce it, hand to God and ask Him, "What do you give me in exchange?"
Will you do that and tell me your results? And ask your questions. They may become the subject of my next blog post on this subject.
Teresa Shields Parker is an author, speaker and coach. Her book Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the #1 Christian weight loss memoir on Amazon. She shares transparently and openly about the challenges of losing an extreme amount of weight.
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