Bread and wine confession time. I remember being lured by dieting as a pre-teen, maybe earlier, drinking Tab cola and Herbalife shakes. In high school, lunch often consisted of a Diet Coke and a handful of Pringles or a deli roll from the lunch lady, who would raise a disapproving eyebrow at me. Throughout my twenties, I binged and starved my way through the hills and valleys of multiple pants sizes, bouncing up and down the scale like an out-of-control pinball at the whim of whatever emotional tide the flippers were riding that day.
I remember thinking the French spelling for bread (my favorite guilty pleasure) was quite appropriate—le pain. Caught up in the woe-is-me culture of the nineties, I also indulged in whine, that is, wine (and its many bar-mates). I’d unknowingly created a warped version of the modern communion meal: Le pain dipped in whine. But Jesus wasn’t even on my radar— my eyes were on myself. Worse yet, I was looking at a caricature of myself that I’d created by imagining what everyone else thought of me.
Thankfully, my story would not make good material for one of those artsy Sundance films with a bummer ending. It’s much more a romance… a rescue story. The kind we all connect with on a heart level. And my hero wasn’t just any man, he was one-of-a-kind. I’d known him since I was a girl, but wasn’t ready for a relationship, so I rejected him. But he never gave up on me. He relentlessly, but quietly pursued and wooed me. He was a gentleman, never forcing himself on me, but allowing time and consequences to show me how much I needed him. A true prince. Finally one day—only after I’d made a royal mess of things—I’d had enough of my way and turned to him for help. I found love. I got my life back.
I doubt it’s a stretch to assume that one or two of you have struggled with food or alcohol in your life too. I’m hoping you’ve met my man, Jesus—that He’s your Man too, that you were rescued just like I was. But here’s my question: What happens after the Prince rescues the princess? And they all lived happily ever after, roll credits? Not exactly—at least that’s not my experience. Real life, even life with Jesus, isn’t always so cut and dry. He’s healed me, yes. My piles of pain and stores of whine are shrinking, but I haven’t arrived… I’m on a journey.
If you’re still struggling, you’re not alone. I don’t have a 12-step program to offer. It’s more an infinite-step program… one foot in front of the other, day after day, following Jesus (who knows a thing or two about bread and wine). More about that tomorrow. Until then, if you need prayer to get through this day, drop me a note and I’ll send up my voice and support you in any way I can.