Author and speaker Andrew Farley frequently emphasizes that we are “clean and close,” not dirty and distant. It is by God’s grace in forgiving all of our sins that we are clean—even our consciences are wiped clean (Heb. 9:14; 10:22). When we grasp and enjoy this grace of forgiveness, it is no longer necessary for us to punish ourselves or distract ourselves from guilt, as many women do through overeating.
It is by God’s grace in joining us to Christ that we are close—we now have unfettered access to God’s very presence. We don’t have to shame-facedly slink up to God and hope he will help. Instead, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16, NIV) God is not waiting for us to pull ourselves together and handle our problems in a godly way. He is ever available to provide us with the grace we need when each problem arises. So we no longer need to overeat in the face of stress and difficulties, because we can boldly go to God for the help and solace we need.
It is by God’s grace that we have been born again—given a new heart, new motivations—and are no longer slaves to sin (Rom. 6:6; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24). Because of this change in our nature, we can know that overeating is not natural, but a way of trying to meet perceived needs that only God can truly meet. Women overeat to provide for themselves comfort, affection, protection, and self-punishment. Trying to crack down on overeating through self-effort (such as dieting) does not appropriate the grace God is lavishing upon us. Instead, it is in admitting our deepest needs, fears, and doubts to him and relying upon him and his resources that we find we turn less and less to food.