Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst caught my eye a couple of years ago when a numbers of bloggers spoke highly of it. I was interested, but I thought from the title that it probably focused more on the emotional side of eating, like another book I read. I knew that was one factor in my problem with weight, but it wasn’t the only factor. I forgot about it until the e-reader version showed up either free or just a couple of dollars for the Kindle app last year. I got it then, but still didn’t crack it open. Then I saw on one of my friend Kim‘s posts that the Proverbs 31 Ministries, was hosting a six-week Bible study using Made to Crave, so I thought this would be an ideal time to read the book. The study just concluded last week. I’ve been jotting chapter notes here.
The book chronicles Lysa’s journey from being almost 200 lbs. down to a healthier weight. She discovered along the way that losing weight is not just a physical issue, but also a spiritual and mental one. The subtitle of the book is Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food. She explains that the Greek word translated “seek” in Matthew 6:33 is the word for “crave.” She says of the rich young ruler, who wanted to follow Jesus until Jesus asked him to sell his possessions and give to the poor. “Jesus didn’t mean this as a sweeping command for everyone who has a lot of money. Jesus meant this for any of us who wallow in whatever abundance we have. I imagine Jesus looked straight into this young man’s soul and said, ‘I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me. Then come, follow me.'”
“When Jesus says, ‘Follow me,’ it’s not an invitation to drag our divided heart alongside us as we attempt to follow hard after God. When Jesus wants us to follow Him – really follow Him – it’s serious business. Here’s how Jesus describes it: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mark 8:34).”
“God never intended us to want anything more than we want Him. Just the slightest glimpse into His Word proves that, Look at what the Bible says about God’s chosen people, the Israelites, when they wanted food more than they wanted God: ‘They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved’ (Psalm 78:18). Yikes” (p. 28K). Those who did so never made it to the Promised Land, but wandered in the wilderness the rest of their lives.
There are multitudes of spiritual principles discussed throughout the book, but there are physical ones as well, such as the fact (proven through research) that junk foods are addicting and do make one feel less full. Some people seem to be able to eat them with no problems – some people seem to be able to eat an abundance of foods with no problem – and we struggle with that feeling unfair, but we can’t compare ourselves to others and think, “If they can eat it, I should be able to as well.” If “they” don’t have issues with food, they have issues with something.
She gives mental tips, too (which overlap somewhat with the spiritual), such as have go-to scripts for certain situations to change the mental processes we’re used to and concentrating on what we’re gaining while going through this process rather than what we’re giving up.
Something that really stood out to me from the first chapter was the observation that Eve fell while surrounded by plenty: Jesus stood strong while in a deprived state of having fasted 40 days and nights. When I feel “deprived,” that’s no excuse to give way to temptation. “He quoted God’s Word. And so can we. When we feel deprived and frustrated and consumed with wanting unhealthy choices, we too can rely on God’s Word to help us.”
Another standout (among many) was the application of I Corinthians 10:12-13: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The “way out” the Lord provided for Lysa, she says, was deciding in advance what she will and won’t have that day. I have to admit, when I think of the “way out,” I think more of God coming to my rescue with supernatural strength and reminders of His truth rather than this kind of thing, but He does also say “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (I Corinthians 10:5), and planning is part of doing that. In Israel’s battles, sometimes God supernaturally intervened, and sometimes they had to take up their swords and fight in reliance on Him. When God gives me that “sword” with His promise of help and grace, I’m to use it while relying on His grace and strength, not wait for Him to do the battle for me.
I didn’t quite agree with every little application or illustration (the most serious disagreement was when she was asked how to grow close to God and she replied, “By making the choice to deny ourselves something that is permissible but not beneficial. And making this intentional sacrifice for the sole purpose of growing closer to God. After all, Jesus Himself said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’ (Luke 9:23).” I don’t think that’s what I would answer if someone asked me how to draw close to God. I think I would have encouraged being in the Word and praying as well as dealing with any sin in the life and yielding our wills to His. I can see people taking this premise of denying something permissible and running with it beyond anything God intended). But overall I benefited greatly from the book and would highly recommend it to anyone.
This will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)