James heard daily how incredibly special he could be because his older brother was a star athlete. His parents believed that their younger son could also be the best player on his Little League team as well. Unfortunately this was unmerited praise for he was not. Professing to be Christians, James’s parents attended church and appeared to live godly lives until they attended their son’s Christian school games. That is when their testimony soured. His parents embarrassed their son with their cat-calls and criticism of the other team. Every coach who benched him “Didn’t know what he was doing, was stupid and a lousy coach.”
Children need realistic boundaries, balance, guidelines and goals. Each child has a different personality and skill level. James loved books more than sports and dreamed of being a famous chef. But his parents continually urged him toward goals which were unrealistic. So few high school players ever go on to become a pro athlete and when James failed to win a college baseball scholarship, he felt like a total failure. He’d never be his brother. As James lived with the daily pressure of his parent’s expectations, he became increasingly resentful and bitter. I’ll never be good enough for them!
Upon entering the real world and away from his parents, James believed life would be easier but it wasn’t. To James, having grown up in an all or nothing environment, he didn’t possess the social skills needed in the business world and failed at every job he tried. But he had found his champion hobby . . . becoming a champion eater and 388 pounds.
He searched for an outlet to fill the emotional emptiness in his life. Food was that substance. James innately discovered that certain chemicals released through food, created feelings of pleasure, especially sugary foods. The more he ate, the more he could numb the pain of his parents nagging. Chemicals satiated his love hunger.
Addiction is addiction is addiction. If it hadn’t been food, it would have been smoking, shopping, alcohol, drugs, gambling or even television. Something needed to fill his inadequacy within. Whatever chemically makes one feel so good it can’t be given it up is an addiction. It masks the pain through its chemical attributes. It’s the reason why many addicts run from one addiction to the other, trying to fill emotional gaps in their lives.
As a child of God, we need to realize that we are each different but useful to Him even with our imperfections. I’d urge you to read to your children the many examples of flawed people who were used by God: Jonah was a coward, David was a cheater, Paul was a murderer, Moses stuttered, Thomas doubted and so on. Allow your own children the luxury of being imperfect. Teach them it is okay to fail if we rise up again! Life is a continuous learning experience and we learn from our mistakes. Each child has a unique personality and reward them with your love because of that!
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16 )