Autumn Leaves 3 Column

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Yoke of Over-eating

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” Lev. 26:13

Most people today aren’t familiar with the term “yoke”. A yoke is a devise enclosing the heads of two draft animals together, usually oxen, so that an individual can drive them to perform tasks such as plowing or pulling a wagon. Oxen are large, powerful, animals and if you’ve ever seen a team of oxen performing a task of pulling a plow, it truly is amazing that one man can manage these animals in such a manner. In the above Scripture, I was caught by the word-picture of God breaking the bars of the yoke that enslaved the Israelites. As we can see from the picture, it would take a lot of power to break the bars of a yoke!

I have been enslaved in a yoke, a cycle of over-eating causing gain and loss that has accompanied me throughout my adult life. This last “gain” cycle started a few years ago with an event that was incredibly painful to me emotionally. I had absolutely no responsibility in what took place (meaning I was not involved with the event directly) but the consequences had a tremendous effect on me personally. I realized that I had felt powerless over the outcome of the event, an outcome that caused me pain! Looking back at my emotional pain and loss at the time, I am recognizing that my response to pain is to return to my yoke, the yoke of over-eating as a source of comfort, rather than turning to God.

My daughter Shannon shared something very powerful with me a while back that God has brought to my mind again and again. We were discussing why I turn to food and I said something to the effect that when I eat I feel better. And she looked at me and she said, “Mom, you don’t feel better, you feel different.” Wow! That statement hit me square between the eyes! She was right, I didn’t feel better; what I felt was numb, an absence of the pain. But then the numbness would wear off and the pain would return. So how was I going to be comforted in my pain and begin the process of removing the yoke of over-eating? I’ll share that next time! Meanwhile, I would love to read your comments and hear what gives you comfort when you feel pain.

And by the way, for accountability’s sake, I’ve been working out three days a week for the last month! Not easy, but satisfying!


  1. For me, my default is anger. I hide my pain inside a good bout of angry outbursts. Which inturn causes me to get depressed and I then head to bed and throw the covers over my head and sleep away the rest.
    If I could just name the pain instead, get it out in the light, I wouldn't have to shove it down till it comes out as anger.
    Right there with you in the discovery process!


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