21 Sep That Time I Didn’t Eat Chick-fil-A for a Year
Chick-fil-A is like manna from Heaven.
The breading on the chicken, the waffle fries with Chick-fil-A sauce, and Lord, have mercy, the cookies. A trifecta of tastiness.
I could eat my weight in this fast food chain’s delightful fare. Once upon a time, that is.
Once upon a time I ate it a lot, but then I ate it the night my life fell apart, and I couldn’t eat it again for over a year.
The night my life fell apart, my husband left. I didn’t see it coming and I didn’t want it to happen, but it came and he went, and my life has never been the same. In that moment of extreme trauma, my senses were heightened, and I can still recall the strangest details from that night. I can close my eyes and be back in those moments. I can see what was around me, and I can hear what was said.
One part I’ll never forget is the physical sickness that came after the emotional pain. My body broke just as my heart did, and I wondered if I would actually die of a broken heart. I had heard it was possible, and it certainly felt so.
After that night, I couldn’t eat for weeks. Nothing would stay down, and nothing sounded good. Why nurture a body whose soul has been shattered?
Chick-fil-A was my last meal for quite a long time, and the very thought – or smell – of it took me back to that night. I avoided it at all costs.
But in doing so, I was holding on to what God was inviting me to release.
During our separation and after the divorce, I experienced more change than I had in 30 years of living. I learned more of myself than I ever wanted to know, and I learned more of my God than I had in 12 years as a follower. The night that changed everything really changed EVERYTHING, and simple things like what I ate – and didn’t – became lessons for me.
You see, it wasn’t about the food from Chick-fil-A. It was about what I associated it with, and it was about the memories I connected to that manna from heaven. Strangely, I let that food become a stumbling block for myself, a physical connection to a night I couldn’t let go.
I don’t believe God will ever ask me to forget that February night. He doesn’t want me to pretend it never happened. But I do believe He has asked me to release its position as the night that defined me. He has asked me to take it from a place of excruciating pain to a place of unrivaled testimony. He has asked me to allow him to redeem what was destroyed.
It seems so silly, but in holding on to Chick-Fil-A as an anchor around my soul, I was allowing myself to be held down when God wanted me to soar.
What are you holding on to today? What strongholds is God inviting you to release so He can take you to a new place?
Every day, it seems, God shows me another area of my life where I am greedily grasping at old memories and refusing to let go. It’s not the memories that are the problem – it’s their position in my heart. It’s their prominence in my life. It’s my pride that won’t let go.
King Solomon’s words were true thousands of years ago, and they still ring true today:
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
Seasons change, like it or not, and our lives have seasons that come to a close. I have learned you cannot force into being what God has allowed to end. You cannot resurrect what God has allowed to die. His ways are higher, and though it may not seem true for a very long time, his ways are better. We will only find this to be true when we release with open hands what we have been grasping with tight fists.
Releasing is never easy. It means giving up control, being uncertain of the outcome, and trusting that your empty hands will be filled with something better.
They will be.
Examine your heart. Ask God for insight. Look at what you can’t let go and figure out why. Then uncurl one finger at a time and release that stronghold bit by bit to the One who can replace it with something far better.
No old memory is worth forfeiting new heights. God wants you to soar, but it will start with you letting go of old anchors.
When you do, your life will never be the same.
And what once made you cry will make you rejoice with new praise.