Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food

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by Lysa TerKeurst

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Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn’t a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him. Many of us have misplaced that craving by overindulging in physical pleasures instead of lasting

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Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn’t a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him. Many of us have misplaced that craving by overindulging in physical pleasures instead of lasting spiritual satisfaction. If you are struggling with unhealthy eating habits, you can break the “I’ll start again Monday” cycle, and start feeling good about yourself today. Learn to stop beating yourself up over the numbers on the scale. Discover that your weight loss struggle isn’t a curse but rather a blessing in the making, and replace justifications that lead to diet failure with empowering go-to scripts that lead to victory. You can reach your healthy weight goal – and grow closer to God in the process. This is not a how-to book. This is not the latest and greatest dieting plan. This book is the necessary companion for you to use alongside whatever healthy lifestyle plan you choose. This is a book and Bible study to help you find the "want to" in making healthy lifestyle choices.

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18 Years

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Made to Crave

By Lysa TerKeurst


Copyright © 2010 Lysa TerKeurst
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-29326-2

Chapter One

What's Really Going On Here?

Recently, a weight loss company came up with a brilliant advertising campaign. Maybe you've seen some of their ads. A little orange monster chases a woman around, tempting and taunting her with foods that obviously aren't a part of her healthy eating plan. The ads perfectly capture what it feels like to be harassed by cravings all day long.

While I've never seen this orange monster chasing me, I've felt its presence. My resolve feels strong until the next time I get hungry. And unhealthy choices are always so convenient. They are packaged and preserved and sing of salty and sugary highs tailor made for a hungry stomach. You don't find fresh fruits and veggies conveniently located in a nearby vending machine. So, I give in to that bag of chips or a candy bar because I am so hungry and it will only be for this time. These empty calories do nothing but taste good in the moment and then set me up for more unhealthy choices just a short time later.

We crave what we eat. So, the cycle continues day after day. Hunger pang after hunger pang. Craving after craving. The orange monster is there reminding me of all the delicious choices that would satisfy in ways healthy choices never would.

So, while the orange monster is a great way to visualize cravings, the ads fall short in their promise to really help a woman. The weight loss company's theory is to teach what foods are more filling and encourage consumption of those. But does that really help overcome cravings?

For me, it does not. The answer will never be found in only learning to modify my choices. Choosing better foods is certainly a part of this journey. However, simply telling me to eat healthier foods that will help me feel full longer doesn't address the heart of the matter. I can feel full after a meal and still crave chocolate pie for dessert. Just feeling full isn't the answer to sticking with a healthy eating plan.

If feeling full were the answer, then gastric bypass surgery should be 100 percent successful. This surgery shrinks the size of a person's stomach, thus shrinking the amount of food necessary to give them a full feeling. However, one study showed the failure rate for patients who were followed for at least ten years was 20.4 percent for morbidly obese patients and 34.9 percent for super obese patients. Even a significant number of those whose lives are at stake—and who have drastic surgery to help them—can't always stop their cravings by simply feeling full.

So, what's really going on here?

I believe God made us to crave. Now before you think this is some sort of cruel joke by God, let me assure you that the object of our craving was never supposed to be food or other things people find themselves consumed by, such as sex or money or chasing after significance.

Think about the definition of the word craving. How would you define it? defines craving as something you long for, want greatly, desire eagerly, and beg for. Now consider this expression of craving: "How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, event faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God" (Psalm 84:1-2).

Yes, we were made to crave—long for, want greatly, desire eagerly, and beg for—God. Only God. But Satan wants to do everything possible to replace our craving for God with something else. Here's what the Bible says about this: "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world" (1 John 2:15-16). The passage details three ways Satan tries to lure us away from loving God:

The cravings of the sinful man

The lust of his eyes

The boasting of what he has or does

Let's define these things. According to the commentary in my Life Application Study Bible (NIV), the cravings of the sinful man are misplaced physical desires—issues with our food or sex outside of marriage. In other words trying to get our physical needs met outside the will of God. The lust of the eyes is being enamored by material things. The New Living Translation actually equates the lust of the eyes as "a craving for everything we see." And lastly, the boasting of what one has or does describes the actions of someone chasing what she thinks will make her feel significant.

Cravings = trying to get our physical desires met outside the will of God

Lust of eyes = trying to get our material desires met outside the will of God

Boasting = trying to get our need for significance met outside the will of God

Remember in the introduction when we briefly talked about Eve? She was lured by the serpent into eating the forbidden fruit. As I was studying this story I realized how intentionally Satan chooses his tactics. He knows where we are weak. He desires to lure us away from God. And he knows what works ... the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has or does.

Satan used all three tactics with Eve. "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food [cravings of the sinful man] and pleasing to the eye [lust of the eyes], and also desirable for gaining wisdom [boasting of what she has or does], she took some and ate it" (Genesis 3:6). Eve was tempted in precisely the same three ways the 1 John passage warns us not to be lured away from loving God.

But it doesn't stop there. Look at how Jesus was tempted:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"

Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Again, the pattern of temptation is the same:

Cravings: Satan appealed to Jesus' physical cravings for food.

Lust of the eyes: The devil promised Jesus entire kingdoms if He would bow down to the god of materialism.

Boasting: The enemy enticed Jesus to prove His significance by forcing God to command angels to save Him.

But here's the significant difference between Eve and Jesus. Eve was saturated in the object of her desire. Jesus was saturated in God's truth.

I obviously wasn't in the garden with Eve, but based on three phrases from Genesis 3:6, I can only infer she never took her eyes off the fruit as she: saw that the food was good, pleasing to the eye, and desirable. She didn't walk away and give herself time to really consider her choice. She didn't consult Adam. She didn't consider the truth of what God had clearly instructed. She didn't talk to God. She focused only on the object of her obsession.

Remember what I said at the beginning of this chapter ... we crave what we eat. If I make healthy choices over a period of time, it seems to reprogram my taste buds. The more veggies and fruit I eat, the more veggies and fruit I crave. However, if I eat brownies and chips, I crave brownies and chips in the worst kind of way. Eve craved what she focused on. We consume what we think about. And what we think about can consume us if we're not careful.

Jesus sets a beautiful example of breaking this vicious cycle of being consumed by cravings. It's even more powerful when we understand that Jesus, unlike Eve, was in a completely deprived state. Eve was in a garden of paradise with her every need provided for. Jesus had been in a desert, fasting for forty days. I can't imagine a more deprived state. And yet, He held strong and set a powerful example of how to escape the vicious grip of 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.

With each temptation, Jesus, without hesitation, quoted Scripture that refuted Satan's temptation. Truth is powerful. The more saturated we are with truth, the more powerful we'll be in resisting our temptations. And the more we'll naturally direct our cravings where they should be directed—to the Author of all truth.

Cravings. Are they a curse or a blessing? The answer to that depends on what we're craving. And what we're craving will always depend on whatever we're consuming ... the object of our desire or God and His truth.

In the next chapter we'll talk about how to practically consume God's truth in a way that truly satisfies. For now, consider what it means to the success of your journey to quote Scripture in the midst of a craving attack. One of the most meaningful Scriptures I used in this process is "'Everything is permissible'—but not everything is beneficial" (1 Corinthians 10:23). We'll talk about this Scripture more in a later chapter, but I quoted it over and over to remind myself that I could have that brownie or those chips, but they wouldn't benefit me in any way. That thought empowered me to make a beneficial choice rather than wallowing in being deprived of an unhealthy choice. For other helpful Scriptures, check out the section starting on page 195. Make a point to write out meaningful verses for this journey and quote them aloud each time the orange monster tries to talk you into tarrying with him a while.

I know it's a battle, sister. But we aren't rendered powerless. The more saturated we are with God's truth, the more powerfully resistant we become. Stick with me here—this isn't a plastic Christian answer. It's one that will change our lives if we let it.

Personal Reflections

1. One weight loss company personifies craving as a little orange monster that chases us around, tempting us to eat unhealthy foods. Take a moment to reflect on your own experience of craving, recently and over time.

If you could personify craving based on your experience of it, what form might it take? Would it be like the little orange monster or would it take a different shape? Describe what your craving looks like and how it behaves.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with this imaginary craving, what do you think it might say to you? What questions would you want to ask it? How do you imagine it might respond?

2. How do you respond to the idea that God made us to crave (page 20)? Have you ever pursued a craving—a longing, passion, or desire—that made a positive contribution to your life? What do you think distinguishes that kind of craving from the craving that leads you to eat in unhealthy ways?

3. If it's true that we are made to crave, how might it change the way you understand your cravings? Do you believe there could be any benefits to listening to your cravings rather than trying to silence them? If so, what might those benefits be? If not, why not?

4. The Bible describes three ways Satan tries to lure us away from loving God: cravings, lust of the eyes, and boasting (1 John 2:15-16). Lysa explains how Satan used these tactics with both Eve and Jesus (pages 22-23). Using the list below, think back over the last twenty-four hours or the last few days to see if you recognize how you may have been tempted in similar ways.

Cravings: meeting physical desires outside the will of God. In what ways were you tempted by desires for things such as food, alcohol, drugs, or sex?

Lust of the eyes: meeting material desires outside the will of God. In what ways were you tempted by desires for material things—clothing, financial portfolio, appliances, vacation plans, cosmetics, home dicor, electronics, etc.?

Boasting: meeting needs for significance outside the will of God. In what ways were you tempted by desires to prop up your significance—perhaps by name dropping, exaggerating, feigning humility or other virtues, doing something just because you knew it would been observed by others, etc.?

Of the three kinds of temptations, which is the most difficult for you to resist? Which is the easiest to resist? Why?

5. Jesus quotes the truth of Scripture to defeat temptation (page 22). Have you ever used Scripture in this way? What was the result? How do you feel about the idea of using this approach to address your unhealthy eating patterns?


Excerpted from Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst Copyright © 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Made to Crave 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 217 reviews.
RoxanneRollins More than 1 year ago
Lysa Terkeurst has written an amazing book. I found out about it when I heard Lysa speak recently at a women's conference. I have had issues with food for most of my life. I was hesitant to purchase the book because no other book I have read has ever resulted in lasting change. I thought, "I'll just be wasting my money if I purchase yet another book about this issue. I'm just going to have to accept the fact that this will be a lifelong struggle and that I will simply have to do the best that I can." I have so wanted to be free from emotional eating, but I never thought it was possible.until now. Lysa has hit on the heart of the matter: We were made to crave. Through personal anecdotes and what she has learned from scripture, Lysa helps us to see that our "issues with food are not a curse" but an opportunity to turn to God. He wants to heal our hurts and satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. Our souls crave Him. Recognizing that longing is the first step to turning away from food for comfort and living in the freedom Christ died to give us. This book is a must read for everyone who has a love-hate relationship with food.
ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst is an inspiring devotional for women trying to end their addiction to food. Terkeurst realized that she was really putting on too much weight and that she was using food for all of the wrong reasons; it was a comfort and reward, instead of simply fuel for life. She's tried other weight loss plans in the past, but ultimately, they have all failed, so she was determined to find a plan that would work for life, a way of truly changing the way she viewed food permanently. Terkeurst focuses in on how women tend to use food for all sorts of emotional reasons when we should be turning to God. When we are depressed or stressed, instead of turning to our Comforter and Refuge, we grab chocolate and salty snacks. Terkeurst made it her goal to turn to God for those emotional needs and finally fulfill the true craving that she was trying to fill with food. She isn't alone in this battle. Many Christian women are struggling with this exact problem, and Terkeurst's book is a unique and important way to truly change our relationship with food. She doesn't pretend that this will be easy, in fact she confesses to breaking down in tears on multiple occasions about trying stop the habit, but the end result is a woman who is feeling truly good about herself and closer to her Lord. That's a goal we can all aspire to, and Terkeust puts the tools in this book. The journey will be a hard one, but she's provided the tools and support to help readers out.
ajreinecke More than 1 year ago
This book has changed my outlook on food for good. I couldn't put it down, and I will recommend it to every person I know who has weight struggles. If you are willing to open your mind, and your heart this book can change your life!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have you need discipline in your life, this books is great. I've always had a weight problem. Reading this book made me understand that I don't have to go to food. It will always make me empty again. But going to God, His river is always flowing. To fill me with His love.
Beaglegirl More than 1 year ago
I have had eating issues ALL my life. This book put it into perspective and gave me concrete tools with how to address it. Lysa talks about cravings as not being bad, which I liked. But that our cravings need to bring us to God. I liked the scriptures she used as well as her great sense of humor. If you've had food issues AND a love for God, this book is a must read
LaurieWM More than 1 year ago
I decided to read this book after hearing Lysa TerKeurst on K-Love radio talking about her battle with weight and eating healthy. She stated that she discovered, she craved food more than God. That made me think - what other things have people placed first in their lives - things they crave more than relationship with God. Although I don't necessarily have an issue with food, I read this book to aid me in my 21 Day "non" fast! I titled it "Made to Crave - 21 Days to Reloationship". I had decided to not fast in the ordinary sense of the word, as I've done many times before, but to focus on building relationship with my Father God! There were things in my life that had taken center stage. I decided to put those things in their proper place and make God first again!Lysa's book helped me see and understand that putting God first puts everything else in proper perspective. She is very honest in this book about her battle with food and the underlying issues she has. She talks about her straight-forward plan to put her craving for food in line with God's Word. By reading this book, she hopes you will begin craving God more than you crave anything else in your life - including food!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 36 & I have never been able to lose weight until now. Our weight issues are not some petty issue to God. He cares about food. He just wants us to care about HIM more! This book will show you the Biblical reasons you need to eat right, not the worldly ones. READ THIS BOOK!!!! I have lost 27 pounds since May. God is what I crave now, not food. He. Is. Amazing.
BookaholicTracy More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my mum. she said she loves it and it has changed her outlook on food.
wdean More than 1 year ago
I wish I bought the book so I could unline, and refer back, so I am rereading it all over and taking notes as I read it this time. I am even getting more out of it this second time around. I am seeing how this is all true what she says and has inspired me to try harder, pray and read the Bible more, and how true the Verses are to food. wow!! I use to live to eat! now I see we should eat just to live, no more piggin out!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It gives you true stories and real advice for daily life. I love this author because she understands what it is like to be a teen who just wants to be pretty or have a boyfriend. I would recomend this to any girl who is strugglin with who they are or are wishing to be someone else. Aftr reading just a few chapters it changed the way i looked at myself. It also pushed me to have a craving for god and not for the world. I loved all of it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to preview this book before it is offered in our church as a Bible study, and I got hooked. You don't have to have a weight problem to see that we crave many other things, things that take our attention away from God. I think that every woman needs to read this book and do some soul-searching, allowing God to reveal what is our idol.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the 3 books I have of Lyssa's and are reading them over and over each day to keep refreshed and renewed. If you are seriously wanting to build a better relationship with God and would like to loose weight. You should love these books.
SD81 More than 1 year ago
Very good book! This book has encouraged me to eat healthier and crave more of God!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very encouraging and funny book. Well written and made you feel exactly what the writer had endured. I would recommend this to anyone that couldn't believe they could lose weight. Plus and added bonus is to know that God is there all the way with you, but in an encouraging way! SUPER!
angelinaCO More than 1 year ago
Heard about the book on KLOVE radio. A great alternative to the average "diet" book. Offers a way to make changes upon realizing what you are really craving, which might not necessarily be food.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book about our attitudes regarding food, weight loss, and how it affects and is affected by our relationship with the Lord.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it looking for something I did not find. Instead I found something much greater and deeper. Usable in other areas of life than food.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got so much out of Made to Crave. Lysa Terkeurst's honesty and way of looking at God, life, and food were eye-opening to me and I ordered another of her books, too, but haven't finished it yet. I was so impressed that I went to her website, got to see her talk in person and I believe she's a very honest down-to-earth woman and helps so many of us struggling with body image, our weight and diets. I enjoyed reading her Bible verse references, too. I highly recommend this book for any female with a problem with body and weight issues.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a nice tool for anyone looking for a new perspective on themselves and their relationship with God. It's easy to read and her writing is relateable so it makes it engaging. It's a good reference tool to turn back to in times of struggle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for motivating you to change the unhealthy aspects of your life. While it is mostly about overweight people, it can be read by anyone who is tired of having something other than God be at the center of their life. This book encouraged me to start putting God first and doing things that will bring Him glory, for only when I do that will I truly see the changes I want. P.S.: it's also funny!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be extremely inspirational! It is very helpful if you need the motivation to take care of your body and desire a closer relationship with God,too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is just what I really needed. Crave God not food! It's a wake-up call. I believe it's the ONLY answer to those of us who have battled with overeating and weight gain. I have been in this battle for most of my 66 years! I have lost and regained hundreds of pounds in my life and never found permenent success. Diets and food rules don't work! I believe Lysa has found the solution.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and could so identify with the author regarding her struggles with food and her relationship with God.
Veronica Browning More than 1 year ago
I just started reading this book and all I can say is wow! I!m highlighting like crazy. Very convicting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only read a third - I thought it was simplistic and not at all useful ..crap ...