Many people I have conversed with about food will admit to some sort of problem. Some laugh it off . . . and some cry. But it is obvious that an escalating problem in today’s society of plenty is how we deal with food. Our minds reel with questions: What should I eat? What shouldn’t I eat? How much should I eat? Why should I eat that? Why shouldn’t I eat that? We meditate on it. We mull it over. We munch on it (pun intended). We toss the questions around until we feel as if we are on a merry-go-round with no off button. The thoughts consume us. And there is no place to hide . . . or is there? “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:5) Let’s hide in the One with the answers to our questions. Let’s seek His wisdom in this dilemma.
At the core of the issue is how we perceive food. Our perceptions differ from reality. So, let’s look at the reality side. What is the definition of “food”? What is its purpose? Until a few years ago I never stopped to ponder these questions. But since we deal with food on a regular basis (that’s an understatement), we should answer these questions. Here are my initial thoughts:
Food can be . . .
- a comforter
- something to keep my mouth and hands busy
- the satisfier of my cravings
- what I use to keep my stomach from talking to me
- an outlet for my creativity
- a necessary evil (having to think about and plan three meals a day can be mentally exhausting)
To add to that list, a friend told me yesterday food is something we fellowship around. I agree. Typically, a gathering includes food and/or drinks in the midst.
My question Monday prompted these answers:
Karen said, “It's the essential "building blocks" our body needs (and God created) we need to eat so as to be healthy and strong. God also provided food for enjoyment (which is where I tend to stumble!).” Karen brings up a great point concerning food for enjoyment. I will address this in a different post.
Connie said, “We were created in His image. We are to do His work. To do His work we need to be healthy and strong to do that work.”
Janice said, “We must have a balance between the essentials our body needs and eating what we enjoy.”
My Scholastic Children’s Dictionary defines food as, “Substances that people, animals, and plants eat to stay alive and grow.”* Hmmm. Really? Substances? Sounds boring and unappetizing. There is no depth. Where is the enjoyment in that? I wonder what my husband would think if tomorrow he asked, “What’s for dinner?” and I responded, with a lilt in my voice like all good wives have, “Substances, dear.”
I prefer a definition I heard at a conference: fuel for our bodies. Again, not very appetizing (the smell of gas fumes comes to mind). However, this definition helps me keep the right perspective on the purpose of food. When I think of fuel, I think of something that keeps me going. I am compelled to ask: What is the best fuel for our bodies? To take that one step further, we are told in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (for those in Christ). Therefore, the real question is: What is the best fuel for God’s temple?
The living God dwells within this body that He created. Why would I want to poison it? Why would I want to fill it with substances that are harmful and contrary to what God desires?
Lord, thank you for your Spirit that dwells within this temple You created. Please enlighten me on the best fuel to maintain it and keep it going. Amen.
Five years ago I asked a group of women what they tell themselves to justify eating improperly. We assembled the list and set out to dispel each lie with a biblical truth. So . . . I want to ask you the same question. What lie do you tell yourself to justify eating ______ ? To prime the pump, I will start: Just one won’t hurt.
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*Scholastic Books, Scholastic Children's Dictionary (New York: Scholastic, 1996), 204.