Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Enjoy Food

A crisp, juicy apple.

The crunch of a banana pepper.

The sweet taste of the first red raspberry of the season.

The aroma of pesto sauce and parmesan cheese.

The warmth of a cup of soup on a cold, wintry day.

The delight of watching my family enjoy the meal I fashioned.

Besides providing food to sustain us, God provided it for our pleasure. The Bible provides numerous examples of celebrations with a feast.

“He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your heart with joy.” (Acts 14:17)

God gave us the ability to determine hunger. And He satisfies that hunger with good things. (See Psalm 103)

How do these truths fit with our previous discussions on food?

Can you expand on this idea of food for enjoyment?

Do you have fond memories that surround a food experience?

Sunday, September 19, 2010


The local MOPS coordinator invited me to speak at a meeting in October. My topic? Food, lies we believe and the truth that sets us free. Last night I began compiling previous blog entries and streamlining them into a 20-25 minute presentation. While reviewing, cutting, adding, and editing, my mind kept wandering to the frozen yogurt stashed in the freezer. Literally. I read a sentence about how Satan tells us lies that we believe. Then I thought about which topping I would add to the yogurt after I finished working. I read a sentence about using food and how it can be an idol. Then I thought about better toppings for the frozen yogurt. This cycle went on for two hours. Two hours.

Typically I would shrug the thoughts away or maybe confess the sin (idolatry) and try to keep going. But, last night I got mad. I mean really. How ironic. It is just like Satan to badger me with the very thing I am writing about. Well, I had enough. I walked away from the computer and found my husband (he is my pastor, after all). I told him my struggles. He prayed. I confessed to God and relied on His strength. I knew He didn’t want me to eat frozen yogurt (I had eaten my quotient of sweets earlier). I rested in the knowledge the decision was final and continued writing. Victory!

What is my point? These lies are deeply ingrained. What was the lie I believed? When I was trying to ignore the thoughts or shrug them away, I believed “I” could stand up against Satan and his lies. When I stopped to confront the sin, recognized I could not wrestle the thoughts on my own, and bowed at the throne of grace (with my husband leading), God reigned.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Are you weary and heavy-laden? Wrestling with Satan and flesh is tiring. Jesus says to come to Him and He will give you rest.

On a different note, if you haven’t already, take a moment and read Laura’s comment after the last blog entry. Excellent thoughts.

I am thrilled to see blog visitors from Russia, Ireland, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and all over the U.S. Keep praying for God’s truth to reign. Also pray for the ladies attending MOPS in October.

Monday, September 13, 2010


When I asked “What lie do you tell yourself to justify eating ___?” Julia responded with the following:

I often use any success I can achieve as an excuse to reward myself with a treat, effectively un-doing the good I did! For example, "I only weighed _____ this morning, so I can have ice cream!" or "My blood sugar level was great today, so I'll eat two cookies instead of one!" or "I walked three miles today, so I can eat three slices of pizza!" I'm not saying there is no place for a special treat or a reward, but I do it entirely too much to call it a "special" treat.

First of all, Julia, yeah for the treats you picked – all special favorites of mine. I cannot relate to those who reach for a piece of hard candy. I’d rather sip on a glass of water than have to wait out the melting of something that will just leave a yucky film on my teeth and tongue anyway.

But, in all seriousness, most of us understand “treating” ourselves. And, truthfully, I don’t think “treats” are wrong. So where is the lie? Well, Julia pegged it when she said she did it entirely too much. Unfortunately, “too much” is ambiguous. I am walking a fine line here. Remember, this blog isn’t about eating the “right thing” in the “right amounts.” It’s about lies and truth. Julia disclosed she had crossed the line. How will you know if you have crossed it?

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is it the “treat” that keeps you going?
  • Do you feel deprived if you aren’t able to have your “treat”?
  • How often do you think about the “treat” to come?
If the “treat” drives you toward your goal, the lie rules your mind, not God.

Let me walk you through the steps I would take to dispel this lie and replace it with truth.

  1. Recognize the lie as sin. (Anything that takes the place of God is sin. Allowing my thoughts to wander toward a “treat” or defining “treat” differently than how God wants me to is sinful.)
  2. Repent. Lord, I look for excuses to treat myself. I allow a success to be cause for a reward. Thus, I am “un-doing” the good. I confess this as sin and choose to turn from it.
  3. Turn from the lie to the truth. Let me reiterate that we want to replace the lie with truth.
It’s this last point I want to dwell on. Julia’s comment resonated with me. My husband and I spent 45 minutes debating the validity of treats. What’s wrong with them? What’s ok about them? When are they acceptable? Those sorts of questions. And then a thought popped into my head. What if we re-define “treat”? Society dictates what a “treat” is. But, why should we allow society to tell us what a special reward or treat is? “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

So what else is a treat? Well, depending on how God defines your eating habits, other types of food could be a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed a grapefruit I ate the other day. I didn’t intend for it to be a treat, but it was.

What about physical activity or reading a book or alone time or facebook time? Could any of these be your special reward or treat for a job well-done?

I was excited to read this comment posted by Beth: “I actually have been diligent in my "diet" this week, and haven't really suffered from it at all. I keep reminding myself that I'm doing this not as a punishment, but as a reward to feel good. So, as a reward to me, I've been blessed by seeing the scale go down 4lbs since Sunday. YIPPEE!!”

This is an excellent example of replacing lies with truth. Beth’s reward was weight loss and feeling good.

I noticed recently my back hurts less when I stay away from sugar and dairy (read: ice cream). Less pain is a real treat!

What about you? What else would you consider a treat?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Last week I visited a shopping area in Naperville, IL. The first thing I noticed was the number of food places. I didn’t count, but by eyeballing I predict there were as many places to purchase food as all other types of shops combined. Grateful I had eaten my snack at the frozen yogurt place, I turned one corner to see a Haagen-Dazs, Cold Stone Creamery and a gelati place (Italian ice cream) all in the same block. I surely would have caved and sprinted toward the Haagen-Dazs if I hadn’t made the smarter choice already (which happened coincidentally since I was unaware of the impending temptations). Thank you, God. All of these food choices reinforced the thought that we are obsessed with food.

My friends and I walked into the Barnes & Noble and I headed for the discount table. I noticed a book entitled Thin is the New Happy by Valerie Frankel. Intrigued, I opened the book, and began skimming/reading. To be fair to the author, I should disclose I did not read the entire book. What follows are my impressions based on the little bit I did read. The author states that she hit one hundred pounds when she turned eleven. Her mother declared her obese and put her on a strict diet. Long story short, that event was the beginning of her addiction to diets. (She used the word addiction.) If I understand correctly, the author spent the next however many decades trying every diet in the world. The “high” came from dieting itself. At some point along the way she realized her eating patterns were connected to how she viewed herself. The Cinderella ending came to fruition when she realized all of this and dealt with it (don’t know the details cause I was skimming) and now she no longer diets, but parades around in a size eight anyway. I never did figure out why the book is entitled Thin is the New Happy.

What is my point? One, happiness is not found in a size. Two, Ms. Frankel (and her mother) bought into a lie hook, line and sinker. Health benefits are never mentioned as a reason for all this dieting. Instead, she dieted to look a particular way. For what purpose? To be loved by her mother and others. Truthfully, as I read, sadness crept in. Not just for this author, but for all of us who have felt what she describes.

My conclusion? The author has an identity crisis. She doesn’t know who she is.

Let me step away from this particular book before the reader misunderstands my intentions. The book is merely the catalyst to remind me that knowing who we are is vital to understanding and, especially, believing truth.

Each of us was created by The Creator. “For we are God’s workmanship . . .” Ephesians 2:10. Additionally, we are loved unconditionally by God. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1 When we believe He loves us as we are, there is no need to search for it from others.