Friday, July 22, 2011

examining our hearts in eating {food on friday}

Image: Piyachok Thawornmat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Healthy eating is important to most of us. We often desire to change our eating habits for the better. But why?

Before we can change the way we eat, I think we have to examine our hearts.  

Eating is necessary for life, and I believe God gave us food for our enjoyment, and for His glory. Did you realize that eating is referenced 700 times in the Bible? Food is the stage around which many Biblical stories in both the Old Testament and the New are set. And eating is specifically addressed in I Corinthians 10:31, where it says, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 

So eating is important for our bodies - not only physically, but spiritually, and it's for God's glory.

Food is necessary for our existence, but we are so busy that we don't stop to really think about what we are putting in our body. Is it healthy? Is it good for my body? Or is it harmful to me? Will this particular food be helpful to supplying my energy needs? Will it make me feel sluggish and bloated and keep me from doing what I'm supposed to do?

Then to the spiritual side- am I thanking God for the food he has so abundantly provided? Or, am I turning to food to replace God as my comfort? How do I think of food? Do I obsess about what I'm going to eat so that I won't gain a pound- has food itself become my god?

So we can see there is definitely more to food than just eating for survival. 

We need to examine what relationships we have with food before we can change our eating habits. What is our motive for healthy eating? Do we seek approval from others for our looks? Do we deprive ourselves of the enjoyment of food so that we can gain recognition or acceptance for our size?  Or, on the other hand, do we enjoy food too much, and rather than having self-control, we allow food to reign over our bodies, making what we are going to eat the focal point of everyday life? 

Our bodies are temples of the Lord, and He created us for His purpose.

In 1 Cor. 6:19-20 it says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

Sadly, sometimes we make the very feeding of the temple itself an idol. We seek to maintain and feed our bodies, but when we take it to one extreme or the other, we've gone too far, seeking our own glory and not His.

God wants our focus to be on Him, not on our own appearance or desires. For women, this is a huge struggle as we seek to do His will but find our focus on weight loss or weight gain instead of what He wants for us. It's a battle that's not black and white; the war is internal, and it's not one we like to talk about.

I face the battle myself- I find myself far too worried about an extra inch or two, and what I'm going to eat or not going to eat. I want to be real with you guys- I'm as guilty as anyone else. God has been gracious to start showing me my faults in this area and is changing my heart, and I'm so grateful for it! Oh, it is amazing to serve the Lord. He is so, so kind and patient with us, even though we don't deserve it.

It's a delicate balance- one of desiring to honor the body that God has given us, and being thankful and enjoying the food He has given us. It's easier said than done, of course. But God gives us so much grace. Being thin isn't a sin. Being overweight isn't a sin. It's the focus of our hearts- are we letting food control us either way? Pray through this. And don't be afraid to let God take over the stronghold eating and your appearance has in your heart.

On the practical side, are there little daily decisions we could make that would make us healthier for His glory? Sure, I think so- like replacing fake foods with the foods He has provided naturally gives us healthier bodies. Instead of eating processed and preservative-injected chicken nuggets, you can choose to eat a fresh grilled chicken breast. It's just about being thankful and enjoying the naturally-occurring food God has provided for us here on the earth.

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
So do we have to make every food decision perfectly? Should we go all-natural everything? No, it's about moderation and healthy decisions, focusing on what God has for your family.  It's not a legalistic system where you have to drink hormone-free milk or you're not living for Jesus. Absolutely not. It's about seeking God's will, and God's glory as we enjoy the wonderful blessing of food, not focusing on ourselves and our pleasure, but what He wants for us. 

And do we have to be perfectly fit or in shape? No way. It's about taking care of our bodies so that we can do what He wants. Are people who don't exercise sinners? No. Are people that enjoy exercising often sinners? No. It's all about the heart and motive of the person doing it. And there's grace to be found there- each person is different and unique, and no woman will be exactly the same as another. 

Pray over what God would have you to do in this area. He gives us so much help if we ask for it, and turn our burdens over to Him. It's truly amazing that He cares, even about what we eat and our inner struggles with appearance. Isn't that cool?!  :)

What parts of eating do you struggle with? Do you feel the inner battle raging too?


Linking up at Encouraging Words!

11 comments:

Kelli@morebangforyourbucks said...

Wow, this article is very convicting and thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing with such a pure heart!

mandyBH said...

Oh, I know what you mean! I love desserts- I'd rather eat those than real meals! :) makes me happy to give you "food for thought!" :)

Edu Francisco said...

Thanks for this post. It's always a struggle for me to eat the right foods, since the bad ones are always the best tasting ones. Being Asian, white rice is always something I look for during meals, and that is already a bad thing to start off with. And then, I also find myself liking foods rich in fat or salt. I know I need to change this for better health, but the food is just so good! However, relating food to spirituality is a fresh perspective for me , so thanks for sharing your views on it. Something for me to think about.

NotSoRandomStuff said...

I used to think of food as related to miles run, if I eat this that equals 2 miles needed to run. So not healthy, but God has gently dealt with me and I think I've gotten to a better balance. I try to eat clean and save my treats for special occasions-but it's tough sometimes to keep a healthy balance. Thanks for sharing this perspective!

Ashley Weaver said...

I just found your blog as well and am totally enjoying it :) I was blessed by this post. Food is always a struggle for me. i enjoy it and sometimes too much. Lately i have been searching ways to add a little more healthy, natural foods for my husband and I; my baby 9 months and I want to lose a bit more before we try for the next one. I love researching recipes and cooking. I try to use that as my ministry to my husband and my friends and family that visit. Food is way more fun when it is enjoyed with others!

Brianne said...

I have just recently found your blog and I must say I am loving it!! I found this article very convicting but also very comforting as I am struggling with my weight right now. I just had a baby 3 months ago and the weight isn't coming off as easily as with my other 2. Thank you for tastefully and respectfully writing about this subject!

Mandyslovelylife said...

this was very well said! so often we hear the "if you are overeating you are not honoring God" part of it, but i have always felt that those with a holier (healthier)-than-thou attitude were just as wrong spirited. enjoy food, using wisdom and moderation!

Elaina said...

I just found your website and I love it! Thank you for all the hard work you put into it! =)

Mrs. Williams said...

My best friend emailed a link to this post to me. I am so thankful that she did! I have been trying to lose weigh and obsessing over food. I am going to hand my struggles over to the Lord. Thank you again and God Bless.

Christina said...

Do you have any thoughts about watching television? It seems like the more tv I watch the more mindlessly I eat....sounds silly, I know.

Natalija said...

I am so happy I discovered your blog today. This is such a wonderful balanced article. I struggle myself for years with this, either going form one extreme to the other or just give up and let myself go. I just had my 7th baby at age 40 half a year ago and truly need to start not only thinking, but actually doing something about eating better, getting into some kind of shape and being healthier and drop some excess weight. But as you said, most of all, doing this to the glory of God and not for vanity. Thank you.

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