Monday, September 7, 2009

Eating as a Spiritual Discipline

So I've been on this diet for the past week, and have one more week of the "boot camp" aspect of it until I get more daily calories (the first two weeks help you lose more weight right away). I've actually seen some good results in my weight, but more importantly I'm learning an important lesson.

Cooking and eating healthier foods, in smaller portions, and being conscious of what I eat, does not come naturally to me. I'm a busy person and I've always eaten a lot, mainly because I've always been so active and have metabolized really quickly. But it's gotten carried away. I've also succumbed to the American way of eating foods that taste great but are not very healthy. As a result, I gained some weight like most Americans.

Since taking a step back for a week while still being immersed in this culture, I've been tempted in many ways. All of it, though, has allowed me to see those temptatio
ns much more clearly. There's no reason for me to eat dessert every night. Or to have a pound of meat on my burger, topped with grilled mushrooms, bacon, and every condiment available. Those foods may taste incredible but they will also hurt my body and make it want more - precisely what advertisers appeal to and food-makers desire.

What I've learned is that healthy eating is like a spiritual discipline. I can see clearly how it would be easy to just plunge into something quick and easy (yet unhealthy), but that would be impulsive. Furthermore, if my body is a temple and I'm supposed to glorify God with it (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), this most certainly is not glorifying to Him. When I resist those temptations, eat healthier foods at smaller portions, I am disciplining myself to treat my body with respect, gratitude, and thoughtfulness (being transformed by the renewing of my mind, in a way - Romans 12:2).

God doesn't just want my spiritual life - how much I go to church, what I believe about Him, or how much I pray. He wants my physical life, too, since both are going to be resurrected together (read Alcorn's "Heaven" book for more on this). As I practice this discipline, I'm finding greater joy and appreciation for various tastes. I'm finding that food is an incredible gift that God has given, and that as a steward of it and of my body, I must take care of it. All of this has taught me more about re-shaping my whole life to be more like Christ. Even my mealtime practices.


ellentopness said...

I will try again, your blog does not like me to post comments, but I want to and I will get my way or else! I totally love your blog. I love your honesty, your take on various issues, etc. And of course, being a woman of substance (and I mean that literally) who is striving to be less substantial, I appreciated this entry. I believe that God made food for us to enjoy. I think that the more we make it something other than that, the more we become slaves to it. (yes, I know you know that). I very much believe that there is nothing inherently righteous about vegetables and unholy about ice cream. I believe that eating all things with enjoyment and to the point of comfort, (which is much less than we eat here in the good ole' USA) is the way God wants us to eat. Now, I also think that He wants us to make wise choices and have balance, I could quote quite a few passages right now on that, except that I don't want to show off. (and I've forgotten which ones). As for spiritual discipline, of course eating is one. Everything we do I believe is a spiritual discipline as we live more and more for God. And, since I myself am relatively undisciplined, it makes sense I would struggle with this. But, you, Aaron, are an inspiration today. You go, boy!!!

Aaron said...

I'm glad you figured out how to post a comment! If you wouldn't mind helping me figure out what problems you were having, I would love to be able to fix them so nobody else has so much headache with it. Oh, and thanks for being persistent. Or stubborn. :-D

That's exactly it - it's so easy as people to become slaves to whatever our flesh/bodies desire. We don't even realize that we're becoming slaves or have been enslaved, which truly is madness. Since being on this diet, I've really seen how truly crazy I have been with food. A certain gentleman in our staff meetings with my same name would frequently comment on it, but I didn't see it. Boy am I glad that God has opened my eyes!

I'm glad you found my struggle an inspiration. In fact, I'm inspired that you were inspired because right now my stomach is growling and I want a quick-fix! But, since I'm making you hold me accountable (with this post!), I shall press on towards the goal of refinement. Thanks for joining my web dialogue, Ellen!

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