“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Honoring God is a wonderful difficult journey; and I am recently exploring a new way in which to live out this passage (yes, Paul is talking about sexuality in the context of the passage above—to your delightful relief or simple disappointment– I am not going to discuss sexuality in this particular post). FOOD is the honoring (or dishonoring) subject at hand.
As you may know, if you have kept up with my blog posts recently, I just finished up breastfeeding my fourth child. She (Lydia) has what is known as MPSI: Milk & Soy Protein Intolerance. Her little body can’t digest the protein in Milk (anything dairy) or Soy (with the exception of soy oil); we discovered this at five weeks of age she had blood in her stool (along with several other tale-tale symptoms).
Figuring out how to feed myself in order to keep my child safe and happy was a huge battle for me. I have never been one to diet or really even pay much attention to what I eat, as long as I eat something multiple times a day. Suddenly I was thrust into a world of intense label reading, pot-luck avoiding, restaurant-menu-downloading craziness. I would go out to my freezer and gaze at the meals I had prepared before Baby, and I would cry because I could no longer eat them. I would prepare meals for my family and then make something else for me. I had to be incredibly mindful of my eating tendencies – not to eat anything off my other children’s plates in case it had come into contact with a food ‘culprit’. I would look at left-overs and not know which ‘butter’ had been used and just throw it away. Often I was completely disheartened by thoughts of eating.
Those first few weeks were so incredibly difficult. I began my dietary change pretty just in time to not be able to enjoy Halloween candy. Thanksgiving was a challenge, too (but an eternal debt of gratitude for an accommodating host family that made a few dishes non-traditionally so I could enjoy them- [you Rogers’ know who you are]).
And. Then. Christmas… How I longed to enjoy cookies along with everyone else. I’m sure I was a little more like the Grinch this year than I have been in years past. Food everywhere, people gathering over cookies, or hot chocolate or cookies (if you couldn’t tell, cookies are a substantial weakness of mine). It was tough to watch and not be able to participate. My sweet mother-in-law went out of her way to make sure there were a few things I could have; but overall it was a battle of self-control for me.
Fast forward to this summer. I was invited (through GracePoint) to attend training for LifeStyle Transformation-a binge eating treatment program. An epic collision of this MPSI journey and counseling opportunities: All that I had been learning through trial and error, label-reading, and through discussions with other MPSI moms was coming together simultaneously with this program focusing on addictive behaviors surrounding food. To add fuel to the fire, I subsequently watched Food Inc. and began reading Omnivores Dilemma. Wow, so there are so many things I have NO CLUE about. Furthermore, the realization that food has often been an idol in my life (specifically Dr. Pepper, French fries and cookies) was glaring. I have used it for comfort and for solace many times. And I don’t want to any more. Awareness is step one.
This brings us full circle. In ignorance, I began a food adventure that is allowing me to look much more carefully at what I put into my body. As education and enlightenment happen, I think about my body as the temple of God – and what would honor Him to ingest. This is, for me, a completely new way to look at eating. I’m excited (and overwhelmed) at what this means for me and for our family, of which I am the main food purchaser and preparer. We began with Paul’s discussion on our body as a temple and we shall end with wisdom from the same author: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Lord, help me turn first to you. May I seek your face when I need comfort or solace. Guide me to use food as a source of energy, being intentional about my choices and my habits surrounding it. Thank you for your grace and your mercy in this area of my life. Help me to cut myself slack as I am learning better ways to view and use food. Thank you for all the blessings you provide, and may I truly eat, drink and do life to your glory. Amen
Your struggling sister, in God’s grace,