Two Things God Says About Food
When I was 8, I discovered something bad about myself - I was chubby. It was a new, undeveloped shame, but, it was a growing one. I learned if I could just be skinny, I would be happy.
Now, over 30 years later, I fight that belief. But, it still lingers. When I see a woman who is thin and fit, there’s a little voice in my head whispering, “Kate, you’d be happier if you looked like her. When you finally lose 5 pounds you’ll be satisfied”. (Some years it’s been a lot more than 5 pounds.)
At times, I have lost that weight. And, you know what, I wasn’t happier. Not really.
There’s another voice. This one tells me that food will make me happy. It tempts, “Kate, if you get up and get a bag of potato chips, you’ll feel happy.” I have obeyed that voice many times. It never makes me happy.
Are these voices from God?
Do the Bible authors write about how we should eat, drink or view our bodies?
Yes, and there is a lot to say about it. But, I'm going to start with these two important thoughts (more to come!):
- God gave us physical bodies so that we can reflect His image. This humbles me when I quietly reflect on its magnificence. God has placed within me a representation of Divinity. Others “see” God’s image through my physical body. I mirror God! Woah. That’s a lot more lofty than being hopeful I can look cute in my bathing suit. It puts things into perspective for me and reminds me of what is important. (Genesis 1:27)
God gives us food as a blessing- to be enjoyed, and to draw us to gratitude. I’ve spent a lot of time condemning certain foods. I can become paralyzed by my fear of chocolate or bacon (or whatever food I’m currently avoiding).
Although there are certain foods some of us should be cautious of, Scripture says food does not commend us to God. He’s not happier with me when I eat spinach instead of cookies. It’s what comes out of my mouth and heart that matters. Food is one of the gifts God gives me. A blessing that can draw me into gratitude! (Deuteronomy 8:10, Mark 7:19, I Cor 8:8)
Sometimes I’m tempted to eat when I’m not hungry. I've learned to shout over the whispering lie that promises food will make me happy, “Food will not make me happy! Spirit in me causes joy!”
All of the times I’ve been overweight, it’s been because I was eating when I wasn’t hungry. I know now that I was eating like this to satisfy some lack I was feeling; I believed that somehow food would satisfy. But, Food DOES NOT SATISFY MY SOUL! It satisfies my hunger. Only God can satisfy my soul. (John 6:35)
>Practical tip: only eat when you’re hungry. If you’re eating when you’re not hungry, question what your soul is lacking. It’s your soul, not your stomach that needs to be filled if you eat when unnecessary.
When that other voice tempts, “I’ll be happier when I’m thinner”, I sometimes have the courage to shout over the whispering lie. I say, “Being thin will not make me happy!”
When WILL I be happy if it’s not when I’m thinner?
The crazy thing is I can be happy NOW, before I look good in a bathing suit. Why? Because God’s Spirit is in me. I have been seen and known by God. Jesus has shown me a perfect way to be human. That’s good news that brings me true, deep, real happiness!
>Practical tip: The moment you feel yourself envying someone else’s body or longing to be thinner, let the phrase repeat in your head, “Being thin won’t make me happy. Loving God makes me happy.”
Jesus so beautifully said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Mtt 6:25)