Chapter 1: Food

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Imagine with me that you are in one of my favorite places, a book store. You see shelves upon shelves of books in all directions. Books on health, beauty, art, science, dance, food, you name it they have it! But two special books stand out. One of these books is The World’s Book. The store has thousands of them, yet cannot keep up with the demand for more. Another book the store sells is God’s book. Although this book has fabulous reviews, few people buy it and the store only has a few in stock.

I went to this book store and bought the only obvious choice, The World’s Book. I read this book from cover to cover. I memorized it. I spouted it off to people. I turned a deaf ear to anyone who disagreed with MY book. What did they know, anyway?  I believed every word I read. This bestselling book ruled my life.

What is The World’s Book about? It’s about lots of things. Its many chapters, range from worth and purpose to love and beauty. The author loves to write about success and popularity. One of my personal favorite chapters was chapter one. The chapter on food. Here’s what this well worn book says about food.

The World’s Book

  • Food is bad and the less of it the better.
  • Eating food = getting fat which = failure.
  • Food is for pleasure alone.
  • What you eat or don’t eat determines your worth.
  • Extremes (gluttony and restriction) are the only options.
  • There is no such thing as a balanced diet.
  • Food should be an idol, a god in our lives.
  • What you eat should consume all of your time thoughts, and energy.
  • You must control your diet or YOU are out of control.
  • If you eat _____ or _____ you are fat.
  • If you’re not worried about food all the time then you’re doing something wrong.
  • You should always be on a diet of some sort.
  • There is NO peace in a relationship with food.
  • Your life and identity hinges on your food choices.

I don’t know about you, but I believed a lot of what this book told me about food. I believed my identity was linked to what and how much I ate. I believed that my worth could be changed by controlling my food intake. I believed that my physical need for food (without it we die) made me a failure. I believed that food was a bad and hateful substance that wanted to make me fat and ruin my life (sounds crazy, right? That’s an ED brain for ya, folks!). I believed all sorts of crazy things about food.

I distinctly remember a few weeks into treatment and normal eating that my dietitian said “Arden, eating food doesn’t mean you will get fat.” You should have seen the look I gave her! It was a combination of “you’re insane” and “I want to jump out of that window look,” if that helps you visualize it. Needless to say, I told my dear dietitian just how wrong and misinformed she was. Silly dietitian Brandi, just didn’t understand that food immediately turns into fat and is then glued to various parts of my body once it goes into my mouth. I mean, duh! Everyone knows that! Not to worry, I educated her on this fact.

I slowly realized that my dietitian was (gasp!) right! She actually told me after a month of treatment that she could not get me to gain anymore weight despite me being on the highest food plan level. It was then that things started to click. My brain started turning. I began to think maybe, just maybe, Brandi and Kelly and Lorena and Dr. Lee and my parents and countless others were actually right. Maybe I can eat and not get fat…or at least not too fat. Maybe food isn’t the devil. Maybe food isn’t trying to kill me (what a novel thought, right!). The biggest shocker came when I thought this, Maybe this book I’ve been memorizing is WRONG. Maybe The World’s Book is all wrong. 

The change was painfully slow and included many reverse trips, but it started with these “maybe’s” and continues through constant reflections on my relationship with food.

Now that I know and am coming to terms with the fact that The World’s Book is all wrong, I have to figure out what is right. I’ve struggled with this change for awhile. I mean, how do I know what is true about food after believing lies for so long, lies that are ingrained in my mind and subconsciously thought?

My most recent assignment and step towards figuring this whole healthy, normal food relationship thing was to write down what God’s Book says about food.

God’s Book

  • Food is His provision for me (Psalm 104:14) (Psalm 145:15-16)
  • Food is a blessing from the Lord
  • Food is GOOD (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
  • Food is not what makes me good or bad (Matthew 15:11)
  • Food is a source of LIFE, along with the Word of God (Matthew 4:4)
  • Food doesn’t have the power to make me a failure
  • Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and should be cultivated and practiced (Galatians 5: 23-25)
  • Worth comes from Him alone
  • Balance is possible
  • Jesus understands food
  • The Son of Man himself came eating and drinking (Matthew 11:19)
  • “You shall have no other gods (including food) before Me.”
  • Food is not all or nothing (Proverbs 23:21)
  • Food shouldn’t be a cause of anxiety (Matthew 6:25-27)
  • Identity is linked to Him not food/diet
  • There is freedom and peace from bondage to food

Which book do you want to buy, read, memorize and live by?   I’ll take God’s Book. He is a much better author.

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(Shout out to Pastor Dave for the current sermon series “The Son of Man Came Eating & Drinking.” It’s obviously impacted me a lot. Thanks!)

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The Beginnings of Brave

Contrary to popular belief, bravery is not an elusive thing of the past. You don’t have to scale mountains or live in the old Wild West to be brave. You don’t have to fight epic medieval battles or captain a battleship to be deemed brave. Bravery is more than that. It’s more than heroic actions. Would you like to know how I know this?

I grew up on Little House On The Prairie and old fashioned, make-believe worlds. I’m pretty sure I lived and breathed to be brave like Ma, Mary and Laura. Later on I wanted to be brave like Anne Frank, Corrie Ten Boom, my Granna and other Holocaust victims/survivors. I wanted to be brave like the missionaries of old who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel. But I was never brave. I was shy and quiet. Fearful of sleep and wake. Anxious about talking and being silent. Afraid either option would end in humiliation. How could I be brave? I was just little old me.

But now, through a series of events, I’ve decided I am brave. Perhaps not traditionally brave. But brave indeed.

I’m brave because I’m alive. I’m living. I’m thriving, seeking, communing. I’m trying, doing, failing. I’m smiling, laughing, dancing. And that is brave. This right here is brave. Life in its messiest, most chaotic state is brave, because bravery is found in simply living. Living is a truly brave and beautiful thing.

You, yes you, are brave too. No matter who you are or where you come from. You with the cuts and the scars. You’re brave. You with the broken marriage and the empty bed. You’re brave. You with the newborn babe and the tired eyes. You with the messy house, burning dinner and crying kids. You’re both brave. You with the grave and the grieving heart. You’re so brave. You with the plate of food staring back at you and the voices in your head. You’re brave too. You with the boy who took more than you wanted him to. You’re brave. You who gave the boy more than you should have. You’re brave too. 

If you’re anything like me, you’re screaming inside, “I’m not brave! You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’ve done, who I am! I can’t be brave!” 

Oh, but you are. Brave indeed. 

You’re brave because day after day you choose life. You’re brave because a part of you knows there is hope and redemption for your life. A part of you at least hopes there is hope and sometimes that has to be enough for the moment. You are brave because you keep loving your kids even though they kept you up all night and threw tantrums all day. You are brave because even after loss you dare to love. You are brave because through abuse, abandonment and heartache you live on. 

Still don’t believe me? Read this. 

 

You’re brave because He, the God of the universe from the biggest star to the tiniest cell, says you are. You’re brave because the God Man who rose from the DEAD says you are. You’re brave because Jesus, who took your sin to the cross and said “It is finished,” also looks at you right now and says “You dear one, with the heavy heart, are brave and I love you.” You’re brave not because I say you are but because Jesus Christ says you are. 

The question is, will you believe Him and start living BRAVE?