Food for thought: Food for soul

This is a topic my mother-in-law suggested I write about, since we spent a lot of time eating together this week.

Like many others, I’ve struggled with eating right. I loooooove food. It doesn’t help that my husband is a great cook. I have always been head over heels for sugar. During my first trimester, I ate more sugar than I thought I’d ever be able to stand. But I want to make the right choices for my daughter and myself. I think every mother looks at food and wants to make good choices for her family.

So, I read all kinds of blogs and articles and studies.

What I’ve learned, however, is that there is a fine line between eating right and being afraid. Especially in this country, where packaged food is often cheap and often yummy, we have a hard time balancing the nutritious and the not-so-nutritious (and the budget). And you’ll get a lot of people (bloggers, doctors, health coaches, etc.) who will readily tell you that it isn’t a balancing act at all: always choose the good-for-you stuff. But then you’ll find that the opinions on “what’s good for you” vary tremendously. I’ve seen healthy and unhealthy vegans. I’ve heard of a “diet” that consists of nothing but bacon and multivitamins. I’ve read both sides of the soy debate. And the caffeine debate. And the red meat debate. And the organic debate. And nuts, citrus fruits, seafood, GMOs, wheat, rice, you name it, there’s debate about it.

Frankly, the whole thing has left me a bit overwhelmed.

So, I decided that there is only ONE way to navigate this whole food crisis: give it to God. I mean, that’s how I would handle any other kind of crisis in my life. Why not this one?

Turns out it was the best choice I could have ever made for my health. Because, really, it’s my spiritual health that matters.

Our bodies will fade. There is absolutely nothing that we can do to change that. They will one day die, disintegrate, and be gone, until God weaves them together again in Heaven. Whether you are healthy or not makes no difference. Of course, you can certainly elongate your life by being healthy, but it doesn’t change the fact that your days are still numbered.

In Heaven, however, we will be made anew. Our spirits will be in full bloom, glorious and unmatched by anything here on Earth. So what does that have to do with eating food?

What we eat and how we live in these bodies is not nearly as important as what our souls do. My body is simply a vessel for me. But like a vehicle, if you don’t take care of it, you’ll have a much harder time getting where you need to go. Our bodies are tied to our spirits while we are here. But remember, too, ANY kind of food is a massive blessing. We forget sometimes that our big supermarkets and grocery stores and rotten tomatoes in the fridge are things that many people wish they had. And life, as fleeting as it is, is worth using to make a difference.

So food, then, is still an important choice. But it’s nothing to be afraid of. I always imagine this: if I pray over my food, be thankful for the days I have, and trust God to take care of me, then I can be free to make choices. He put me here, after all, and I don’t think He wants me to struggle with something innately tied to this impermanent body, especially when my needs are met regardless. I think He wants to challenge me sometimes, so I’m not careless with this wonderful gift. I think He wants me to enjoy food, but not overindulge in it. And ultimately, I know He wants me to drop everything I have at His feet, so I can be free from fear and toil. He wants me to be willing to go hungry if that’s what it takes to further the glory of His kingdom. He wants me to care more about feeding my soul than feeding my body. And He wants me to teach this to my children.

Food is for your soul. So worry not.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:26-27 NIV)

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