Jesus, I am fed up of food rules and diets, and giving them up. and sabotaging myself when stress or cravings or boredom demand: “Chocolate. Crisps. Comfort foods.” Oh, and the sadness of exercise in a world of subconscious triggers, when kebabs and pizza and cookies undo all the virtue?
And I am fed up, but I cannot give up the battle to be a light, flexible strong woman who can walk fast for long hours, because I love to travel, and I love to see your world, and I love to walk by rivers and in mountains, in wild and beautiful Aslan’s own country, and I want to continue being able to do so into my nineties!
And I think of this little canker in my life in an area which should be joy. And I think of decades of abandoned diets, and I could cry, and so could you. I am fed up of vacillating between diet plans, but you are never fed up of me; your heart wells with sadness and compassion for me and you love me, and you want to give me the keys of life, and to tell me your secrets, which lie in plain sight for her who has ears to hear, and eyes to see.
And I know that once I have sought your face, and heard your voice, things are easier. It is easier to set my face like flint on my course.
So speak, Lord, your servant is listening.
* * *
Turn it over to me. Hand your weight, and your body which I created and whose life and health and death are in my hands over to me. Hand it over; let it be my worry. It is too heavy a weight for you to carry.
From today this area of your life will no longer be your worry but my worry. Not your business, but my business. I will manage it. Entrust it to me. Trust me. When you don’t know what to do, ask me, and I will tell you.
I do hand it over. Food, weight, fat, my body, all this is now your concern, not mine. When I don’t know what to do I will ask you.
* * *
Leave it in my hands now. I am managing it.
A table I set before you
In the presence of your foes
And your cup overflows (Ps 23:5)
I will prepare
a feast of rich food for you,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines. (Isaiah 25:6)
Eat from the table of goodness I set before you, remembering me,
For the kingdom of heaven is like a wedding banquet. You are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.
* * *
JESUS, a feast of rich food, the best of meats and the finest of wines? Banquets, feasts! I am overweight, I tell you.
In the sheet of goodness which tumbles from heaven, are four footed-animals, birds, seed-bearing plants and fruit trees, and large numbers of fish.
Child, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ Do not submit to the rules of this world: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules are based on merely human commands and teachings. But now is the time for feasting. In me, it always been “Yes.”
Feasting and fasting, feasting and fasting, come savour these rhythms I have built into creation with work and rest, seedtime and harvest. Enjoy the good things I richly provide for your enjoyment
Eat when you are hungry, with celebration, with joy, with thanksgiving, in remembrance of me. And then, fast until you are truly hungry again. For food is for the stomach, and not to be eaten when the body feels no need of it.
* * *
Jesus! No food rules? Really? Me, I’ve tried low-carb and no-carb, and Atkins and vegan, and low-fat and low-sugar, and…
Think of blessings (and curses). The original food I gave Adam— every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit has blessing in it. You know what is a blessing to your body: fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, fish…
However, everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. I have been recorded eating bread, and fish, and a Passover meal, traditionally of lamb, bread, egg, wine, and charoset, with honey, fruit and nuts. None of these would have been an optimal sole food.
Be careful though with foods I wouldn’t have recognized, treats known to be toxic, food deliberately manufactured to be addictive.
When hungry, eat for health, and eat with joy.
* * *
What if I crave food when I am not really hungry? To relax, because I am stressed, as a break, and for pleasure?
Slow down, child. Slowing down is the beginning of the spiritual life. Examine the real needs of your soul and body when you find yourself wanting chocolate or “comfort foods.”
Build a treasure box of the heart in which you put other pleasures: a quick run, reading blogs or a book, reading scripture, yoga, a movie, fixing a date with a friend. Or just pray recreationally. Or pray and garden, pray and walk.
I might free you from this food-crutch instantly, today. Or I might heal you gradually, as the blind man I cured first saw men like trees walking.
But healing is in your destiny, because we need to deal with this challenge, you and I, so you can move forward on your pilgrim’s progress on the narrow road of sanctification, dealing with the next challenge, and the next.
* * *
Finally, remember the value of physical training. You eat recreationally for the sense of bliss and satiety, for energy, to keep you going for long laptop hours, for forgetfullness, for dopamine surges, for highs. Running will give you all this.
Come, let’s run the race together.