Food. A necessity for life. A sustain-er of life. A reason to gather together in community. Centerpiece of celebrations. Served in times of mourning. Present in life’s occasions.
While food is a necessity for survival so often it has become more than a tool to promote life. I still remember as a child the meals my mother would make. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the aromas in the house of my favorite dishes. My mom’s cooking provided comfort.
Food seems to contain within it a certain power. Power to comfort, bring joy, and ignite emotions through the taste buds. Food, for me, is like a friend. At times, I turn to food when I am anxious, worried, or bored in hopes to trigger a feeling of comfort. I lean on food, like I lean on a friend. Of course, I do not carry on a conversation as I would with a friend (wink, wink). But the fact remains, many times I eat not out of hunger, or for fuel, but because I am seeking emotional satisfaction or seeking relief from stress.
As I grew up, I traded my furry stuffed animals for chocolate and foo-foo coffee. My need to be comforted has not changed, and neither has my source of comfort. I continue to seek comfort from things that cannot satisfy, even though time and time again they have not provided what I needed.
Not only do I look to food as a source of satisfaction and comfort, but it also has become the one thing I believe I can control. The last several years of my life, as I have made the choice to walk away from what is known and easy. I responded to God’s call to write. Now sit in a place of the unknown. Navigating through the wait, the pause, the skill development, the learning, all of it has felt out of my hands and out of my control. Yet, I can control my food. I can control what goes in my mouth. I can make that choice.
When life around me is swirling about, and feels overwhelming and out of control, I notice my eating becomes very controlled. I don’t allow myself to celebrate. I don’t allow myself to sample and enjoy. I have become so strict at times it has been hard to be around people when there is food present. I don’t want to be the only one not eating the brownies, or the mozzarella sticks or you name it. No sugar. No grains. No diary.
While these things are “healthy” for my body, my regiment has often come out of my desire to be in control – of something – of anything! As I write this, I recognize that I am not the only one who has a “relationship” with food. I want us together, today, to walk in and live in the freedom that is available to us, to not have to be in control. I want us to live lives not controlled by food. I want us to find our comfort from the one true source, Jesus Christ.
God gives us free reign to seek our comfort in other places and to strive to have control. Over time, I have come to find that the sources I go to for comfort do not satisfy. I am only satisfied when I go to him. And when I strive to control my food, it does not give me the sense of freedom and hope that I have when I move out of the way and let God have the reigns.
So now I ask you, what is your relationship with food? If you are honest, do you treat food as fuel or as a pain reliever, stress reducer, something controllable? Do you look to food to be the source of your joy and comfort? Are you willing to approach the throne of God when you are needing comfort instead of turning to food? Are you willing to let God be in control, and let go of your desire for control?