Why the Blessings of Food Just Don’t Cut It
“How blessed is the man who finds wisdom; And the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver; And her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.Her ways are pleasant ways; And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast. The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up; And the skies drip with dew. My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion,So they will be life to your soul; And adornment to your neck. Then you will walk in your way securely; And your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear; Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence; And will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:13-26 (NIV)
I was talking to a client recently and I asked her, “Tell me about a time you really succeeded with weight loss in the past?” Her face lit up as she told recounted the tale: “We had a friendly office competition at work and I lost the most weight one week… and I won! I won the cutest little phone case. I still have it.” It was truly a victorious moment for her. I fully enjoyed sharing her sheer exuberance as she remembered this special reward for her hard work.
I like to think I’d be healthy “just because it’s the right thing to do for my body…” but let’s be honest… if you’ve seen my “before pictures” you and I both know better than that hunka lying to myself. The truth is, I need rewards. We all do. Rewards are important!! Rewards motivate us. God knows we need rewards for our efforts, and He’s got a waaaay bigger prize budget than the office petty cash box.
Let’s take a look our verse today and the prizes available to us when we choose to stay focused on the Lord and walk in wisdom:
life to your soul
Can over-using food give these to us? Maybe one or some, and maybe for a brief period of time… but inevitably we experience the negative repercussions and the good ones fall away. Over-using food can definitely cause us to stumble, be fearful, and feel caught in a trap and … well, the list goes on.
That’s the difference between God’s wisdom and sin. Sin pretends to be good, then traps us in a very bad place. God’s wisdom gives us all the good (not just some, but all) AND protects us so we:
have no sudden fear
are not caught [in a trap]
I am blown away that God gives us rewards + protection. Sin tricks us into believing it is giving us the good things… but it after we believe and act, sin turns dark, leaving us with horrible consequences of our own making.
What is a poor sinner who loves food to do??
First: Pray! Here is a wonderful verse to pray when unhealthy options call and you need God’s help:
“Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.” Psalm 31:3 (NIV)
Leave space for God in your heart and head to help you with your hands and your mouth. The Bible has a lot of verses that can help us live a healthy lifestyle. (Share your favorites in the comments and encourage others!)
Next, discover what truly nutritious food is for you personally- if you don’t know already. Some of us know, and don’t live by what we know. Some of us honestly don’t know, and get confused between “a heathy version” of an unhealthy food (that is still unhealthy,) and honest to goodness nutritious, healing food. If you aren’t sure, find a nutritionist who can help you with a personalized food plan. There are a lot of tricky foods in the Standard American Diet. We need to learn about foods we have been taught are good for people in general, but may not be good for our body specifically. An Elimination Diet or food sensitivity test can help with this. Contact me if you’d like more information. I offer a complimentary free exploratory session and we can include this topic if you’d like.
Likewise, we need to know when and how to consume food in a nutritious and life giving way that is right for our own body. Our bodies are as unique as our fingerprints, so what is a satisfying and healthy schedule of eating for one person, could be torture for another person. Be curious, experiment, utilize the wisdom of your doctor, nutritionist or health coach to discover your own path to eating truly healing foods in a truly nutritious way.
Take a deep breath. This journey takes time, and that’s ok! The truth is our bodies and medical histories, and lives are complicated! Give yourself permission to carve out time and resources to learn, try new things, succeed, fail, and create an intentional plan of eating that is right for you, sustainable for you, and brings life to your life! In our culture with the Standard American Diet (SAD) at the helm, we can’t just hope we’ll be healthy… it’s a jungle out there. We have to actively lead our own health safari.
Lastly: ENJOY and relax. Every meal won’t be memorable and every fail won’t be final. Victories will come in every size- but I say celebrate each one as if it were a biggie! This won’t happen overnight. That being said, the journey itself is enjoyable and rewarding, so savor the path to your healthiest self.
When it gets hard to resist the temptation of treats that will eventually torture you, stick close to God. When you do, you will experience His rewards instantly – faster than a sugar high with less heartburn than chili fries!
Normally I would end the blog here and move to the questions for reflection with God. Today, I want jump in and share with you a real life moment from yesterday. I had just written the rough draft of this blog and went about a typical summer day with my kids. It was very hot, over 100. After taking my kids out with friends to an indoor trampoline park all the kids wanted to go to ice cream. Not just any ice cream shop, but Coldstone. As the kids ordered and people walked by me with huge, decadent, sweet, creamy concoctions on oversized chocolate dipped cones, temptation hit me hard. (I have some guidelines I have prayerfully set for myself for a time, and my eating plan currently does not include ice cream.) My mouth was watering. I tossed intention to the wind and started planning my ice cream carnival extravaganza. I wasn’t comfortable with having ice cream, but I really wanted some and it’s not like we go to Coldstone every day. (I’ve come to recognize my go-to justifications… and they were revving up hard.) My mind was buzzing and getting excited about that ice cream, cookie dough and chocolate explosion coming soon to a mouth near me- my own!) Suddenly, out of the blue, came a small, gentle reminder that spoke to my heart:
“Remember all the blessings wisdom offers.”
My brain came to a screeching halt. I swear there are skid marks in there somewhere. I froze. Yes. The blessings. I had forgotten about those. I scrambled to remember this blog… what were they?? … peace, life for my soul, something about good sleep… I won’t be caught in a trap…
For the first time I looked up and took my eyes off the ice cream. I came out from under the spell of the sugar and shook it off. I decided to practice what I wrote in this blog and savored the blessings of wisdom in that tough moment… instead of ice cream. The minute I made the decision to skip the ice cream, I felt great. I would even say I felt VICTORIOUS. Also a surprise, I don’t regret not getting it. Not one bit. A few times during the day my mind wandered to ice cream, but I was able to reroute the thoughts by bringing my brain back to the blessings. In remembering the blessings I found security, life to my soul and freedom. Just a couple things ice cream has never been able to give me. It worked!! It really worked!!!
Have a story about how the blessings helped you make a healthy and wise choice for your body? Please share in the comments to help others overcome tough treat moments.
Questions for reflection during your prayer time with the Lord:
What foods give you the blessings listed in this verse? Which foods give which blessings?
God is able to give you the blessings and the protection from the consequences of sin. What foods do you eat that cause you to experience the consequences of sin? Make a second list of these foods.
Do any of the foods on your first list and your second list match?
Pray about how God wants you to approach these foods in the future.
Do you know what nutritious food is for you? Write down what a truly nutritious day of eating would look like for you.
What are some things in the past that have gotten in the way of you and a nutritious day of eating? Write these things down.
Ask God how He can help you work around the things that have derailed you in the past from a nutritious day of eating? How can you experience the stuff of life AND feed yourself nutritious healing food all day? Write down the obstacle. Pray about options around the obstacles. Write down ideas that come to mind for overcoming.
Write down the list blessings in this verse. Keep a copy them in your wallet, on your fridge and in your pantry. Remember the marvelous rewards God has for you when you are tempted to trust food for fulfillment. Food can only go so far to satisfy your needs. God is the One and Only who fills your soul to the very top, with rewards that are meaningful, life giving and lasting and loving.
Need more support? Contact me to see if personalized health coaching with a Christian Heath Coach might be a good fit for you.
This is Day 14 in “Eating Through the Proverbs,” a Bible study about food, by Julia Fikse, Functional Medicine Health Coach ©2019.
Julia Fikse is not a therapist or a doctor and this blog cannot and should not in any way replace doctors advice.