Yesterday in my coaching class, one of my instructors asked for a volunteer to coach and the topic lead to the issue with his struggle with his eating habits, which is something that we all do. The thought that I woke up with this morning is that the key issue here is identity. What does this issue of food have to do with identity?
What does this have to do with me? What is my identity? Who am I and who do I want to become? What is the purpose for food, how does that relate to my body and my relationship with food?
My body is a temple of the Lord, and I want to be healthy and strong so that I have the energy and stamina over a long period of time that I might walk with God, enjoy Him and bring Him glory. The purpose of food is to help my body be strong, so that I can be and do what is really important.
At the same time, food is a gift, something to God gave us to be enjoyed. Is 55:1-4 says, “”Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! …Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”
So how do these two things, which seem to be in a conflict with each other, work themselves out? What if having “rich food” all the time is not good for my health? And how does this relate to my identity?
I know that I need to look to God to meet all of my needs and for him to satisfy me. Sometimes he satisfies me directly, sometimes he gives me things on this earth that satisfy me, like good food. What should this look like?
Enjoying good food in God’s way would look like it would be consumed in moderation, perhaps as part of a special celebration; perhaps going out to eat and enjoying a delicious meal as a special occasion. But if I am looking to food to satisfy me and meet my needs, then food becomes an idol for me; lusting and craving for food to satisfy me.
So how does this all relate to me and my identity? Well, what is the ideal for my body? I am about 10 lbs overweight, and I have a bit more of a gut than I want. If God would give me the grace to be disciplined enough to eat the foods that are best for me and get the exercise that is best for me—which is really about living a healthy lifestyle—then I think it would bring God glory to lose that weight. In the process, I would experience God in a special way as I walked alongside him in this journey. Paul said that through weakness we become strong. That is a wonderful outcome that would honor God and be a great adventure.
In the long run, I think that being healthy and at my ideal weight, and experiencing God’s grace in the journey of getting there, would be the most satisfying experience of all. That is in better alignment of my true identity than to suffer through saying no and “missing out” on the foods that I like. I think from time-to-time I can enjoy a gift of foods that I really like, yet having my focus be on eating healthy foods.
That resonates with my soul, and brings into alignment my relationship with God, my satisfaction, my soul and my body. That feels like shalom to me.
Note: I highly recommend that you invest $20 and two hours to purchase and watch a webinar called “Attachments & Food” by Ed Khouri. Ed goes to the root issues of our relationship with food and how we bond with whoever feeds us. He explores why we may have an emotional bond with food that we are not even conscious of and where that may come from. He finishes by discussing how to use food to help us bond with God.
Below is a link describing the webinar: