Tuesday, May 1, 2012

There is a Spiritual Lesson in all this

When I was a little girl my mother fed us well. We rarely had soda. She always made my lunches. And, there were always fruits and veggies with dinner and for snacks. But, my diet went downhill beginning in junior high. I started buying my own meals in the cafeteria. Lunch, in junior high, was cheetos, Mt. Dew, and a frozen chocolate shake. When I came home from school I was starving and ate whatever was on hand. High school was worse. Since I could not get out of bed early enough for breakfast, I began eating two meals a day at school. Breakfast was a deep fried "hash brown" and a 20 ounce Mt. Dew. Lunch was Hohos, chips, and a 20 ounce Mt. Dew. For dinner I often went to a fast food joint with a buddy... cheap burger, fries, and - you guessed it - more Mt. Dew.

By my high school years I was quite an emotional flake! No wander! I could not sleep well at night. My adrenaline would be constantly up and down (from caffeine). My mother was still making wholesome dinners, but I did not care to be home to eat them. I was literally living on junk food.

Other than moodiness, irritability, and wrecked sleep patterns I got by alright... until I started having children. Whatever little strength was still in my body was immediately and thoroughly sucked out. My teeth started decaying. Rapidly. I was always tired. I got sick easily.

By 2006, I was learning about proper nutrition all over again. A friend told me about Dr. Sears' book which introduced me to "whole foods." I started making small changes. But, I kept drinking Mt. Dew and we kept eating fast food. Many of you know the rest. I have spent the last 5 or so years taking small steps forward with our nutrition, but still experienced many health problems. And, I cannot seem to give up Mt. Dew for more than 6 months at a time.

So, where is all this going? There really is a spiritual lesson in all this.

Old Habits are HARD to break! After consuming a diet of junk for so many years it is tremendously difficult to re-train yourself to cook good foods and to like those same foods. Our taste buds are badly trained. We would all prefer the quick combos at the fast food place on the corner. I want to kick myself that I ever started down this road of quick, easy foods. I struggle with thinking about the circumstances that brought about my change in diet in my formative years. I want to blame someone. But, it all comes down to this - what will I do NOW?

Similarly - I have some nasty sin habits that are awfully hard to break. Living on junk food made a wreck of my mind and emotions and made it altogether too easy to have dramatic ups and downs. (There is more to it than food, but read on). Even though I am a believer and I am constantly taking small steps forward, there are still some sins that I hold on to. They have been with me so long that I do not know how to function without them. But, just like the junk food - I know they have got to go! I might want to blame someone for my sins. But, it all comes down to this - what will I do NOW?

Enter self-control. I radically changed my (physical) diet. And, with that I have seen small improvements in my ability to control sinful habits. Much of my anger was brought about by the adrenaline rush of caffeine. And, I have seen enough good results (weight loss, improved mood, getting up earlier, no more allergic reactions to certain foods, and more) that I keep pushing on.

I CAN and will continue to go without refined sugars and junk foods because I know that there is a beautiful end in sight. I expect to find strength, healing, freedom from food addictions, and much more. In the same way, we all keep plugging along in this life (despite our old sin habits that try to hold us back) towards heaven. The results are sometimes tangible. Our lives are changed. We find strength, health, and freedom from sin addictions. But, it does not often happen overnight. We have to keep looking forward.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:13-14 ESV).

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