The Complexity of Food
Food is a complicated topic. At its root, food is simply nourishment for our bodies. In reality, however, it speaks to our soul and reflects our inner emotional health. It’s a link between our physical, social, emotional, and spiritual selves.
I have some struggles with my relationship with food. Though it’s not all bad, I know the Lord wants better for me, and it’s something I need to re-prioritize from time to time.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy –think about such things. (Philippians 4:8).
During our “Series for Living a Different Life,” we’ve looked at ways to slow down, check out of our fast-paced culture, and adjust our attitudes in order to create a different life marked by Christ. In this final installment, we’ll be talking about food, because when we slow down and allow food to nourish our bodes and our spirits, we’re healthier and happier.
There are whole industries dedicated to changing our relationship with food, so I make no attempt to even scratch the surface of this topic. Instead, I want to give you some time for fresh thoughts about your food and encourage you to bring it to the Lord to work on it with Him.
A Healthy Connection
Every Christmas I make fudge. It’s creamy, rich and melts in your mouth; it’s my grandmother’s recipe. My mom is much better at making it, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Fudge is a sweet connection to the women of my family, and a part of my heritage that I return to every year.
That chocolaty goodness is poignant for me because there’s so much distance between me and my family. My husband, kids and I live in Western New York, but my extended family is in Texas. We have deep ties to the land of the West Texas plains, and even though I only lived there for a year, when I visit every summer, those red-dirt cotton fields tell me I’m home.
Beyond bridging the physical distance, MawMaw’s fudge brings me back to my childhood when she was still with us: from her chasing my younger cousins with a fly swatter if they acted up, to her sitting in the dark in the mornings listening to taped sermons for her quiet time.
Certain foods keep my family close and remind me of my heritage: brisket, red velvet cake, E-Z chicken, brownies, oysters, homemade ice cream, Aunt Robbie’s chocolate frosting, Texas cream pie . . . the list goes on and on.
These aren’t necessarily nutritionally healthy connections, but they’re emotionally healthy. They keep Texas close to me during important celebrations with my New York family, and are traditions I’m passing along to my children.
Want to try your hand at my MawMaw’s fudge? The recipe is in the Subscribers’ Library–you’ll get instant access when you sign up for my Newsletter.
A New Covenant
Jesus recognized this tie between food and community. He gave us an intimate way to stay connected to him and to our heritage as believers when he presented the last supper. We are commanded to take wine and bread in remembrance of him, and as a symbol of our new covenant.
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20)
When believers take communion, we’re participating in a remembrance of who we are, who Jesus is, and what he’s done for us. The unified body of Christ is coming together. We may be spread across time and distance, but when we all partake in this holy act we’re jointly nourishing the spiritual body that we’re all a part of.
If food is such a strong element of our lives that Jesus could use it symbolically to establish a new covenant with man, then we need to make sure our daily attitudes toward food are in line with God’s.
- Take it for granted?
- Rush it?
- Turn to it as an idol?
- Rely on it for comfort?
- Use it to define us?
- Give it too much importance, or not enough?
During his time on earth, Jesus used meals as a covenant, as service, and for fellowship. What, then, does he think of what we’ve made of it in our grab-and-go culture?
Come and Eat
When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. . . . Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” (John 21: 9 and 12)
I’m guilty of taking food for granted and rushing through making dinner and eating it. I cook most nights, but I have a lot of cooking and preparation shortcuts, and though we sit down as a family, dinner goes by pretty quickly most nights. It’s far from serenely saying, “come, and have dinner.”
Through prayer on this, the Lord has prompted me to slow down one night a week and cook a full meal from scratch. A healthy, slow meal, with the kids helping, and extended time around the table together. That’s a connection I’d love to pass along to the next generation. Maybe even more than MawMaw’s fudge.
I started this series 6 weeks ago after being inspired by my little orchid that was starting to get a bud. I had no idea how long it would take for it to grow and open. Apparently, God did.
It opened to its full glory today, and I’m so happy to get to share it with all of you! Can you believe the timing? It made my heart happy.
Thank you for following along, and I pray you all find ways to slow down and rest in the Lord.
Living A Different Life Series
Enjoy the whole series on living a different life as a Christian. One that focuses on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy.
- Week 1: Set Your Mind Upon Finer Things: A Series for Living a Different Life (including the start of the orchid story!)
- Week 2: Enjoying the Visual Arts: Part 1 in A Series for Living a Different Life
- Week 3: Cultivating Hospitality: Part 2 in A Series for Living a Different Life
- Week 4: Slow Down with Good Literature: Part 3 in A Series for Living a Different Life
- Week 5 Aligning Our Work with His Work: Part 4 in A Series for Living a Different Life
- Week 6: Connect with Food: Part 5 in A Series for Living a Different Life
My newsletter (that you can sign up for here) is the highlight of my ministry. Every Monday you get the direct link to our weekly scripture meditation (it includes a breakdown of the scripture to help you dive deeper–you can see an example here), a roundup of all the week’s articles that I’ve published, AND I try to keep it fun and interesting!