Really? What is all the fuss about? Why worry about the relationship I have with Starbucks coffees, yummy cookies, pies, cakes, fast food delicacies like Chick-fil-A’s chocolate milkshake, or too many chicken nuggets in my box with a large sized waffle fry? What’s the harm? It’s not like my waistline has expanded so far that I need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe!
Here’s the crux of the matter: Am I honoring God with my relationship to sweets?
In his book Every Body Matters, Gary Thomas provides the answer: “God alone knows whether we are honoring him with our daily choices.”
That’s something I must consider and act upon and thus, the big reason for my “no dairy, no sugar fast.” Am I honoring God with the choices I make when it comes to food, especially sweets? Gary asserts, “We need a new relationship with food altogether, seeing it as an aspect of life but not the reason for life.” Certainly, I’m guilty as charged as having it for my reason to live!
Another confession I must make: I have a bad habit of taste-testing. I’m not the cook that doesn’t like her own cooking, unfortunately! For the most part, I really enjoy cooking and baking. I find it very hard to not sample here and there, and especially the finished product. Being the one who prepares the meals, my hands are in food a great portion of the day which makes it even more of an impulse. Saying “no” to temptation and not giving in is the course I want to set (James 1:12-16, NLT). My body is a gift from God and how I steward it matters; honoring God in my daily choices matter (1 Corinthians 4:5).
As Gary Thomas probes the purpose for our bodies he acknowledges we are God’s instruments for His use. He says, “By God’s design, we are a people with souls who desperately yearn for intimacy with God—people whose souls reside in bodies who can hinder or help this pursuit. Which will it be?” My desire should always be intimacy with God; I honor Him most by taking care of what He fills and uses for His glory (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
This is my second year for a “no dairy, no sugar fast” through the month of September. I have learned so much, but I realize I can’t just do this one month a year and honor the Lord. I need a complete alteration of honoring God with my daily choices – spiritual and physical. I don’t feel it’s wrong to enjoy something sweet from time to time. But it becomes a problem when I allow it to control me and fall into indulging. In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, indulge is defined as “to give free rein to; to take unrestrained pleasure; to yield to the desire of; to treat with excessive leniency”! Wow, that really doesn’t paint a pretty picture: A controlling, unrestrained desire!
Maybe your thing is just food in general and you need to stop overeating. Maybe you don’t feel like you have an issue with food or sweets. The best thing to do is write down every time you put something in your mouth then review your notes at the end of the day. When I did this, I realized I was thinking about food and/or sweets too much of the day. Food and my craving urges were stealing my focus away from the Lord throughout much of the day. As a result, “. . . I have come to discover that God does not want food or any other crutch to replace the role that He longs to have in my life” (Gary Thomas).
My birthday is October 8, so I decided to continue the “no dairy, no sugar fast” until then. On that day, I hope to enjoy some of my favorite things, like a Starbucks coffee, and the Triple Chocolate Gluten-Free Panera cookie that was quickly placed into the freezer when my hubby bought it for me in a forgetful moment. I’m not exactly certain how I will celebrate but I’ll be posting pics.
After my birthday, I plan to repeat a week-long “no dairy, no sugar fast” each month throughout the year. I’m asking the Lord to help me as I walk through each day with a focus on Him as my Sustainer, and not the food I’m preparing or the sweets I bake. My intention would be to learn to taste instead of devouring and savor instead of consuming what the Lord provides for me to enjoy. It will be a work of God, but He has promised His grace is sufficient in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that disciplining oneself for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7) is His desire for each of us.
“What if exercise and discipline in eating isn’t as much about physical health as about honoring the God who made us?” (Gary Thomas).