Why I will never say I am addicted to food.
“But—I’m addicted to sugar, to carbs, to salt, to diet coke, to junk food, to processed foods and all the chemicals therein! I mean, look at me!”
I can hear the protests. I’ve said them all myself before. I was a vegan for two years. A vegan.
I would be the first to admit that the subject of “food” is vast and brings with it a ton of emotional baggage. We are all so diverse- it stands to reason our experiences with food would be equally diverse.
But still- I found through the process of wrestling with my own demons with food, that some ways of thinking about food were helpful, and some…well, not so much.
I discovered that believing I was addicted to food was one of those not-so-helpful lines of thinking.
Food is an essential part of being alive
I would no sooner consider myself addicted to eating food than I would consider myself addicted to breathing air and drinking water. I need to do those things in order to live. They are judgment-free commodities. There is no shame in needing to drink water. There should equally be no shame in needing to eat on a regular basis.
God, the Creator of all things, ordained that we would need to eat food in order to survive. He created food for us, with that purpose in mind.
He spoke. The oceans were poured into place. He spoke. The mountains erupted from the earth. He spoke. The wind began to whisper in the trees, in the branches and the leaves. He spoke.
“ ‘Look, I have given you every seed bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, for the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth—everything having the breath of life in it. I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that He had made and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:29-31)*
Eating food is a part of being alive, in the same way breathing air and drinking water are. Food is essential to life. Essential by design.
If I were to boil my relationship with food down to it’s most basic element, I need to eat to live. How could I ever say I was addicted to something I needed to do in order to survive?
God created food. And it was very good.
But, wait! There’s more.
Food is fuel to nourish us and give us strength to do the work of the kingdom, to celebrate life’s joys with one another, to fellowship together as we share this experience of being flesh and bone.
Every breath is a moment that God ordained. Every molecule is held together, is being held together, at His pleasure. Food is no different.
Even now, He is creating it; He is sustaining it. And it is good.
The Enemy is a Liar
We have an enemy and we are not ignorant of his schemes.
If there is any thing the enemy knows how to do, it is to craft a palatable lie. He cannot create and possess no original thought. All he can do is take something wholesome and good and twist it into something shameful.
If the enemy is able to convince us that we can be addicted to food, he is able to convince us food is powerful; in the same way a controlled substance is powerful. He turns us into a junkie on the streets, ever looking for the next fix, desperately ashamed of what we are doing in service to the illicit, forbidden power food wields over us.
Don’t you see what a strategic deception it is to twist out view of food as a good gift, given to us by a good Father, into a wretched necessity wrought with guilt and shame? To put it into categories? To slink around like a reprehensible rule breaker if we fail to eat food from the right category?
It is a damnable lie. And I, for one, am sick of it.
I would like nothing more than to turn the tables (pun intended) on the enemy. That is why I will never say I am addicted to food. I will choose to see food the way God intended. I will let go of my need to define what I think, or have been told, food should be.
Made in His Image
I will never say I am addicted to food because I am created in God’s image. I am alive because He breathed the breath of life into His creation. I eat food because He ordained that I would need to eat it in order to be alive, in order to be able to know Him. The very fact that I am created with a need to eat food, to taste food, tells me something about God; it is something God wants me to know about Him.
And it is good.
Robert Farrar Capon wrote this in the Supper of the Lamb, “ We were not created in God’s image for nothing. The child’s preference for sweets over spinach, mankind’s universal love of the toothsome rather than the nutritious is the mark of our greatness…We have eyes which see what He sees, lips which praise what He praises, and mouths which relish things, because He first pronounced them tov (good, beautiful, working the way it is intended).” *
He who has ears, let him hear. She who has eyes, let her see the image of God reflected in the partaking of food.
Well, that’s a bit of a stretch, you might say. Claiming to be able to see the image of God in the eating of food!
What then is the alternative? To see it as something arbitrary? As happenstance? As part of the evolutionary process that formed humanity from the cosmic soup? As just a mundane, tasteless, or tasty (darn you, chocolate!) part of existence?
Now, I will admit that you are perfectly free to choose to see the experience of eating food as something completely random, as an unfortunate necessity, as a daily chore; and you are certainly welcome to embrace that view. But, as for me, I am going to choose to see, through eyes of eternal perspective, the image of God in the breaking of bread. For me, choosing to do this is a liberating decision.
A decision of joy.
I will choose to see evidence of the nature of God in the countertop covered in flour, in the working of the yeast, in the rising of the dough, in the extraction of the vanilla bean, in the celebration of the cupcake, in the grilling of the hamburger, in the planting of seed; with careful tending it grows...what has been sown will be reaped.
I will choose to see God in this.
I will not sacrifice the experience of eating and enjoying food on the altar of addiction. Addiction enslaves. The truth sets us free.
I won’t do it anymore.
I will see food as good because He first did.
I will look for God, and seek Him where He may be found; in the cool of the day as I walk in the garden, in the grace that was poured out without measure from the cross, in the love that was so lavishly given in the creation of food.
And, it is good.
What are some of your thoughts about food? Do you feel it is good, too?