Have Faith, and Expect a Better Relationship With Food

Dr. Cindy Haines Health Guide
  • My husband and I are coming to the final few days of 40 days spent with "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. I've been spending a lot of time on spiritual pursuits lately, something I've not done with quite this level of commitment since I was a child.


    I loved going to church, reading the Bible, and thinking about God and His purpose for me when I was a little girl growing up. It all made perfect sense to me and made me feel very safe and peaceful. It resonated with me deeply that this material world is not my home. I was made for something much greater. (So were you.)


    What happened, I wonder? I think it was a combination of things, not the least of which being peer acceptance and approval becoming priority number one - right about the time I hit double digits in age. Media influence and the intense focus on female beauty, and what an American female is supposed to look like and be were also big factors. Plus, it just wasn't cool in my little material world to be the way I really was.

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    I look back on this and realize how damaging this was; how damaging this is to all of us. The distance that was created between my spiritual self and my relationship with God played out in at least two major ways. First, the focus on being who and what I thought others wanted me to be meant I was becoming less of who I really was, who I really am. Second, the focus on secular success meant that my focus was not on spiritual success. You absolutely cannot serve two masters. It cannot be done. Trust me - I have spent many years thinking maybe I could. You know how I know I can't? The constant striving that leads only to an empty feeling that, when the music stops and silence abounds, you cannot ignore: There is something more, something better - and it's not secular or temporary.


    As my self-imposed distance from my true self and my relationship with God grew, not everything was unsuccessful. In fact, I've had a lot of "success." But some cracks were beginning to show. Cracks like a dysfunctional relationship with food. Food was no longer seen as a gift or something to be enjoyed. Not seen as something given by God to strengthen me into being the me He knows I am. Rather, it became an enemy - something to control or be controlled by.


    It occurs to me as we near the end of 40 days, Rick Warren-style, that it is in putting the focus back where it needed to be that my experiences with such things meant to be enjoyed, can finally be. The last thing I want to imply is that we should all feel free to binge all day long and choose dark chocolate fudge cake for breakfast every day. Quite the opposite, actually: I suggest acknowledging food as a joyful tool provided with a bigger purpose, a gift that nourishes and is to be enjoyed. Grateful acknowledgement and joyful receipt of the gift encourages a healthier relationship. It can also include choosing food closest to that found in nature (God-made) rather than less healthful man-manufactured varieties.


    Could faith help us develop a healthier relatiohsip with food? I believe it can, and my own experiential "data" support it. Worth a try? You decide.

Published On: April 15, 2014