20 April 2009

Finding the Balance


This is sort of a controversial topic. It's a health issue, and a little more important than I, til recently, gave it credit for having. Finding the balance, is difficult, so I would like some other opinions on the subject. I'll try to tread lightly.

When I went out to Ohio, on our way home, I met my wonderfully healthy Aunt, carrying her bottle of water and her ginger chews. I was awestruck at her spirituality and beauty. I had already been prepared by the Lord to learn everything I could from her, on matters of health, or rather, what we eat. I was not expecting to be spiritually challanged like I was, but I was. There are some conclusions that I have come to, and some questions that should still be asked.

In our modern day America, obesity has reached an all time high. Children are not concentrating in schools, nor do they have discipline at home. Health care is terrible (as far as affordable) and it seems like every time we turn around someone has cancer or some kid has autism or another has been recently diagnosed with diabetes. What is going on???? Well, we could be overly simplistic and say, "God's judgment." True, but in the midst of all this, what does God want us to learn? When do we accept a trial from the Lord as a means to reach others, and when to we take steps of precaution to prevent ill health?

These are questions I have been asking myself. I had already come to the conclusion that preaching at someone about their smoking problem, while I can't put down a can of Pepsi to save my life, cancels my message. A big ol' fat preacher, who can't say "no" to the next helping of ma's deep fried something or other is equally delusional if he thinks anyone should give credence to what he is saying. So how far to go? Should I get on the health wagon merely to lose weight (which is not a motivation that works for me, personally), or stay "cancer free", do it because others are looking at my testimony, or because it truely DOES glorify God when we think about what we put in our bodies?

I don't know about you, but I lean toward the latter. Think about it. We are concerned with what we listen to, what we put on our bodies, where we hang out, what we smoke or don't smoke, drink or don't drink, what comes out of our mouth, what goes into our mind, and what we watch. Why aren't we concerned with what we eat? We wouldn't send our daughter into a main stream retail store and say "pick out anything to wear on your first date." Why do we go into the grocery store and put any ol' thing into our basket without reading labels?

This is a huge elephant, as my Aunt says. I'm almost scared about what God is going to reveal about my lack of preparation in meals, disreguard for a balanced diet, and a general lack of fasting, but He is patient. He knows my budget, and how I can't exactly shop at a granola people store all the time, or buy every supplement item on the market. He knows I CAN read, and find out if what I'm eating is actually food or just sugar. The internet is a great source. He knows I can be disciplined in preparation of meals and knows I can add a few whole foods here and there. I'm reminded of Joseph (my bad- Daniel) and the pulse that he ate. He and his friends glowed after eating that stuff for a period of time, there must be something to a little whole foods discipline. I also think of how the WHOLE city of Nineveh went on a fasting spree, including the livestock, so I know that it won't kill John, me or my son to just eat a vegetable soup for a couple of days. We'll see. What do YOU think?

26 comments:

Katie Barker said...

I don't think I'm ready/qualified to answer this yet - but I liked the questions that you asked. They were good questions and some good thoughts. I'll be anxious to follow the dialog.

Katie Barker said...

I guess maybe what I should have said, is that I don't have TIME to answer the questions thoughtfully right now. I do have opinions and a few of my own questions. . . but not the time right before work.

Katie said...

I don't have a lot of time right now either, but I am frustrated that, given my family's current economic status (grad school isn't too profitable monitarily until one has a JOB) we can't eat as whole and healthy foods as we would like. I just really try to keep our processed/canned/pantry-type foods to a minimum and do what I can. I REALLY try to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup and think it's ridiculous that there are commercials actually advocating the stuff. Chris and I have enjoyed following the food guidelines outlined in the Abs Diet book - basically just good, fresh heart-healthy stuff. And I recently started making our own bread using my kitchenaid mixer b/c to buy real whole wheat bread w/o hfcs is pricey.

All things in moderation, I say. (I don't gasp in horror at my children eating mac n cheese, though they don't really like the boxed stuff too much. I've spoiled them with Betty Crocker's homemade recipe. :) Good ole' Betty.) But it's a bummer that the average stuff in a grocery store is so unhealthy now, as opposed to what it was like, say, 50 years ago.

Wild Ghese said...
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Wild Ghese said...

I've been reading in this little "God's words of life for Mom's" that I got from MOPs about health.

There were the verses in the context of meat offered to idols- "Food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do." 1 Cor 8:8

"The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17

Then there a verses about throwing off sin and not letting your liberties be a stumbling block.

"Say no to ungodliness and worldly passions"- Titus 2:12
no control of what we eat, could definitely fall under that category of a lack of self control.

Then there is "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you..." I Cor 6:19 We only like to mention Him when we are tempted with smoking.

Last one- "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." I Thess. 5:23

So, somewhere in the middle. We can't claim that you and I because we make our bread (and we do) that we are more holy. Yet, at the same time we are to be responsible and good stewards of what we have and as far as what we know. I felt that the Lord was working on me to be more prepared about my meals (I was dealing with other things). I wasn't caring about what we ate, at all. I wasn't really embracing my role as a wife. I was addicted to Pepsi and and bitter that I couldn't have American foods, then when I got to the States, I starting feeling sick with all the terrible stuff and that's when my Aunt came along. One of the main points of logic she encouraged me with was that good meals should take time. Nothing about being expensive, just effort. I will say that holiness covers more ground than I think we like to admit it does. Does that make sense? :)

Wild Ghese said...

upon further thought..I think it ranks up there with other Christian disciplines we apply to our lives- but generally, it's not even thought of.

Say, by some weird stretch of an example, we decided that girls should only wear skirts. We couldn't turn around and judge others who wear pants. I will go so far as to say- it doesn't matter if we apply things differently, it matters that we apply the principle of modesty. So if I were a Titus 2 Woman, I would say, along with modesty, you also need to apply the principle of stewardship to what you eat. Apply it how you will, but give the Holy Spirit the chance to show you where you need to make the changes.

Carmen said...

Hmm, that is a very deep question. Difficult to answer in few sentences!
I would not want to make a religion of what I eat. Sugar, fat, cans does not kill us, it is the fact that people overdo it with unhealthy food. We are trying to be aware of what we eat and what we give our daughter to eat, but dont freak out if we dont eat veggies for 1 or 2 days (which rarely happens). little processed food as much fresh as possible, Katharina is used to fruit and enjoys her Gummibärchen and chocolate whenever she gets it :)

Wild Ghese said...

I guess by virtue of the fact that we are new creatures (ALL things have become new), everything has a spiritual significance. Whether you wore blue or pink shorts this morning? Depends on whether or not you care to let God in on that. sometimes I do ask God what I should wear. It may sound crazy, but I think we can pray about EVERYTHING, and God cares. He is not a tyrant, but He is willing to guide us. Do I think I'm in sin if I don't ask Him about the shorts? nope. Should everyone drawing the same conclusions? different story- I think we need to give people liberties to make decisions for themselves and their families. I'm not accountable for what you choose for your families- you are.

Carmen- sounds like you're doin' fine, only you know.

Carmen said...

Hi Sara,
'Suppose you are right. Nowing what is right is not always easy to find out and doing right can also be difficult.
On the other hand we can only be a tool, nothing that we do can make someone turn to god, its all his doing. That must not stop us from trying our best. Whether I should wear pink or blue? I am happy that I have something to wear and am trying to be the child He wants me to be, no matter what cloths I wear or what I eat.
As I said, its a question difficult to answer in few sentences. I must come by when you have time to discuss face to face.
:)

Wild Ghese said...
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Wild Ghese said...

it's more for us Americans who have little concept of self-control. we're extremists. we're either anorexic or obese, seems like. Germans are a lot more health conscious, you don't have to be deep or over think. The general question was, should we be more aware of what we are putting in our grocery carts, or just ignore the fact the high fructose corn syrup isn't actually food at all, for example? Our body doesn't know what to do with it, so it stores it in the middle of fat (I learned from my Aunt). Should we just expect to be struck with diabetes, " 'cause that must be God's will"? or try to live with a preventative attitude. balance.

Carmen said...

Then I'd say we should try to live with a preventative attitude, but balanced :) definetly!
Though that does not necessarly stop you from getting diabetes. My uncle was very strict on his diet. No meat, no alcohol, but still died of cancer.

Take care

Wild Ghese said...

God is sovereign. totally.

Deb said...

Well, this topic has been an absolute battle in our home. Finding a balance especially where eating is concerned is tough. There are many reasons why we don't eat healthy I think. In most third world countries you could never dream of pushing a standard for eating with such economic barriers surrounding the people. We don't live in a third world country but times are hard and most people these days live pay check to pay check. It's a lot cheaper to buy a big box(12 pack) of ramen noodles for 1.29than it is to pay 4.00 for 3 lbs. of bananas. Many people think with their wallets in mind and that's not always good. Biblically speaking, God gives us much freedom on what to eat. We can eat what we want, as long as it is done with thanksgiving and in faith and without gultony. That's where the rubber meets the road. With T and in F. Can we do that the next time we pick up our whopper? You could get 10 people with ten different answers. Then what? The comparison with smoking to a having a Pepsi...I don't know, smoking is scientifically proven to kill you or do major damage to your throat, mouth and lungs. Drinking Pepsi? Occasionally shouldn't be such a problem, but everyday or for every meal...your talking stage 2 diabetes in the future probably. I've heard comparisons of eating processed foods to having a problem with pornography. To that I say...give me a break. The food issue is a heart issue and each family is different. Man looks on the outward information and the Lord looks at the heart. Does God want us to eat healthy? Yes, but let's not make new laws about food that are not in the word and also, the next time we eat we simply need to ask ourselves can I eat what I am eating in faith and with thanksgiving to God or not...
Now, that is the question. :)

Wild Ghese said...

thankful, yes, thoughtful also, yes. I think I'm being misunderstood here. I'm trying to draw out a principle- not a mandate. How could I possibly be dogmatic about how you apply the principle of modesty to your family-it's your family? Modesty in India, for example, means wearing a sarhi (example) which shows the midriff, depending on how you wear it. It wouldn't pass at Pensacola and neither would the pajamas (they wear them in public). Who am I to say they are not modest?
Whether or not you drink Pepsi and eat Macaroni and cheese regularly is totally your business, but I would ask that you consider what you put in your body. Pepsi eats at the bones, btw, medically speaking, plus the sugar content is it's own issue. The root problem is a lack of self control, I don't think it has a lot to do with money for most people. I would venture to say, if you pray about feeding your family healthy food, you might find it takes more work than money. I'm a beginner, myself, so don't quote me. I wouldn't turn up my nose at believers smoking a cigar once in awhile- yet we smile at the preachers carrying around a gallon jug of coke and ostracize the others. Ramen noodles are covered in wax (like eating a candle)- just don't drink the liquid you boil them in. It takes more work, but you're leaving out ingesting the birthday candles with the cake, so to speak.
All I'm saying is how can we be grateful, thankful, when we know that we have not been thoughtful. "Decently and in order." Still, food for thought, not trying to ruffle feathers, but only if it is edifying. Peace.

Amanda said...

this post is going to have to be read with a cup of tea!

Amanda Irene said...

After reading all of this I say take care of your body god would want you to. But my neighbor who has smoked for...forever and is 70 still hasn't died and my very very skinny, health food nut friend has diabetes! Sometimes I think its helpful to think about how god looks at our sinfulness. All the same. Eating homemade bread and saying I gloify god by this might be a stretch. Pepsi is not the devil. glutney is. I will get in shape to feel better and jump higher. But, whatever god wants to do with my life for him .... I don't know I just think he can us anybody any time at any weight. I am not struggling with this one. It is already hard for me to look at very fat people and not judge them. Good luck with this one. ; )

Wild Ghese said...

yeah yeah- If you aren't struggling with this, I'm not the Holy Spirit to tell you that you are. I was struggling, but no way am I more holy for bread making, just like I'm not more holy for wearing a skirt instead of jeans. It's WAY deeper than that. I'm not trying to be anybody's Holy Spirit, I was just trying to make a case for considering what we put in are body's, food, like cigarette smoke. Why be so concerned about one and eat junk?

Wild Ghese said...

...the one...

Amanda Irene said...

I like candy. It taste good. Smoking taste bad! : )
I like candy a lot. a lot a lot.
I am still glad to see that you are moved by this. Thats good. We should make wise decisions!

Wild Ghese said...

don't know what to say about that except, I do too!!!!! but it can make me sick (I'm not just saying that- it really does)

made brownies today! mmmm- good (trying to show I'm not off my rocker)

Wild Ghese said...

Spurgeon was a smoker and Moody was overweight (my Pastor informed me). So to say you can't be used of God if you do those things is lunacy. It's just some more evidence to prove God uses us despite ourselves, but it's not logical to say, because someone decides they are not going to watch their diet, they will someday end up as Moody. "Standards" do not make a man, their yielding to the Holy Spirit does (love, joy, peace...).
However, I think most people would say it is not very smart to eat at Burger King everyday, so if it is a subject to consider, consider it we should, to just what extent is up to the individual or cook of the family, as I said before.

Wild Ghese said...

tra la la -this could go on forever.

Wild Ghese said...

:) can't forget to smile- I can NOT over emphasize enough, how much I am not attacking anyone

Wild Ghese said...

one more thought.
It's not that I think sitting in bars, drinking beer and smoking is necessarily bad, it's that I think the time could be better spent.
Additionally, it not that Pepsi is the devil, it's that I believe water is better.
Will I never drink a Pepsi again? who knows? not right now as I'm considering how far I want to go with this healthier lifestyle stuff.

Amanda Irene said...

I just don't want you to forget god's grace and the big picture. I know you won't!

This could go on forever and ever. ; )