Posted by CharityBlog 0 comments
Wedding receptions. Church functions. Sports events. Weekends with friends. Thanksgiving. The entire Christmas Season. Why does so much of what we do center around food? And not just your everyday gotta-eat-and-go-again food, but rich, decedant elaborate food. (Much of it “non-food”, especially when considering sports events and game watching). Much of our society wouldn’t think about gathering for just a cup of tea and biscuit. At least, not as a group. Food is an assumed addition to fellowship. It’s a “must” to celebrate.
I recently received an email thread that was talking about food served after church for hang out time and the organizing of that service*. In it food was described as “so much of what we do here” and to keep its presence was of utmost importance. The tone was urgent. Touching on being needy and dire.
Now I truly understand the idea of gathering and meeting together and getting to know each other. And I understand that food is not our “enemy” in it’s purest form. I also see that food can be a draw to bring people together. But, does God care if we have food before and after worship service as a group? If we take it away will that hinder our relationship with Him? Will it negate our fellowship as believers? Is food why we gather at church or why we gather for Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter or the Super Bowl or the Olympic games? Is FOOD what we are celebrating? To many of us, the answer, if we are honest, is yes.
Food is so much the center of all of our celebrations in life. In fact, so much so, that for many of us IT has become the celebration. And we want to celebrate every single day. And our society shows it.
We no longer celebrate the life we are given. The bodies we have, the brains we can use. We celebrate what serves those things – the nutrients (or lack there of) we give them. And for that reason we are missing so much of actual living. Because we have become terribly off balance and have allowed what is lesser than to rule over us. I know because I was the one being ruled over for years.
I would look forward to food at a party or a family gathering more than the actual gathering itself. I didn’t care about talking with people or getting to know them or learning about how they were doing as much as I was more concerned about the food. Not because I was starved (although I was pretty limited in my food choices at home… single moms don’t make a ton of money and little kids don’t know how to cook much variety). But because it had become more important to me than the people that surrounded it.
That eventually changed in my late teens and twenties but food still held a huge central role in my life. However, now I can honestly say, although I still need to work on getting to know people in a deeper way, food is not the reason. Food is not consuming my thoughts and calling to me much of the day. In fact, sometimes it’s annoying to have to stop and eat. (I do, of course, but it’s not the highlight of my day).
I want that freedom for everyone. I want life’s highlights to be people and experiences not the constant thought of food or drinks we “get” to look forward to. I want you to be free from food being a central part of your life. I want you to know life as a mold-able thing. A world that you can achieve things and be a great friend or learn a new skill and pass it on to your kids. I want your thoughts free to do life-giving things instead of held down by thoughts of food.
I know some of you will read this and wonder what I am talking about. Others will read it and relate. Some will be mad. Others will feel challenged. Wherever you are with this, do yourself a favor and evaluate your thoughts this week. How often do you look forward to a meal or special “drink” or snack? How often do you seek food over people in your life? Could you go a month without eating things like sugar? Chips? Soda? Your daily latte? Would that be something that would make you feel out of control or angry? Think about how food affects your mood. Then ask yourself: do I want to stay here? Do I want this to my story? Do I want this food over that relationship? That goal? That skill? That trip? That experience?
Tell me what you think. Where you are. What goals you need to set. It’s not easy… but it’s definitely possible to overcome putting food at the center of our lives. Heck, if I can do it, anyone can. (Believe me).
*In this particular example the food was not for the poor or food line. It was about organizing a pot luck after service where members can opt to bring food and eat as a group.