I am learning what an inappropriate relationship I have with food, and how much it consumes my life.
Now this 7 challenge is not at all a diet, it is not for the purpose of losing weight or getting healthy. Remember it is an open ended experiment, where we have cut back to 7 basic foods, and then we wait for the Holy Spirit to work. But today I realized just how much we center our life around food - speaking specifically about my family.
We awoke early to hit up a neighborhood/community yard sale. I have a needs list a mile long (we ran out of hand-me-downs for Scotty and Cadi. They need a fall/winter wardrobe and a start on the next spring/summer, and I am stocking up for a certain teenage boy - hopefully more to come on that later), so I felt like I could reconcile yard saling this summer. Last year I fasted from them - I had no needs list - and I am famous for picking up items just because they are cheap, and we may need them in the future. But all of those quarters add up to foolishly wasting our money, and really does my daughter need twenty dresses, or ten hoodies, or do I need another pair of jeans?? For my family, the answer is a firm no. So I am cautiously yard saling this summer, with needs list tightly in hand - trying to only focus on that list.
We did well today, and we had fun together as a family. We were there for a little over three hours this morning. By noon we were all hungry, so we walked to a home that was selling hot dogs, chips, and soda to support cancer research. Let me tell you how amazing those hot dogs smelled! I am not typically a hot dog lover either. We rarely eat them, but in that moment I wanted one so much. We were having fun, laughing, enjoying our time together, excited about some great deals we had found, and I wanted to celebrate the moment - the way we always celebrate - with good food. (Okay, okay, I know it has been only 5 days, but in that moment even a hot dog sounded like good food!) And I do this all of the time. I kick off our weekends with a Friday night family pizza party. We celebrate a fun, hot summer day with an ice cream cone. It's not necessarily wrong or bad, either. I was just alarmed that for a few moments while I threw a pity party inside my head, over not being able to eat the hot dog or Cheetos, I actually thought our whole experience was somehow ruined. Now the moment passed, and I regained clarity, along with a raging headache that an apple did little to cure, but it also startled me into realizing the inappropriate relationship I have with food.
Perhaps this little experiment is relearning how to tell myself No, Tiff, you do not need that hot dog. And then realizing that nothing changed. I still had an exceptionally fun day with my family and the food was inconsequential. Perhaps in this self discipline of 7 I am dusting off a little piece of my heart and clearing away some of the junk that has lived there when it comes to my relationship with food. Maybe in doing this I will start to see new growth. Maybe there will now be room for the Holy Spirit to move and grow me in a new direction - in a way that I have never been able to grow before. I do not know, and I do not want to over spiritualize this experiment. But I feel something softening and stirring, and I feel more alert to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.
So for now I will take it. I think I have been distracted by so much of the excess in my life - food included. By eliminating, it seems I am emptying a lot of junk that has taken up residence in my heart. Little by little I pray to become more consumed with God and less enamored with all of these choices - this excess surrounding me, and if that means letting it go and giving up some of the choices and excess. So be it. I am willing.
Jim on day #5. Honestly, he is doing so great. It is a blessing to go through this with him by my side. I am excited to see what God has to teach us together in this experiment as well as individually.