There is a line of reasoning that has floated around the Christian, real-food “blogosphere” for awhile now — “Only Jesus can save you, so food is not important. Food should not be worshiped and should not replace Jesus in your life. All our days are numbered and no choices that we make can change that.”
Now, I agree…to a point. I definitely agree with the first two sentences. It’s that last sentence that has me a bit worried. And frankly every time I read a post that follows this theme (and I have, from several bloggers — I am not picking on any one person, and I am not saying they’re wrong. I believe they felt led to write what they did, just as I feel led to write this) I feel a deep stirring. I don’t even disagree, per se, I just sort of think that this reasoning lacks balance and more importantly, misses the point. I have to share my thoughts.
Frustration with Real Food
What has led a lot of bloggers to write this is their sheer frustration with real food. It’s not that they have a problem with the food itself; they have a problem with all of the intense and very mixed messages flying at them. People are constantly saying things like “Grains are good. Grains are bad. Meat is good. Meat is bad. If you eat candy, you’re poisoning your body. Maybe if you ate better, you wouldn’t have health problems.”
The first thoughts (grains and meat) are simply confusing to many. The last two thoughts (candy, health issues) are not Christian in any respect. Even if you believe candy is poison and don’t consume it in your home, you don’t have the right to judge another’s choice. Even worse, suggesting that someone may not have experienced a particular health issue if only they had a better diet is essentially blaming them for their own choices. Even supposing it’s true — which is only a maybe – it is not your responsibility to point it out. Love the person, and if you have a chance to gently speak into their lives in a helpful way when they are ready to hear it, that is something to consider prayerfully.
These very mixed and sometimes harsh messages turn people off to real food. They stop listening to all the voices. They believe that these voices are, in a sense, evil, and are in opposition to Jesus. They believe people are worshiping the food instead of God.
Food is not to be worshiped.
Nothing is to be worshiped except for our Lord. But the problem here is not real food. It is not any form of natural living. That misses the point.
God VS. Food
Somehow, this has been worked out to be in opposition. God OR food. That is the message that others are receiving. And I think that simply misses the point.
God gave us food. God gave us plants, animals, grains, herbs…. God gave us all of this amazing, wonderful creation! We should thank Him for it and appreciate it. We should partake of it and be glad. When we align ourselves with God and His creation, we can be the best version of ourselves, and fulfill the destiny that He has laid out for us.
We cannot change our destiny. We cannot use God’s creation as a substitute for God. We cannot make our lives longer or avoid hardships that God has chosen uniquely for us. We will still experience illness and sorrow and challenges. Choosing to follow God’s path does not exempt us from that; the Bible is clear about this.
We also cannot judge another’s path. While it may be true for some that choosing a healthy lifestyle exempts them from chronic illness, it will not be true for others. God chooses the obstacles we must overcome and He chooses them for a reason. We don’t always understand that. We don’t know about others’ walk with God. None of us know the mind of God. This is why it is critical to pray before opening your mouth and to speak in love and with the intention to help. It may be that God uses someone to bring attention to His creation in order to heal someone else. Or it may be that it is that person’s time to leave the earth and rejoin God in heaven. We don’t know.
But God isn’t in opposition with food!
Food, herbs, any of these things — these are from God. We feel better when we follow God’s plan for us — which will look different for everyone. We are able to do good things in God’s name when we are healthy. When we make decisions about what to put in or on our bodies, we turn to God and we ask His advice. God and His creation are forever intertwined.
Guilt, Real Food and God
Too many people feel guilty because they don’t live up to what their neighbors or friends or bloggers are doing. They can’t or don’t want to take certain steps. They allow food or natural health choices to bog them down. And they see “freedom” in pushing it away and focusing only on God.
This is dangerous, because it leads to this thought: “The choices I make don’t matter, because God knows every day of my life.” He does. But He also gave you free will, and He expects you to exercise that prayerfully and mindfully. I’m afraid that people who become so frustrated will simply give up and stop trying to eat well or be healthy because “it just doesn’t matter; only God matters.”
As I said, God and His creation are intertwined. You cannot separate them.
The problem isn’t the food (or medicine, or other health-related choice). The problem is the people who are not behaving in a Christ-like manner. The people who will condemn you for making the wrong choice, for being too strict or not strict enough.
The solution isn’t to give up on your journey to appreciate God’s creation and fulfill your individual destiny in Him; the solution is to ignore the naysayers. God and His creation remain as perfect as ever! It is the other voices you must ignore.
Do not feel guilty for prayerfully considering your options and going with what feels right to you. Do not allow other voices to tell you that the way God is leading you is wrong. Do not allow others to tell you that you’re moving at too slow a pace, or that you are harming your family by not following them. Ignore them, for they are not God.
Following Your Path
We are not perfect. Nobody is. And everyone has a very different path. Do not ever feel guilty for listening to God’s voice and following His lead even if others do not understand. We have been told that others will not understand, and that we will be criticized! We need to expect that.
Real food is not always the primary issue in our lives. From hour to hour the main priority shifts, and that may mean that we sometimes choose food that is “less than optimal” because we have another priority. Only God can show us what we ought to be focusing on. We cannot do it all. We should feel no guilt for this.
If you buy your kids fast food for dinner so that you have time to attend their soccer game and cheer them on, the relationships that you build in doing so (rather than being stuck in your kitchen, preparing the ‘perfect’ meal) will be worth it. Is it a perfect solution? No. Is it sometimes the reality that we face? Yes.
On the other hand, if you have a child with severe food allergies, you don’t have the luxury of being “free” with food choice. You should not feel guilty for accidentally alienating those who do not understand or for what your child can’t experience. Having a child who is healthy and happy is far more important than any other rest of that.
Just in case you still feel like others are doing “better” than you are in the real food department (not that it matters!), a bunch of us bloggers will be doing some “real food confessions” in July, telling you all the ways that we fail to feed our families perfectly!
God Touches All Parts of Our Lives
I really don’t like this compartmentalization of God that seems to occur. God OR food…God OR medicine…and so on. Not that it’s true for everyone and it’s entirely possible that I just don’t understand another’s thoughts or feelings. I’m not judging anyone in particular; I’m speaking for the way that I think.
God touches all parts of my life. There is no part that is exempt from His plan and His guidance. He guides my food choices, my medical choices, how many children I will have, where they go to school, even what I might say to someone who has hurt me. Every part of my life has God in it. I don’t need to worry about replacing Him because He is the center. I don’t worry about what others say to me because they are not my judges.
I move on things even when I don’t understand them because I feel God has called me to. Usually that ends up amazingly, when I step out on faith.
I hope this comes through in everything I write, and that you all understand that I’m sharing my walk, my convictions, my passions with you — which come to me through God. I’m not telling you the ‘right’ way to live. I’m sharing with you where I am. My intent is never to make you feel guilty because you are not in the same place I am. My intent is to support you all, prayerfully, as you journey to wherever God would have you go.
I hope that the God vs. Food mentality has been put to rest. Enjoy and appreciate God’s creation and ignore the very fallen people who would tell you that you ought to ever place God and His creation at odds.
**This post has been entered in Real Food Wednesday.**
What do you think? Have you run across this?
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