Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mindfulness and Appreciation

I have always had a difficult time getting out of my head. I am challenged to become more aware of my body, food, and sensations at meals. It is so incredibly difficult. I LOVE to distract. I love to turn off my senses and zone out at the computer or in a good book while I am eating a meal. I think that the more I don’t realize that I am eating, the better. This is still rooted in the fear of feeling and enjoying food. It is a fear of losing control. I am learning more and more that the loss of control isn’t always a bad thing. Until I let go of my illusory sense of control and allow God to take the driver’s seat, I am headed for impending disaster. I want to be entirely in control of my emotions. I want to be in control of my body. But the Lord is calling me to let go. In this moment, it is letting go of my body enough to feel the enjoyment, satisfaction, and pleasure of food. God gave us food for enjoyment, nourishment, and as a physical symbol of our daily need for Him and His word as our daily bread.

Oh, it is so hard. It feels like a necessary evil for me, and given the opportunity to take a pill to gain nourishment, I would. But this attitude limits my freedom and healing. I want to experience what Nehemiah told the Lord’s people as they celebrated the completion of the wall of Jerusalem. There was great rejoicing, eating, drinking, and sharing with those who had none. The verse is concluded with the statement that the “joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” Eating is joyful, fulfilling, and a wonderful opportunity for fellowship. Eating is not at all something to be worshipped, idolized, or feared. It is not to be dreaded, nor are we to simply cope with it.

The process is long. I have to be so incredibly deliberate about mindfulness during meals. But I find ground being gained. The enemy wanted to steal my joy in one of the most vital activities in life, and he cannot have it. I will yet praise the Lord through my meals. I will celebrate that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I will rejoice in a body that receives nourishment. God could have made pills, or He could have made bodies that self-nourish. How odd is it that we have to eat three to six times a day? It is a reminder of our dependence on something outside us. It is an opportunity to trust God to provide. It is also another part of life that God created for our personal pleasure. The body is not for food, but food for the body, and man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the Lord. We are, however, partaking in a gift from the Lord in appreciating and enjoying the food that He has for us: Healthy, delicious, nourishing, life-sustaining food. So I praise the Lord for meals. I praise the Lord for the ability to taste, smell, and chew. They are so easily taken for granted, but I refuse to do so any longer. I commit to recognize the gift of food, and joyfully partake of the daily bread that He has provided.

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