I can be content with what I should eat and not feel deprived because I “can’t” have everything my eye beholds as delicious. (Like a scotch-a-roo… or a Strawberry Cheesequake Blizzard…or chocolate cake with cool whip frosting...) Attitude is everything. I can choose to view it as “I can’t” or “I can”.
Contented, as in the state of being satisfied with what I have and not desiring more. It doesn’t come naturally; it is a learned trait. And it flows into all areas of my life. This was a great refresher course to re-learn to be content with what I have been given. And it goes hand in hand with thankfulness. Contentedness is a heart condition. It’s difficult to praise God when my heart is occupied with wanting more. (Philippians 4:11, Hebrews 13:5)
In the first week of our diet, we hosted a birthday party for a friend. There was a lot of talk, laughter… and of course food. I was dying to have some cheesy hash brown hot dish or some ice cream cake. An intense inner battle was raging as I kept up cheerful conversation. I chose not to indulge - it took a lot of self-coaching, but I did it. I could have cheated on my diet for one evening, sure. It wouldn’t have ended it all. But the character I gained is more valuable than an entire ice cream cake. This view point, of course, came only after the party was over, everyone had left, and I had time to reflect.
Self denial. These two words bring a certain connotation with them. Work. Effort. No fun. Strong’s defines “deny” as “to deny utterly, disown, abstain.” Kind of sounds depressing, like a kill-joy. That’s not it at all. When I received Christ, my old self died. I am not a slave to sin. I don’t have to give in to my sinful desires which lead to death. I am free. But it’s not that easy. I have a responsibility in this. Following Christ includes living for Him, not for me. As I look forward to the blessed hope in Christ who redeemed me from all iniquity, my part is to say “no” to ungodliness, to not even think how to gratify any desires that do not honor God. Abstaining from anything that leads to ungodliness, which, by the way, also keeps me from harmful consequences. God is protecting me in this; it’s not a burden to bear, it is a benefit to enjoy. (Titus 2:12-14, Mark 8:34, Romans 6:6, Romans 13:14)
The Need for Water:
Allowing water to feed my body, letting the fluid nurture me is new. I am accustomed to using food to fill that feeling. Chocolate…fruit…candy…pop…chocolate milk… I get caught up in how yummy food is and forget what my body really needs and the true goal of eating. To allow my body’s need for water to be fulfilled feels clean…my innards (I love that word by the way- it’s so goofy sounding…innards.) feel free and uncluttered.
This is like letting God’s word fill my soul. Not allowing media like books, TV, movies, music, You Tube, Facebook, Pinterest, (I could go on, but you get the point) to fill the space. It’s so free and uncluttered, so pure. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with media. Too often, it just gets in the way and leaves no space for time with God or mental clarity to focus on things of eternal value. I get all wrapped up in the fun and forget the real reason I’m here. When I’m filled with things of this world, I will feel no need for things of God. God says I will be blessed and satisfied if I hunger and thirst for righteousness. My heart will flow with rivers of living water when I allow my thirst to be quenched by Him. Isn’t that what we are all looking for to begin with? Not letting anything in life quench my thirst except the Living Water will bring the fullness to life I’m searching for. (Matthew 5:6, John 7:37-38)
Attachment to food-
It is true that nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. On my birthday, in the middle of this diet, I decided I could have brownies and ice cream. When I took a bite, I felt disappointment that the moment was not accompanied by lights and music. It was not the ah-ha moment I had anticipated. Could it be that my attachment to food was gone? My taste buds had moved on to other more healthier preferences. Now that calls for lights and music.
Just as this diet re-directed my eating habits, the kind of things I treasure in my heart can be re-directed as well. I can choose to treasure things of this life, things that perish, or treasure eternal things that endure. Planning is a prerequisite for this. If I don’t plan where my treasure will be, my heart will naturally gravitate to the pleasures of the here and now and miss the there and then. (John 6:27, Matthew 6:19-21)