Welcome back for Part 2 of our discussion on balancing nutrition and priorities. Read Part 1 here.
This past week I was preparing burritos for dinner. I was frustrated and fretting about the need to prepare my own homemade tortillas. I wanted to…but energy was seriously lacking. So I went to the store. I bought white tortillas. And you know what? I felt free! I felt truly free to eat and enjoy this food without fear. Our burritos were delicious filled with home cooked beans, meat, cheese, guacamole, fresh salsa and sour cream! And we all loved it!
There is freedom in Christ, my friends (Galatians 5:1). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and that includes your food choices (Romans 8:1-2). Fear is slavery. God designed food for our enjoyment. He gave Peter permission to kill and eat. God had made all these food items clean through the blood of Christ (Acts 10:13-15).
This means that when done in a spirit of thanksgiving, we can enjoy the glorious flavors of God’s creation with joy. We love going out to eat and rejoicing in the flavors of Thai and Mexican food. This is part of delighting in the beauty and diversity of God’s creation.
“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31).
Is God being glorified through your fear and striving? Than food and health is distracting us from this higher calling.
So I often buy canned tomato soup, boxed cereal, small yogurts, and minimal packaged foods here and there. Why? Because it makes my homemaking a bit more simple, makes my husband happy, increasing the joy in our marriage, and I do have more time to enjoy my kiddos. I no longer fret about it. It works for me in this season. My husband and my children are happy. There is peace. I want to keep my eyes on the Kingdom. Investing in the souls of my children, serving and loving on my husband (even if that means white hamburger buns and small yogurts for work that he loves!), and giving first to the Kingdom.
I wanted to include this helpful list of guiding questions that Natalie at Guarded for the Gospel shared. These are invaluable. They should be asked consistently when we feel our heart striving, feeling anxious, or overwhelmed.
These practical guidelines will help guard against health/nutrition becoming wrongly prioritized, over and above loving God, family and friends:
1. How does my husband feel about our family’s health and our current diet? What is his opinion about investing extra time/money in this area?
Listen, and really value his thoughts! Unity is so key.
2. What is our current budget? Am I submitting to it?
Do NOT overspend for the sake of healthy food and in doing so, dishonor your husband! You may have nourished his body by putting a super-nutritious meal on the table, but you might be kinda like a Big Mac to the financial “arteries” of your marriage. (You are clogging it up, slowing it down, and working against him if you are overspending your budget!)
3. Does my hubby have food preferences? Am I being thoughtful toward them?
If your budget + your health agenda = lots of beans…
…but your husband does not like beans, then CHUCK the beans!
If he likes meat, figure out how to work meat in your meals! This may be A LOT OF WORK. But if he knows you want to make meals that are enjoyable for him and healthy, he will be more on board with you.
You won’t be gaining any support if you disregard his preferences for a meat-and-potatoes dinner, and serve him tofu served on mixed greens, with flaxseed dressing and pine nuts.
A true story from our house: My husband recently told me, “Spinach is a leaf. It does not belong in my drink. Put it in my salad!”
Yup. Green smoothies are a cool idea to me. Next time I’ll make them during the day!
4. Do my eating habits prevent me from spending time with other people, when I will be forced to eat foods that fall outside of my own ideas of health?
Jesus hung out with lepers. He did not think his own health so important as to avoid contact with people who could possibly jeopardize it.
5. Does my family’s spiritual/emotional health ALWAYS come first?
Baking bread and making homemade butter is NO excuse for not teaching scripture to your children, praying with them, playing on the floor with them, or having time to relax and talk/listen to your husband.
6. Am I keeping LOVE as my first priority? Am I always thinking through how to best order my time according to LOVE, not merely our diet?
These are truly convicting and yet so freeing at the same time. I pray the Lord would bless and keep you and allow you to keep this balance through His grace. Pursue health and wholeness first and foremost through Jesus Christ! I encourage you to make healthy food and lifestyle choices, use whole grains, natural sweeteners, and food as close to the original source as possible, but don’t become enslaved to it.
Try not to go to the opposite extreme of abandoning all and making yourself sick, but rather do not worry about non-organic produce, parabens in your body products, or feeling guilty if you didn’t soak your grains, or fretting that every stomach ache or dry skin issue must be linked to a food allergy. Do your best with the resources God has entrusted to you, guard your heart against fear, and enjoy the freedom you have in Christ!
I will end with this sweet quote by Sheri from the comments on Part 1. She put it so well with this illustration:
I just heard Elisa Morgan from MOPS international speak and her key phrase was, “She did what she could,” from the story of Mary anointing Jesus with perfume. To sum up her talk, God only expects us to do what we are capable of doing, not what someone else can do, or doing or giving to the point of wearing yourself to the ground making you useless. Its a good thing to remember in all aspects of life.