Two weeks ago I started the Whole 30 Challenge. I would say it’s a diet, but it’s not. It’s more of a “let’s change the way we think about food” thing; I suppose that’s why they call it a challenge. Anyways, I have really loved it a whole lot to the point that I want to “keep it up” beyond the 30 days. I want to just live my life healthier because I feel better, and I like feeling better.
One of the biggest lessons that I am learning is that everything is connected. I mean everything. So, what I eat is connected to how I feel about myself, which is connected to how I treat people. When I feel confident that I am feeding myself well, I am more able to be kind, giving, patient, etc… I’m less overwhelmed and less stressed; I’m able to “stay on top” of things.
Now, granted this has been two weeks, and I have to fight the skeptic inside my head (some may call her the devil) on a way-more-than-daily basis. This skeptic says, “Just wait until next year! New job, new responsibilities – you’ll be so stressed that you’ll start to have daily ice cream indulgences and pretty soon all this hard work will go to waste.”
But the skeptic is wrong. I know this because the other lesson I’ve learned is this lesson that my mom used to say to my siblings and me constantly growing up: No one (and, may I add, nothing) MAKES you do anything. You always have a choice. No matter what – I have a choice. Stress and responsibility do not force me into unhealthy habits; I choose them. Every single day I have to kill off the victim mentality (another name for the skeptic in my head) that I am stuck in my habits and that I cannot move forward. I can move forward. I have moved forward. I am moving forward.
Finally, I have learned (and am learning) so much about sin and God and holiness through this experience. I think about pleasure and indulgences and how the world (and Ellie) is obsessed with them. I desire pleasure always, but I do not always desire goodness. I desire sugar and Diet Coke and fried chicken and chocolate always, but I do not always desire those foods that are good for my body – the things that actually make my body feel good. I have spent so much of my life eating and doing things that make me feel pleasure for a moment, but ultimately leave me bloated and regretful.
And now I understand Solomon who had so many pleasures, and yet discovered that it was all meaningless. And I understand better the twisted messages our society screams at us that foods and things and people will bring us fulfillment and make us feel good, and yet here we are depressed and obese and struggling to make ends meet. And there are people offering answers to our depression and our obesity and our debt – they are showing us truth and ways out, and yet so few people listen. Or we listen, but we’re too busy/afraid/defeated to change.
And I have been there. And I am there. It is easy to sucked into the madness around us that fills our minds constantly until it reaches our hearts and our souls, and we begin to believe the lie that the skeptic in our head tells us. But what I must realize – what we all must realize – is that we do not have listen to those lies. We can care, and we can change, and we can overcome.
Okay – that got a little rant-like for about 3 paragraphs (sawwy) – back to sin and God and holiness and how the past three paragraphs relate to these things: sin destroys; God revived/revives through his son; we are made holy. We are no longer slaves to sin – we are no longer slaves to pleasure. Through Christ, we have the ability to overcome sin in all of it’s slimy, evil, disgusting forms. And we do this as an act of worship. To end, learning self-control (because that’s what this is all about, really), allowing the knowledge of what is good to trump the desire for constant pleasure, is how I am re-learning to worship.
1 Corinthians 6
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.