Gluttony, the epidemic.

1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

3 Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.

Isaiah 55

This a topic that the Lord has been speaking to me about for at least a year and one that I dread writing about. Because, I still struggle with it.

Growing up, food was about comfort. I'm Italian and big dinners were often the norm along with all the pasta you could fit on your plate. Other goodies like suppli (fried rice balls with mozzarella in the middle), Gnocchi (potato dumplings), and homemade cream puffs often graced our table. Early on I learned that eating these things could make me feel better. I was often teased as a child, not for being chubby, but for being tall. I hit my growth spurt early and was for years, at least a head taller than anyone I knew. After a day of teasing I'd shove all the cream puffs I could in my mouth. Ah....perfect, I'd think. But then the guilt and shame of what I'd just done would come over me and I'd feel badly again, and the vicious cycle could repeat. Soon the inevitable weight gain began.

One morning I stepped on the scale and was shocked at the number. I'd gotten freedom from many things, but freedom from food was a struggle. As a kid I grew up on diets like Atkins and other restrictive courses, but that only put a band aid over the real problem. The real problem was I felt bad, and I used food to make that better. I took something that God meant for my delight, and used it excessively as an idol. By the end, I no longer really liked food. I'd eat it so quickly I didn't even taste it. I was eating to satisfy something, something that couldn't be satisfied with anything but God.

Gluttony isn't just about eating. Eating may not be your issue, but there are other forms of it. Some women turn to beauty products, chasing after the fountain of youth and letting what they see in the mirror be what gives them joy. Some women turn to sex and others to drink. Anything that is taken in excess is gluttony, and it's an American epidemic.

…we live in a world that has lost its appreciation for small things. We live in a world that wants things bigger and bigger. We want to supersize our fries, sodas, and church buildings. Shane Claiborne, The Irresistable Revolution

We'll always obtain freedom when we turn from our chains and look to God. Slowly but surely my eating is getting better and one by one the links break. I'm learning the art of savoring, of enjoying what I eat instead of trying to satiate my emotions. I'm learning to like all foods, including, yes, vegetables. God gave us such a wide array of things to eat, all good, all nutritious. But most importantly I'm learning to turn my feelings over to God. Having a bad day means that I get on my knees before I get out my fork. My freedom is coming, but it was not immediate here. It's slow and steady. And you know what they say, slow and steady wins the race.


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