Friday, January 18, 2013

Out of the Health Maze, Into God's Peace - Part 5


It has been rather scary talking about the subject of health and what the Bible says about it. I know it is a controversial subject that we won't all agree on. In this last post, I will share some of the conclusions I came to when I truly dug deep in my own heart. 

I am glad the commands in Scripture work for all times and all people. If the Bible instructed us to eat the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern diet that Jesus ate, those of us in a different climate would struggle to obey. Though God specified in the Old Testament how the Israelites should eat, He doesn't describe a perfect diet in the New Testament, and we are able to adapt to our cultural settings.

In some ways, I am limited by my circumstances. 

When I read books on the subject of health, I often become frustrated when I think of stretching the grocery budget to purchase the avocado, wild salmon, organic blueberries, natural sweeteners, and myriad of health supplements they claim are crucial to good health. I can't buy all free-range, grass-fed, organic, free-trade food and still meet my grocery budget. I can't grow, raise, and make all my own food from scratch and still have time for the things God has called me to do. 

I can do my best to stretch my budget and buy quality food. Food made at home is typically far cheaper, and healthier, than processed food. But I may find some things are not possible with where God has placed me and the priorities my husband and I have chosen. I can choose to accept my circumstances as designed by God for me at this present time and not be consumed by guilt by what I cannot do.

Why did the topic of health bring me confusion, fear, and guilt? When I took an honest look at my heart, I found health placed on a pedestal where it did not belong. “The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.” (Psalm 135:15) My pursuit of health didn't look as sinister as a golden idol, but my trust was in man, man's books, and man's ideas, and not on the Giver of Life.

I claimed the promise that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) If fear and confusion do not come from God, my preoccupation with what I fed my family was wrong. I needed to confess my sin in looking to man to give health and seek God's direction in this area of my life. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

Do I still read health books? Yes, I do. I enjoy the opportunity to learn new things. 

Do I still try to serve my children nutritious food? Of course. 

But I have learned to check my heart often and search for fear, pride, and frustration that appear when health has become an idol.

I'd love to hear from you. Am I the only one who has allowed health and nutrition to become the focal point?

Read the whole series - Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

27 comments :

  1. Nope. You're not alone. Actually, God has been dealing with me along these lines in other areas, too. I was just telling my husband this morning I feel like God is tugging at my heart to purge anything that is wanting to pull me into worry/fear/anxiety and anything that gets my focus off the fact that He alone is my peace, joy and provision.

    Excellent wrap up. Thanks for being brave enough to tackle the subject. :-)

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  2. Enjoyed these posts very much. Thanks for writing it even if it was scary for you. I found encouragement and stability even if I do have to adhere to certain healthy food choices because of my tummy ache child. God's truth is still usable for my situation as well. For myself personally it was a good reminder to love and not be critical if someone doesn't make the same health choices I do. It's easy to wonder why one person can keep junk food in their home but I can't.....but my priorities need to be about God's truth and wisdom for my family, not their family. Ya, and hopefully I'm not too gullible about everything I read. I've been researching a lot lately.....whew!

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  3. Gina,
    I have pondered with the subject of eating healthy; trying to avoid processed foods along with keeping my weight in control. I become frustrated at times and really know God doesn't want us to have the feelings I possess. I have to come back to my beliefs and try as hard as I can to rely on HIS knowledge to keep me in check. I honestly think you do so much for your family along with serving God and you need to give yourself a BIG pat on the back!!!!!
    Blessings to you and your family
    Debbie S.

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  4. I know this is going to seem somewhat crazy...but: go back to plain learning (this has nothing to do with yours or anyone else's expression of the faith). Honestly, what seemed good to me (web sources) caused over the years more stress. We do live in a time where for me, a nyc resident, procuring "safe" foods either drains our resources or one just learns how to effectively wash/remove what they can. That being said, I had forgotten to 'trust God' for what I cannot control (my beloved's income). I became very rattled. What has helped (and I have Sandy Fallon's book, Nutritional Healing, etc) was: get OFF the "healthy living" sites...all of them...and slow my brain, pray...not obsess and ask His blessing. This has done so much to cut out anxiety, keep me a good wife whose husband trusts in me, and our budget allows a faithful tithe. Praise God...we can do what we can. We can have 100% healthy bodies, live to 200 years old (joke)...and we're still gonna die. It's balance, Gina. Balance. The preoccupation is not of God. Don't let your eyes behold what you may find a stumbling block. It may not be a stumbling block for anyone else but you (or me). That's okay! My son is special. His food requests would freak some out. But...I do what I can. And leave the rest in God's hands. Keep learning...but rest. ;o) Off to get those nitrate-riddled hot dogs now. Lol!

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  5. I've enjoyed this series! I've found that during certain seasons of my life--such as when we have a new foster placement--I have to lower my standards. It becomes necessary for me to make simple meals, and not try to make all my own bread or keep my kefir going. I too have to live within the constrains of my budget. Moderation in all things!

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  6. I have appreciated these posts, Gina. I felt like they were well balanced and actually, I have gone through pretty much what you described and have come out at about the same place you have. So interesting. I hear the words "fermenting vegetables, sourdough bread, kefir, etc." and I immediately think Sally Fallon or someone along these lines. We don't have the kind of budget either where you can go and buy all the really good stuff but I think we're still fairly healthy! Good attitudes and trust in the living God is the ultimate really. Well, I didn't mean to preach a sermon but just want you to know that there's someone out here who identifies almost exactly and you're not alone which is also obvious by the other comments. Be encouraged and hang in there! You have a lovely family and I like seeing the traditions your family holds like doing butchering and making applesauce together etc. This old world needs a lot more families like that!!

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  7. There have definitly been times in my life where food and eating "right" have been an obsession for me.

    Over the years there were a number of "turning points" that brought about one level of healing or another. In High School I was obsessed with losing weight. One day it occured to me that if losing 10-15 pounds was the biggest problem in my life, then in reality I HAD NO problems other than being spoiled!!! I was convicted and began to think more about those who go hungry...not by choice.

    Today I have a new delima that grabs my attention: is the tap water safe? Is the wheat genetically modified? Are fish full of mercury or radiation? How do I mitigate the (food) issues of a fallen and corrupt world?

    I challenge myself to focus on God and His help. (Not so much my own ability or lack thereof) Sharing the challenge with other seekers is very helpful! I love what you said Gina, about the fact that our bodies, though temples now, are mortal after all, and the MOST important thing is our eternal relationshop with our Father.

    Thanks Gina! And others who have shared and prayed!!!

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  8. From all the reading of comments. It seems God is dealing with a lot of us to come out of the lie and into the truth. Reprove, test the spirits. It is wonderful to see God is working the same things out in so many of us. I am thankful to God for His goodness. We pray for one another,especially in these days of great trials.

    this was a great post, and your heart was shared. thank you

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  9. Gina
    i have to say this, with a chuckle...have we all been pruned a little

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  10. I have been feeling a lot like you have about being confused by the health industry and how there are always new supplements to try and foods to eat, weight loss techniques, etc. Thank you so much for putting my exact feelings to words. God is the ultimate healer and provider, and although I believe God uses people, doctors, hospitals, etc, the source is always from God and we need to give Him all the glory. Great job with this series!

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  11. You are not alone! In my younger days I put so much trust in all things "natural"... natural living, natural childbirth, natural foods,natural medicine, etc... Then when I was 22, the birth of my first son (all natural and all a traumatic disaster) made me realize that I was NOT to put my trust in any single thing other than God. Even natural things (whether it be birth, food, meds). Yes, God made nature, but then our sin made nature and our world fallen. "Natural" was not to be my driven focus (there are flaws in it and it is not all marvelous though much is still good), but God is to be that focus.
    While I still tend to live more simply and basic in a lot of areas, I remind myself that it is not a guarantee of anything and I am not to let it become an idol. Once God took my trauma and taught me many things, it has become a blessing and one I'm thankful for. He has given me a much more balanced outlook, in my opinion. :)

    Anyway, just wanted to show how your posts about natural food can also relate to other "natural" areas.

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    Replies
    1. Excellent and very helpful comment -- thank you!

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  12. Gina, I enjoyed this part very much! I believe that as I shop and cook, I ask God to help me and He always does. I love to use what He has given us and we always thank Him for His provisions. I love hearing the truth! And your very kind and gentle on how you approach it.
    Grace, Roxy

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  13. Very good series, Gina!!
    And a great reminder to look to Jesus as our Great Physician -- we're wrapping up the flu at our house (O hasn't got it yet; the rest of us are in various stages of still-having and recovery). I'd been feeling guilty for not making sure the girls were washing their hands / not making sure they got Elderberry / not making sure they got vitamins / sressing over whether it was better to give them drugs or herbs / etc.!!

    Thanks so much for redirecting my gaze to Jesus. :)

    Holding my tramped toes,
    Karen :)

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  14. Thank you for writing this series. I believe that this topic is on a lot of people's minds. i think we can all agree that it is important to eat as healthy as we can (common sense healthy, not over-the-top supplements, fads, etc.) with the financial means God has provided for us. And that could require us to be flexible, as the financial situation of our family changes over time. I have found myself guilty of being preoccupied and confused with all of the food information out there. Your series is a great reminder that God does not desire for us to be confused or fearful about anything, including our health. It is all in His hands anyway.

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  15. After a 2 week computer break, it was a treat to come back and read this series. God bless you for sharing and being real and transparent. It would be fun to chat with you in depth about these things. I've been through all this... amazing how God keeps working on us to draw us to dependence on Him! I agree with your points! We are all real people, glad you got brave enough to share!

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  16. Thank you so much for posting this series. I've been struggling with these issues as well. Working with a tight budget and trying to plan/prepare healthy meals can be frustrating. Making the grocery list has become a time filled with anxiety. Honestly and embarrassingly, I tend to get very caught up in nutrition and reading who is making,canning or fermenting what on their blog. As wives and moms, we want to make healthy choices for our husbands and children. It's so easy in today's world to become focused on so many different areas, and I have to retreat back to my Bible to find where my focus should be. I want my girls to know that it is important to make healthy choices when it comes to our bodies, as God made us. The girls and I love spending time preparing meals and trying out recipes. I just want them to know, that in the end, it's having a relationship with Christ that is the most important and healthiest choice there is. Thank you again for posting this and sharing your heart. It is a blessing to moms and wives.

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  17. I have struggled with this for many years, worrying that my pursuit of healthy might be becoming an idol. And like you, I've turned to God's word for guidance. Thank you for your insight into this matter.

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  18. I enjoyed reading along with all of these posts! In fact, I intend to go back when I have free time and print them out. I appreciate all of the scripture. For me, that is the most important part.
    We also need to remember, we can do it all "right" and the Lord is still soverign over all. He can allow anything into our lives as He sees fit. Including sickness and disease. It's a delicate balance as someone already said. Not living against scripture, but not using our freedom to indulge knowingly! There will always be challenges!
    Annie in CA

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  19. Thank you all for your kind comments. It is encouraging to know that many of us are seeking the Lord for every area of our lives, including health.

    Blessings,
    Gina

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  20. This was a great series of articles. I have wished, wondered and considered the benefits of doing a total upheaval of my menus and grocery shopping, only always to step and and know that I could never afford to do it "right." So I realize I need to do what I can, and leave the rest alone. One thing you said especially stuck out, "Nothing I do will thwart the hold of sin's curse on my physical body here on earth." So true. To try to thwart sin's curse, as you said it, is to live in fear. Thanks again for posting.

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  21. Thanks for writing. You have added thoughts to the already present stirrings in my mind and heart.

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  22. Great post! First I love that you spoke about what you can afford. I'm in the same boat and we've actually been hungry because of my desire to follow a certain nutritional plan. I've been nervous about having 'healthy' families over of what they might think about our food. But now as we move to a low Carb adult diet (my dh is diabetic & I am pre diabetes) and while serving the kiddos a diet with carbs. I find myself wanting to go ALL the way !!! This was very timely for me to remember God is in control. I praise Him, my sweet Jesus! Thank you for pointing out spirit of fear, because I know I have a spirit of power!

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  23. I enjoyed reading these posts. I assure you that you are not alone in your desire or understanding of a healthier diet or being confused on the subject. Years ago I dealt with the same confusion. In my quest to make healthy and Godly choices I turned to organic whole foods. At the time of my conversion it wasn't in vogue so I stood out in my thinking and choices and in many ways still do. I have kept to my convictions and walked in faith that I was doing what was best for me and for my family. All these years later I have enjoy strength in my body and mind and enjoy greater health then I could have hoped for. I do not find fault with those you have chosen a different path but do try and teach the benefits of a better way.

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  24. I'm agnostic, but this spoke to me. In a lot of things, I feel better if I understand that the standards I set for myself are based on my circumstances- how my body feels, how much time I have, what food I enjoy. Other people were brought up differently and have different lives. It's better for me to appreciate the love that goes into someone cooking for me, and to let those judgmental thoughts come and go without dwelling on them. As a result of this, I have been amazed at what lengths my friends will go to for me. When I became gluten free, I thought it would mostly be the end of eating out or eating with my friends. Instead it has been an amazing way to find out how loved I am.

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  25. I wonder about this we are the first culture since the begining of time to posion our food like this so therfore it is harder for us as mothers and food makers to navigate the food choices for our families. I don't think this concern is wrong and it is our responsibilty to feed our family FOOD and most of the things in the supermarkets and takeaways are not food they are some companies attempt to make money with no concern for the health of the nation IT IS NOT FOOD so we don't eat it we eat God's good food and yes it takes longer but our grandmothers did it always packing good food for a journey because there was no takeaway growing what they could and being thankful -don't buy into the fear and stress of our age but don't buy all the rubbish either we can't get organic much here but we give thanks for all we have and eat real food and nothing proceesed -and we make the best picnics and this makes us inderpendent from the takeaways ask for help and to be shown the steps you can take and start taking them train yourself and within a year you can be free from the stranglehold that the food companies have find out which are the worst non organic foods and don't buy them the rest wash well or peel and give thanks but flee from processed rubbish learn about the real baddies like corn syrup and NEVER touch them this means you can't buy 90% of processed food realise that this sets you and your family free from the minefield of bad food choices (and saves you $ and having to go down over half the supermarket)go though the stuff avalible and find out what is food and ok give yourself time to do this for example if you buy cakes or cookies find out if there are any real food (if the ingredent is not in your pantry then its probilbly not ok) ones avalible change to them if not make your own start with one food group and spend the next few months working though them by the end of the year this will be second nature and not stressful at all like learning to play ball at first you wonder if you can ever hit the ball then you watch it fly get the faimly involve find the real foods that work for you and have fun remember food is about health and fellowship it is to be enjoyed

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  26. Hello Gina, I just found your website today. My husband, daughters and I are from NMB and thankful the Lord lead us to this loving, Biblical church almost 6 years ago.
    I'm in my 50's now, and travelled through the "Health Food" world for about 15+ years. It often generated a great deal of confusion, legalism, pride and wasted money.
    We've gone back to simply eating lots of fruits and vegetables along with our various meats & fish,a few sugary "goodies" here and there, and the Gluten Free diet we are compelled to abide by, as we are Celiacs.
    We have a garden and raise our own chickens and pigs for meat; and are thankful for the opportunity. We see it as God's provision for us; but are also glad to share our abundance (2 Cor 8-9) so that all may have a sufficiency.
    I've seen many young women get caught up in the "natural health" maze who do not realize how unbalanced it is Biblically, and often unscientific too. It seems this is one of the ways that Satan gets Christians' focus off of Christ's work here on earth.
    How can we give more to missions when we are spending so much on supplements and all organic foods? How can we share meals to fellowship with others if we insist on a vegan diet? How can we justify Kenga water when people in Africa drink from mud puddles?
    May God help His people to be thankful for His provision--whether it is white bread and Skippy peanut butter, Gluten Free Cracklebread and deer baloney, or fried fish and a "mess of greens"!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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