The best conversations happen in the kitchen. I went to open the refrigerator door for a late snack. My wife turned to me and nonchalantly asked, “Would you like to participate in a four-week clean eating detox with me?” As soon as she asked the question, I landed in the quandary of to eat or not to eat.
We agreed to clean eat together for four weeks. My sister in law Kim provided us with a meal plan and protein powder for shakes. Today marks the halfway point of this challenge. That’s two weeks without sugar, gluten or dairy.
Something happens to us when we change our diets. Often, it’s less about what we have removed and more about how we have replaced what we removed. What we eat and how often we eat says something about our spiritual lives.
When Paul talks about food in I Corinthians, he gives them liberty to eat whatever they want with a caveat. You can eat as long as it’s beneficial to you and to others around you (1 Corinthians 10:23-33). Just like Jesus said in the Gospels (Matthew 15:11), food points to our hearts. Why we eat informs what we eat.
We eat for comfort. Sometimes we eat to belong. We eat to calm our anxieties. We eat out of our emotions. All throughout scripture, humans were meant to enjoy and find nourishment in food. It was never meant to control us.
Eating, like many other ordinary routines and tasks, points us to the state of our hearts. I’m challenged to delineate a need from a want. I have had to daily deal with the question, what really fulfills my contentment? Monitoring each morsel has taught me what it really means to savor and to redefine my appetite.
When we follow Jesus, He invites us to seasons go without so that we can replace that space. Silence moves us from our own noise to hear Him. Sabbaths relieve us from over managing our lives. Clean eating and practices like these call us beyond the surface behavior to ask us questions of the heart; What do we long for? What brings contentment? What offers us joy?