I’ve told myself that I am an emotional eater for a very long time. It’s something that I’ve been ashamed of, an embarrassing habit that I’ve tried to quit. I tried replacing it with something, such as getting outside, calling a friend, playing piano, etc. I’ve tried “controlling” it, by tracking my food intake. I’ve tried to be more “mindful” and “present” with my food. And I’ve tried shifting my mindset, by attempting seeing food as merely fuel. But none of those things have ever dealt with the heart of the issue. And only recently, has my perspective changed on emotional eating. And so have my prayers.
In one sense we all are emotional eaters. We are emotional creatures, who must eat. And yet, there are some who would wish to reduce food down to simply being “fuel”. But food is not that simple. It is much, much, much more than fuel for our bodies. Eating is, in fact, worship.
God, Himself, first speaks of food in Genesis 1:29. Food is “given” by our Creator God. Food is a gift. No wonder we give thanks before every meal! Eating food is an opportunity to “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!”.
In Chapter 2 we read further, “And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Here, food is aesthetically pleasing. And, by all appearances, the food that hung from the tree of life and the food that hung from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were both beautiful to behold. After creating these trees, LORD God commanded the man, saying “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Eating is an act of worship. Adam and Eve, were to trust the LORD God, by eating from every tree of the garden, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Choosing to eat from what God had provided and declared good for them, was an expression of worship, an expression of trusting in the goodness of their Creator and Provider. They had an opportunity to worship, every time they ate. They had an opportunity to glorify God, every time they ate. They had an opportunity to obey, every time they ate.
For Adam and Eve, what they ate revealed the state of their hearts. We live under The Age of the New Covenant, partaking in the body and blood of Christ until he returns, where all foods have been declared as “clean”. (Food for thought in an upcoming post;). The lives of Adam and Eve (Covenant of Creation), and those who were under the Old Covenant (before the first coming of Christ, were saturated with rules and regulations of what to eat and what not to eat. By this, they set themselves apart from the other nations, and expressed their allegiance to the LORD God. But even though we are under the New Covenant, where all food have been declared “clean”, we see that, regardless of which Covenant the people of God are under, food has never been divorced from worship. In the book of Revelation we find ourselves in the New Heavens and the New Earth, seated at His table “invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9). Fast-forwarding to the very last verses of Revelation we read, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.” (Rev. 22:14).
Eating matters. It impacts things. And while the restriction of certain foods has been lifted for us who live under the New Covenant, our call to worship at the table has not. Food impacts more than just our physical bodies. And, if we think that food is just fuel, we are missing out.
For so long I’ve thought my problem was with emotional eating. But it isn’t. My problem has been that I am far-to easily pleased with my petty, self-centered emotions (as C. S. Lewis. points out.) We are created for more than this.
No one can eat for you. Only you can eat for you. In eating, we have an opportunity to give thanks to the One who created us for His own glory. “Oh taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Ps 34:8). Let our eating be filled with emotion, overflowing with thanksgiving to the One, who created us to emotionally enjoy Him, the One who longs to fulfill our every and deepest longing with Himself.
With these emotions, let us eat!