This is day 28 of 31 Days of Songs and Stories. For an index of all the posts in the series, click here.
Also linking with Five Minute Friday– write for five minutes on a given prompt. The prompt today is “eat.”
I wouldn’t say that I was ever truly a fussy eater, but for a long time I did have fairly fixed rules about what I would and wouldn’t eat.
Around the age of 11 or 12 I decided that I wanted to be vegetarian. I don’t think this was due to strong convictions about the morality of eating meat so much as a desire for control. My parents refused to let me be completely vegetarian anyway. They said if I ate chicken I didn’t have to eat other meat, so I went with that and was secretly quite glad because I really liked chicken!
Sometimes when I was eating out I would say I was vegetarian. This didn’t usually end well. I have memories of eating a plate of plain pasta (no sauce, no cheese- just pasta), of being served an omelette when the one food I genuinely can’t stand is egg, of being given a “veggie burger” that was essentially a salad roll, of a restaurant in France where my “vegetarian” pizza was covered in ham and they couldn’t see any issue!
I’m not sure why I persevered with it for so long, except that, as I say, it was a way of being in control. I think that’s often the case with food, from the toddler refusing to eat certain foods, to my friend who went on a strict diet to lose some weight.
The problem is that often as we seek control, we find ourselves bound. For my friend the strict control of eating became an eating disorder that had control of her. For me, I began to feel that the choices I had made were being turned into rules and used against me: people telling me that I couldn’t eat meat, which of course just made me want to do it because I wanted to be in control.
But as with everything, the answer is not in control but in surrender.
The turning point came when I went to be a leader at a Christian camp for the first time. I decided that I was going to eat whatever I was given. I didn’t want to make a fuss about what I ate and I didn’t want to inconvenience people by asking for different food when there was no real reason for it. I also wanted to set a good example for the young people, so I ate everything: spaghetti bolognese, burgers, bacon… A lot of it I enjoyed; some, not so much, but I ate it. I ate everything I was given.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
I think because I had gone to that camp with the attitude of wanting to glorify God, that had carried across to my attitude towards food. It was glorifying to God to eat what was provided and to be thankful, and as I did, it brought freedom. I can honestly say that since then I have never had major issues with eating. Of course there are foods I like more than others and certain things I’d probably never cook for myself, but generally if I am out somewhere and given food, I will eat it, whatever it is (unless it involves a lot of egg!)
The song I want to share today isn’t directly to do with eating, but it fits well with the theme of doing everything to God’s glory. It is one I sometimes like to listen to at the start of the day to focus on God, remind myself that each day is a gift from him, and that I should be seeking to live in a way that glorifies him.
Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker,
To offer the work of my hands.
For this is the day You’ve given Your servant;
I will rejoice and be glad
For the strength I have to live and breathe,
For each skill Your grace has given me,
For the needs and opportunities
That will glorify Your great name.
I especially love the instrumental interlude in this song which features the melody “Wachet auf” by J.S. Bach as a tribute to the fact that he had his attitude right on this.
Whenever he completed a piece of music, he would end by writing three letters at the bottom of the page: SDG…
…Soli Deo gloria…
Glory to God alone!