Confession Number 1: I love food.
Now, this may come as no surprise to anyone considering my closet full of plus sizes, but it’s done. It’s out there. I’ve said it.
I. Love. Food.
I love everything about it. I love eating it. I love cooking it. I love watching it being made by professionals and in reality show contests.
The majority of my day is spent thinking about it. What’s for lunch? What’s for dinner? What should I eat for breakfast? And snacks? We’ve got snacks. Cheese sticks anyone? Check the fridge. Quick bag of pre-packaged baked chips? In the pantry. What’s your pleasure, sweet? check, salty? check. We’ve got you covered.
I have a large pantry that’s literally stocked from floor to ceiling. I have two refrigerators. TWO. One very large one in the house for the regular food, and one in the garage for extra drinks and frozen stuff that doesn’t fit in the packed freezer in the house. In my pantry, there are currently five boxes of quick grits and about 7 pounds of oatmeal: quick, old fashioned rolled and steel cut. For real.
Confession Number 2: I don’t eat it all.
Nope, in fact, on Mondays, I go through the fridge first to see what’s gone bad and throw it away before we take the trash out to the curb. Sometimes, when I forget to do this first, I’ll go through and put stuff in a Walmart sack and then run it out to the curb before the garbage truck gets here. (Do I get some brownie points for reusing the sack at least?)
“So what, Jen? We all do that,” you say. To which I reply, “I know.”
I know we do. That’s the American way, right? Don’t feel like cooking? Go out and grab something at one of a gazillion restaurants around town. Don’t feel like eating out but want something other than what’s in stock in your two fridges and pantry? By golly make a trip to the store and spend another $100 bucks on something to satisfy your current craving. Because who gets out of the store for less these days, am I right?
“So what are you going to do about it?” you ask.
That’s the question I’m trying to answer for myself right now. I feel the tension. I want to change. To stop the cycle. To overcome the indulgence, the excess. The thing is, (WARNING: another confession is coming) I like the convenience. I like knowing my pantry is stocked so I can come up with a quick meal at a moment’s notice. I like having a full fridge that has every single item I use to make scrumptious tuna salad when the mood strikes. I have ingredients at the ready for anything. So why do I so often come up with nothing?
Here’s where it gets real.
This summer I read a book by Jen Hatmaker (you’ve seen her name on this blog before) called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. And it really messed with me. In it, she basically fasts, for a month at a time, from various things that us privileged, extremely blessed and very rich people in America live in excess or overindulgence. (If you don’t think we’re rich, then put your iPhone down for a second and look around you. Yeah, you’re rich.) She chose the following categories for her months of fasting: Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress.
So I read this book on my own and was compelled enough to think that I might want to join her in the fast. But I didn’t. Not on my own.
But now? Now, I’m reading it with my ladies bible study group. And we are only taking it a week at a time instead of a month at a time. This week is food. In the book, Jen only eats seven foods for the month. Her friends chose seven of the poorest countries in the world and only ate what they ate in those countries.
My friends are doing fasts in varying styles as well. Some are doing only seven foods for the week, some are not eating out at all, some are giving up favorite foods like sweets and coffee, while others are praying for specific people during meal times. Our leader spent $30 on seven foods eaten by people in the hungriest country in the world, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and when she’s out, she’s out.
“So what are you doing, Jen? How will your fast look?”
Glad you asked. Because (confession time again) I’m stuck. Stuck. Stuck. STUCK. I don’t know what to do.
And I think I know why. (See Confession Number 1.) I DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP FOOD!!!!
I can’t decide which seven foods I can live with for the week. Knowing this and saying it out loud sounds whiny and ridiculous. But it’s the ugly truth.
Here’s what else I know. I’m sick of the excess. I’m sick that I have a gazillion choices at my fingertips when there are millions of babies and mommies and daddies who are literally starving to death and babies being abandoned by their parents because leaving them at an orphanage might give them a fighting chance at life, but staying together means certain death. According to www.worldhunger.org, and the World Food Programme, there are 925 million hungry people in the world.
And I’m confounded by which 7 foods to choose. Which 7 foods can I live with for only 7 days?
~~~ REALLY? ~~~
7 days out of my life I will be inconvenienced. Not hungry.
And that makes me sick to my well-fed stomach.
Through tears I plead, God forgive me for my apathy. Forgive me for my overindulgence. Forgive me for my neglect. Forgive me for being so selfish. Forgive me for feeling stuck with too many choices when there are 925 million people in this world who would kill for a potato. For their one meal a day.
Forgive me for making this about me.
Empty me, Lord.
May there be less of me. And more of You.
And may you fill the bellies of 925 million hungry people in the world today.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.