Definition for Appetite: A desire for food or drink; a desire to satisfy any bodily need or craving; a desire or liking for something; fondness; taste
It wasn’t until last night while discussing on the phone with a friend my newfound eating habits, that I realized these eating habits were a direct result of God giving me a new appetite. I definitely knew that He had put the desire on my heart earlier this year to take my pastor’s healthy eating class (for more info on that click here). I knew He was the one who helped me get through the 7-day vegan cleanse, which turned into a 28-day cleanse (oh my!). I knew it was His strength, especially when the very first 2 days I thought I would cave and reach for the nearest carb as my stomach continuously cried out in rebellion at the leafy greens I kept feeding it. I even understood that He had changed my taste buds. I was able to continue on with the healthy eating practices well after the cleanse had ended and many in the group reverted back to old eating habits. That was totally Him.
Its been about 10 months of following a predominantly clean eating life style (I do “cheat” more than I should and am not strictly vegan). I take no credit in the discipline I’ve been able to demonstrate in the area of eating, as I’ve never been able to demonstrate it before this year. Yet although this change in me has lasted for most of the year it wasn’t until last night that I connected the dots. When I understood that changed taste buds = a changed appetite.
For most of my life I’ve had a lust for food. Once my eyes were placed on a plate of whatever appealed to me most, instant saliva appeared on my tongue and I couldn’t wait to partake as soon as possible. I enjoyed eating, and would continue on in this enjoyment long after I was full because I simply did not want the eating experience to end. As a child I learned that eating made me feel good, and when faced with negative situations I could eat and find comfort in that (although temporary) satisfying feeling eating gave me. Clearly I had developed an unhealthy dependency on food which led to a few different eating disorders, low self worth, and a distorted body image. And even after being delivered from those eating disorders, the lust for carbs, starches and sugar remained.
Now instead of craving sweets I crave carrots. Instead of desiring bread, I desire rice cakes. I actually feel bad if I miss eating some form of greens on a daily basis as I was taught by my Health Coach that we should be eating greens daily. Of course there are times I do crave the “forbidden”, but those times are more rare than they used to be. And I do indulge during those times so that I don’t overindulge for the remainder of the time.
For Thanksgiving I indulged and I enjoyed the greens with hot sauce (that is the only way to eat them!), mac and cheese and dressing with cranberry sauce (I used to smother my dressing with cranberry sauce growing up). But the funny thing is, I could not enjoy the leftovers like I used to (I know, I know, this is really sad). I even included a salad with my leftovers because I felt so bad about only eating the rich, heavy foods I’ve always enjoyed. And as I partook of both, I compared their flavors, how they made me feel while eating, and the after effects of them. What I discovered is that both tasted good but in two very different ways. The leftovers made me feel warm and good inside. They made me want to curl up in my bed, underneath my down blanket, watch movies and take a nap. But the salad was refreshing. It made me “perk up” and gave me energy. (I think my body was probably confused at the different messages it was receiving from these two types of meals). It was then that I realized how much food can effect my mood as well as my waistline.
Not only does healthy eating help you stay in shape, but it makes you a happier person.
So the fact that God changed my appetite has benefitted me in more than just physical ways. This life changing occurrence has given me cause to reflect on other lusts of the flesh and other areas of my life that display an appetite for unhealthy behaviors. I’ve given in to those appetites on more than one occasion, only to remain unfulfilled. But just like that first taste of sugar, those indulgences spiral quickly into addictive behaviors and the flesh becomes awakened. The appetite for the flesh is insatiable and yet deceptively makes us believe we can satisfy it. All it takes is one small bite, to leave us wanting more….
Gal 5: 16-26
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
I see now the picture God was showing me with eating and how it compares the flesh and the spirit.
The heavy, rich foods are in conflict with the light, healthier foods because their purposes are contrary to one another. Both give pleasure, but one leads to bondage while the other adds and enhances life. But just as Christ changed my appetite for food, He is able to change our spiritual appetites. He is able to take away the lust and desire for those things that leave us feeling unsatisfied and replace them with a desire for what is uplifting and fulfilling. If you want a new appetite, His appetite, you can join me in this prayer:
Father, I thank You that You know my beginning and my end. You know me better than I know myself and You knew me before I was in my mother’s womb. Thank You that You do exceedingly, above all I can ask or think. I ask Your forgiveness for indulging in my flesh and feeding its appetite. I receive Your forgiveness and ask that You would help me to forgive myself. I thank You that You already gave me an appetite for the desires of the Spirit when You gave me Your Spirit. I activate that appetite within me through the blood of Yeshua. Amen.
As Christ said on the cross “it is finished.” Just believe…