Empty Shelf Challenge Book #5: It Starts With Food by Melissa & Dallas Hartwig

I finished my 5th book for the #EmptyShelf challenge.

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig

This book is a little different than my usual fare 🙂 I mentioned in my last #EmptyShelf post that I struggle with overeating, and I was doing a modified fast with my church. The Whole30 program is based on this book, and so I borrowed it from the library.

I enjoyed the book. I can’t say I agreed with every conclusion. Some sections, I did not meticulously read word for word as I would other books. It’s not really that kind of book 🙂 I was interested in what it had to say about inflammation and some other health issues I face.

Well, the proof is in the pudding, right? Or lack of pudding, since pudding is definitely not allowed on Whole30 🙂 Now that I’m done with the fast/Whole30, I have noticed some changes. I do not crave sweets – at all. In fact, yesterday, I have some banana bread that I made, but that was the first time I had something that could be considered a “sweet.” I also notice less aches and pains post-exercise, but I’m still on a modified workout plan due to injury. I eat a pretty clean diet anyway (gluten-free, low grain, and mostly dairy-free, with lots of veggies and daily green smoothies), so the biggest change for me was not cutting out grains; it was eating so much fat.

All and all, it’s an interesting book/theory, and can be very helpful if you’re trying to clean up your diet. The program seems particularly helpful to those who have autoimmune disorders.

My books so far on the #EmptyShelf challenge:
           

Freedom Friday: Selling My Birthright

Driving to church on Sunday, I heard part of this sermon (Aug. 5th, 2012) based on these verses from Genesis 25:

Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)

Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright. ”

“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.

So Esau despised his birthright.

red lentils

This dramatic and fairly well-known story describes the dynamics between twin brothers, Esau and Jacob, sons of Isaac and Rebekah. It was a volitile situation even from the womb, the Bible describing how the babies “jostled each other” within Rebekah. Esau was born first, but, not to be outdone, Jacob came out grasping Esau’s heel.

Yet Esau was still the first born.

We don’t have that many parallels today in Western culture as it pertains to birthrights. In Jewish culture, the firstborn child was given certain rights, privileges and inheritance simply based on the fact that he was born first. It is in Genesis and the story of Jacob & Esau where the rights of the firstborn are first talked about.

As believers, we have all been adopted into God’s family, and we are all His favorites. As His children, there are certains rights and privileges that God has given to us, promises He says will be fulfilled if we follow and trust in Him, surrendering our entire lives over to His lordship.

As I listened to the sermon, I couldn’t help but think of my struggle with overeating.

Am I selling my birthright for a plate of food? I wrote a poem that was posted 2 days ago if you missed it.

Alicia Britt Chole dissects the temptation of Jesus in her book, anonymous. You can read a Biblical account here.

Jesus has been fasting for 40 days and was genuinely hungry. Satan tells Him to turn stones into bread.

What would be wrong with that? Eating is not a sin, after all. What would be the harm in having a bite of bread?

From anonymous, pg. 65:

I find it noteworthy that Satan did not suggest that Jesus run into town and steal some food – that would have been a blatant violation of God’s commendments. But eating? Food in itself is not sinful. And here is where Satan’s lures can be deceptive. This layer was not about what Jesus would eat as much as it was about when Jesus would eat. Would he obey Father God even when obedience meant delayed satisfaction of legitimate needs?

In the layer of appetite, we witness Satan’s skillful use of a most effective lure: immediate gratification.

Imagine where we’d all be if Jesus sold His birthright for a plate of food.

Your issue may not be with food. It may be with gossip, crass talk, pornography, stealing, or subtle lying. Those could all be considered “false foods.”

What are you selling your birthright for a plate of? What false food do you run to in order to try and satisfy legitimate needs in illegitimate ways?

It is not likely that Esau was literally going to die of hunger, as he dramatically stated. Yet he was genuinely hungry.

Often when I run to the cabinets, I too am genuinely hungry.

But my hunger is not for food.

I desire comfort, escape. I am tired, lonely, bored, in pain, and am looking for a way to forget, to flee those feelings.

My need is legitimate, but it cannot be meet with food. My need is for God, spiritual strength, companionship, laughter, joy, peace and rest.

Think for a minute.

Are we despising our birthright, as Esau did, because we choose to run to false food instead of Him?

Are we missing out on the fulfillment of God’s promises – His presence, His provision, our inheritance as His child – in favor of more immediate gratification?

Is the pay-off, the “reward” really worth it?

I sold my birthright for a plate of food.

I sold my birthright for a plate of food.

Wandering the pantry, the fridge, the cabinets.
Grazing for just the right thing, the one morsel to satisfy
The craving, the longing, the pain.

But the need was like a monster.
With every bite, the pit of desire grew.
Larger. Deeper. Wider.
Never full. Never satisfied.

I sold my birthright for a plate of food, and I wasn’t even hungry.

I sold my birthright for a pretty picture.
Faces on the screen, looking deep into my eyes,
But never really seeing me.

And I looked and I looked and I looked
Until it wasn’t fun anymore,
Yet I couldn’t turn away.

I sold my birthright for a pretty picture, and I wasn’t even seen.

I run everywhere else first.

The pain of longing comes and overwhelms,
Yet I take it on, allowing it to drown me.
Forgetting Your power, Your provision, Your presence are always there.

Then somehow, when my feet tire and my brain aches from trying to make sense,
I remember.
You are there.
Available, present, ever welcoming.

If I stop.
If I am still and hand the cravings to You.
They are too heavy to carry.
You say, Come. Rest. My burden is easy. My yoke is light.

Sitting with the pain,
Pushing away the longing,
Pressing our desires into Your heart,
None of this comes naturally.

How often I sell myself short,
Ignoring what You declared rightfully mine
In favor of something I deem gratifying.

I’m always wrong.
Still, You are true. Only You can satisfy.

Teach me, Lord, to welcome the uncomfortable,
To sit with the ache,
And rest in Your arms.

All that I have is yours, child, if you will just come to me.

I sold my birthright for a plate of food, and I wasn’t even hungry.

This poem is a response to a sermon I heard a portion of this past Sunday. I hope to share more about overeating and surrender in the coming Freedom Friday.