Eating with Guilt vs Gladness

I am feeling extra thankful this season because I’ve been reflecting on how different the holidays are for me now. Back in my college days, holidays were nothing more than a time of heightened anxiety around food, calories, and exercise. It sapped the joy right out of every single event, as you can probably imagine.

The past several years haven’t been perfect, but I have found so much freedom from a lot of that anxiety since following Jesus and doing plenty of heart and soul work. The holidays to me now feel exciting, and I look forward to eating delicious meals and enjoying time with people I love. It is pretty much a 180 degree change from spending the holidays focusing on only myself and scrutinizing every morsel of food consumed and, subsequently, every mile logged to “work it off.” NO THANKS.


These verses inspire me so much, and if you are currently struggling in your relationship with food, I hope they can encourage you as well:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:42-47

What an amazing picture of the unity and gladness that food can bring! These words remind me that it is so worth it to fight back against the lies that tell us we are only valuable and lovable if we take up less space. You do not have to control every bite that passes your lips. You do not have to exercise to “earn” dessert. You are allowed to enjoy the holidays (and every day!) exactly as you are right this very second.

[Rebekah Senter Photography]
This season, let’s give ourselves permission to find joy in rest, time with loved ones, delicious meals, rejuvenating strolls outside, or whatever else will help us sink into the moment and pay attention to the gifts in front of us. (Hint: these gifts have nothing to do with the size of your jeans or number of calories on your plate.)

Let’s eat with glad and sincere hearts, praising God, and enjoying the presence of the people around us.

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