For some people, this time of year is mixed with joy and dread. Joy, for celebrating the holidays with its giving, caring and sharing, but dread for the unending stream of cookies, cakes, pies, drinks and other bountiful food choices often encountered at celebratory events.
How does one keep from overeating? One may worry.
More than 30 years ago, I had excess weight I needed to lose, and had met nothing but failure with traditional means of losing weight. I finally found a permanent solution through prayer that melted those excess pounds off permanently. One of the spiritual truths I benefited from was understanding that I had dominion over the food choices I made.
The book of Genesis records that God gave man dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26, KJV). I understood this dominion to include the ability to make wise choices, including the ability to exercise moderation and temperance over the consumption of food.
I began to understand that food did not have irresistible power over my mind, for it is mindless. It did not talk to me, form arguments in my thought and force me to eat it. I was a thinking being that could say “No,” to excessive eating and mindless indulgence.
To combat the feeling of helplessness I often felt in the face of food, I found inspiration in Paul’s words, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13, NKJV). I needed help from outside myself, and Christ could provide it. Christ is the mind of God at work on our behalf empowering us to think clearly and reason intelligently. It is a mind with logic more compelling than physical urges and more persuasive than temptation to overeat. It is active in consciousness and found through prayer.
As I committed to praying more before considering food and honoring the presence of Christ within, I gained more dominion over my eating habits.
In the Bible, Joshua challenged people around to declare what god they served. He said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” And he followed this command with his own commitment, “For me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, KJV). To serve the Lord is to love God with all your heart, which is to love the things of the Spirit more than the eats on your plate. It is to cherish spiritual mindedness above overindulgence, and to be content and happy whether you visit the dessert bar or not.
As I sought spiritual mindedness over eating more food, I found peace of mind that enabled me to exercise better dominion over my diet. And the benefits of that spiritual mindedness have stayed with me for three decades, along with a weight I’m happy to accept.
As a child of God, you have spiritual dominion over the food choices you make this holiday season. Be sure to exercise it decisively, and make choices you’ll feel good about long after the last party.
Evan Mehlenbacher is a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science in Richland, and a member of the Christian Science church on Burden Boulevard in Pasco. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.