The 4th of July: Thoughts on Food and Freedom

I hope you all had a joyous 4th of July! Mine was, in a word, refreshing…

I spent a long, wonderful weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska visiting my boyfriend’s family and friends for the first time! The weather was absolutely gorgeous. While the Nebraskans complained about the 85-degree heat, we Texans savored each mellow breeze and relished every erratic drop of rain; we were determined to be outdoors as much as possible, whether eating pizza on the patio (I’ll get back to the pizza later, haha), exploring Arbor Day Farm, roaming around Ben’s boyhood camp like a rambunctious bunch of adventure-seeking ten year-olds, playing volleyball and Ladder Golf on the 4th (a new favorite game), or working out.

Ben and I at the top of a giant tower overlooking the Platte River at his former camp

Every holiday – at least in America – seems to necessitate a swift departure from any regimented nutrition plan. Be it Hershey Kisses for Valentine’s Day, pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, or anything sprinkled, candied, or cinnamon-coated during the twelve days of Christmas, celebrations are, to the fitness enthusiasts among us, an extravagant series of cheat meals – or, more precisely, cheat “feasts.”

Fourth of July fare is no exception to the “eat heartily, or go home” rule that I maintain was signed into law moments after the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Baked beans, home-made pies and ice cream, and anything that can be tossed on a grill constitutes Independence Day sustenance, and what kind of American would I be if I refused to indulge in the gustatory goodness? 😉

4th of July picnic!

While in Nebraska, I not only forgot about the hellacious heat awaiting me back home, but also my “clean-eating” mentality. In four days, I was treated to Ben’s mom’s signature crêpes and lasagna, “must-have” deep-dish pizza from a place called “Old Chicago” in downtown Lincoln, the best mango sherbet I’ll probably ever find from a premium homemade ice cream shop called “Ivanna Cone,” a “gotta try” burger from “Runza,” and a random assortment of other delectable diet-doomers, like a sip of Wild Cherry Coke and bite of an apple cider slush.

Since being freed from an eating disorder five years ago, I no longer chastise my body for eating pizza, burgers, and ice cream. I praise God for breaking the chains of mental and emotional bondage that had strapped food and Self to an altar of idolatry for so long. As a temple of God’s Spirit, I seek to glorify Him with my body (1st Corinthians 6:20), and do everything for His renown (1st Cor. 10:31). I believe that for followers of Christ, eating healthily and working out regularly is a key ingredient when it comes to keeping our temples tidy, if you will. But, as my personal testimony reveals, emphasizing fruits, vegetables and rigorous daily workouts can be just as sinful as a life spent eating Lays and playing Xbox. I believe that the unhealthy stuff should be enjoyed in moderation, on occasions that call for rest, relaxation, celebration, and refreshing.

Now that the firework smoke has cleared and the plastic ware, pies, and party trays have been put away, it’s time to journey back from holiday mode to “everyday” mode, and that means making daily decisions that make me stronger, healthier, happier, more energetic, and thereby, a better steward of God’s gifts and abilities within me.

Enjoying fireworks on the 2nd from the parking garage outside of Memorial Stadium

I’m so thankful for this country and the awe-inspiring reasons we all gathered together with our friends and family, with great food around and fireworks above. But most of all, I’m thankful for a Savior whose own sacrifice has given us ultimate freedom- freedom from sins, diseases, addictions, oppression, freedom from the grave! The day He rose again was the greatest Independence Day of all.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

 


Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di

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2 thoughts on “The 4th of July: Thoughts on Food and Freedom

  • Mark Tyler

    First of all, Nebraska is a much better place now that you have visited (over-the-top flattery). RE: “emphasizing fruits, vegetables and rigorous daily workouts can be just as sinful as a life spent eating Lays and playing Xbox” — I love your perspective. We do honor God with our bodies, and being good stewards of them should be high priority (one I must work at daily). Being legalistic to gain God’s favor is not honoring, whether that’s restricting nutrition (per your testimony), working out, or a million other things. On the other side, finding something to “celebrate” day-in and day-out, and over-eating, skipping workouts, is not honoring either. Where’s that thin line between healthy habits and legalism? Enjoyed your post.

    • Diana Anderson

      haha, i think the flattery was placed at a perfect level, as a matter of fact!

      thank you so much for reading and contributing your thoughts!

      i love Galatians 5:16 which tells us we won’t gratify the sinful desires of the flesh so long as we walk by the Spirit! daily committing my steps to Christ and asking the Holy Spirit to guide me along that path helps me maintain a healthy perspective in every facet of my life. it’s difficult to be legalistic when i’m too busy marveling in His grace! the more I learn of His mercy and the depths it reaches, the less I struggle with the selfishness of my former nature. it’s when i let the worries and pulls of the world invade the intimacy of my relationship with Christ that the old habits resurface. i’m so thankful for the strength He gives us to overcome, and that He’s always, always there to carry our burdens and help us with every care, no matter the size!

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