Saturday, September 17, 2011

Food-Hoarding, Part 2

A few months back, I wrote a post called "Confessions of a Food Hoarder." I was reminded of it while writing my post on adoption because "food hoarding" (as I half-jokingly call it) is one symptom of my defiant, orphan spirit in relationship to God. I'll explain.

We talked about how adopted children sometimes need time to embrace the fact that they really are part of the family- that their parents really are not going to give them up- they struggle with trust. "My experience says that I have to fend for myself, so I trust my experience over what these people say." I'm sure it's heart-wrenching for an adoptive parent (or any parent, for that matter!) to see their child continue to live in distrust of their love and experience the negative effects of that.

I grew up in a big family with, at times, a small grocery budget. This meant that dinner went quickly and I had to compete with 5 other kids to clear my plate in time for a second helping. (Which reminds me of another bad habit of mine, eating too fast!) I remember one time a friend came over with a meal from our favorite fast-food restaurant. Shortly after he sat down to eat in our then empty kitchen, there were five faces watching him intently, ready to hear him say, "I'm finished." Ready to pounce.

I used to hide food under my bed (to protect it from the ravenous wolves who all had access to the pantry, of course!)'s the funny part...I'd forget about it. I'd find it months later after it had gone stale. Sometimes I"ll still try and save half-opened packs of crackers or pretzels, or refuse to share home-cooked meals with others (give away food? Ha!) and then I can't even eat it fast enough. A week later that chili I just couldn't share has mold on it, the chocolate stashed in my purse has melted (I've come to see the divine providence of God in sending me to Texas where all my stashed chocolate melts.)

What does all this have to do with an orphan spirit and not trusting God? Well, when I stash food, I'm essentially saying, "My experience says I have to provide for myself, so I'll trust my experience over what You say." And the ironic part about it is it doesn't even work. "Providing for myself" is a silly effort. My brilliantly hidden food rots under my bed.

The Israelites had some food-hoarding issues, too. In the wilderness, God provided fresh bread for them every single day and said, "Take as much as you need! But whatever you try to save overnight will rot." I wonder how many of them tried more than once to stash bread overnight? Sometimes we need to see the rotten food a few times to realize that we're not very capable of providing for ourselves, and that God really is trustworthy.

The best beauty of all is this: not only is God trustworthy, but He wants me to live in the knowledge of that truth. Not only does He provide for me, but He wants me to be changed by that reality. Just like the adoptive parent, God doesn't just love us. He wants us to know and experience and be changed by that love. His loving us is, in effect, what daily works that realization into our lives. I remember tears just a few months ago as I read Ephesians 1 and realized just that.

For almost the entire chapter Paul talks about all the great things God has done for us. He blessed us with every blessing, chose us in love, has given us an inheritance, etc. etc. Then Paul says,

"For this reason, I pray for you that
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe"

I remember being amazed. God doesn't just love me- He wants me to get it! He wants me to believe it. When I really believe that God is my provider, I stop living in a way that says "I'm my provider." When I really believe that God loves me, I stop living in a way that says, "I do good things so that God will love me." When I really believe that I am complete in Christ, I stop living in a way that says, "I need the approval of others to be complete."

As an adopted daughter of God, I am no longer an orphan. God my Father will provide for me. He won't abandon me. He won't leave me to fend for myself. But I have to believe it in order to experience life the way He intends for me.


Melissa Rowe Smith said...

Praise God for the grace he's given you to trust Him actively, because I just so happen to remember a certain someone coming over with a certain decadent meal, sharing her resources AND cooking skills freely... ;-)

By God's grace you HAVE come a long way since your childhood days hiding food. Praise God!

summathetes said...

My dear friend, what a delightful, honest, God-honoring, grace-filled reflection on what it means to be children of God. Wonderful . . . I was encouraged by how you reminded me of our good Jesus' care for us. Thank you for that!

morganclairemyers said...

I like this Hannah! I like your honesty, it's a great lesson to learn. I love that Ephesians scripture.