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The Guaranteed (dis)Satisfaction of Food

I was talking to a friend who wants to lose weight. He said eating is one of the few escapes that provide guaranteed satisfaction.

I mention this because we had a birthday party for Micah today. I was tired and bothered. I haven't slept well because of allergies. And I felt like crap because I hadn't done much to help out with party and Judy was frustrated with me. To cap it all off, I was hungry. So while the kids were outside, I nuked some popcorn and Elliot and I sat down and self-medicated with food. The kids came in and I proceeded to mow down veggie straws, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Eating just felt good. There was definitely kind of a rush and I felt better. I did feel a little sick afterwards but it wasn't that bad. In any case, eating is not in my personal top 5 list of addictive behaviors so its a little easier to have some perspective.

But I realized something - if food is a source of guaranteed satisfaction, if its readily available in significant quantities and is good-tasting, if you feel a sense of guilt and shame when you over-eat, if you often experience pain (emotional or physical), and lastly, if you have a pattern of eating as way of self-medicating, then eating must be a tremendous temptation. The kind of temptation that is obsessive and all-consuming. The kind of temptation that robs you of your joy, hope, and sense of purpose. Thinking about it makes me realize how helpless we all are and how desperately we need the gospel.

Even now as I procrastinate working on my sermon, I feel a slight tug of appetite. Not because I'm hungry but because I want something that feels/tastes good - a candy bar, ice cream, cake, chai mocha freeze, etc. Its not that food is that tempting for me. Its that even minor discomfort drives me towards escape. I want guaranteed and instant satisfaction no matter how superficial and brief the pleasure.

And that's the problem with any and all addictive behaviors, the effects don't last long and they don't run deep. That's a line from a Bryan Wilkerson message about physical intimacy but applies to so many things in life. We want meaningful and enduring but its risky. So instead we settle for the guaranteed, superficial, and brief. And even as we find the promise of lasting satisfaction unfulfilled, we are left hungry to test it again.


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