Monday, October 3, 2011

No Meat Monday-- Self Control

I just had one of the best weekends of my life!  Nashville is such an exciting town.  It was a much needed break for Forbes and me, and I was long overdue for a visit with my sister!  I believe, in one long weekend, we managed to experience the best of Nashville, including food, nightlife, and recreation. 

I can’t wait to share with you a full recap of our experience.  For now I will leave you with this…

…and now we will continue on with regularly scheduled programming.

No Meat Monday!

If you recall, we started No Meat Monday three weeks ago to show you the Flexitarian way to improve your health.  Eating vegan began as a journey to a healthier way of eating for me and has certainly evolved into a lifestyle.  Choosing a meatless Monday is a way to improve your diet by changing one meal at a time and one day at a time. 

How fitting is it then that in church this Sunday the topic was all about change.  We attended a really neat community church in Nashville called Midtown Fellowship at 12 South.  It is in a quaint white church building near Vanderbilt.  I really fell in love with this little congregation, the praise and worship, and especially the communion service.  The minister was also very engaging as he delivered a well-researched and thought provoking message. 

We listened as he taught us about self-control and how it is an element to change.  Referencing 2 Peter 1:3-8, he helped us understand why we often fail at self-control and led us to the conclusion that it isn’t about how we control, rather why we control.

I have realized that changing my lifestyle and getting healthy has been less about me and more about better serving the Lord.  As a healthy adult, I am more able to follow God’s calling.  I consider healthy not only making wise eating decisions and exercising, but also being free of addiction.  I no longer smoke cigarettes and am working toward a life liberated from the chains of food addiction. 

Addiction hinders my ability to serve God.  It becomes an idol that I prioritze higher than God.  Many times when I tell others that I’m vegan, the first response I receive is: “Oh, no, I could never do that.  I could never give up XYandZ (usually cheese!)”

XYandZ therefore becomes the addiction, the road block to healthy living.  Sure there are many different eating styles that can lead to a healthy life, but when you decide you just absolutely cannot give up something, you lack self-control, and that something stands in your way, acting as an addiction. 

How we change

To overcome addiction, we create new, healthy habits, and that requires self-control.  In the past I have expressed self-control by placing strict boundaries around my eating habits.  With a hard and fast regiment I can adhere to the healthy eating.  But ultimately that regiment fails and I fail.  So then I choose another way to impose self-control on my diet.  More strict rules.  The focus is on how to change, how to achieve the goal. 

When the focus falls on how, we all too often fail because we rely solely on our flesh to achieve the set apart goal.  We forget that God is able, and sufficient and also available to help us instill self-control. If we focus on why we want to change instead of how to change, we can succeed.

Why we change

We want to change because God wants a relationship with us.  When we choose our vices and cravings before the Lord our relationship suffers.  Our flesh will always choose that which will create the deepest sense of pleasure and satisfaction.  We must decide what the choice will be when given the option between sin and Christ.  What will provide your deepest sense of pleasure?

How does this relate to No Meat Monday?  How many of you decided you would not participate because you just can’t give it up?  You can’t prepare a meal without meat.  You can’t go without cheese, milk, butter, etc. 

Well you can.  It’s called self-control.  And you have it.  It was given to you by your Lord when he died on the cross to redeem you.  It is a gift of the Spirit.  It is not earned, but promised.  It’s time to make an effort not excuses.  Choose this Monday to go meatless.  Your health will improve as a result, and you will have also strengthened your power to control your choices through the grace of Jesus Christ. 

Make a choice and go meatless today.  To boost your desire, check out some of these delicious Meatless Meals!

(vegetarian not vegan)

Try out some these delicious recipes and give No Meat Monday a try this week!

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