I drove my daughter to school yesterday and heard a caller ask a radio show host advice about a relationship. Apparently, her and her husband have good friends who recently changed there lifestyle habits to healthy eating and no alcohol. The caller was frustrated because her husband and her don’t know what they will do with their friends now that they can’t go eat and drink together. There was much bantering going on with jokes about choosing to kayak instead, but it was obvious that the radio host sided with the caller’s dilemma–Really, what else is there to do with friends except eat and drink?
Maybe we should make the first decision to admit just how much food drives relationships.
We meet around tables.
We talk in kitchens.
We gather at restaurants.
We celebrate holidays, cheer on our favorite team, attend weddings and funerals…all with food.
This is all lovely and good! We should gather. We should celebrate. We should commune together. The gathering and the food itself is not the problem.
The problem is that we learn through habit, then we choose through habit.
As I explain (and go into much greater detail) in my book, The Chance to Choose, sometimes our habits of thought, beliefs, and actions contrast with God’s ancient paths, because they come from what our family, friends, or society taught us, not necessarily what the Bible teaches. Therefore, our decisions come down to the way we’ve always done things. I’ll swallow ice cream because in my family that’s what we do: we eat, we laugh, and we build relationships around our food.
As such, the instinct to cope through eating covers what I really want and what God really wants for my life. The result is never stopping to consider that want or need: that I don’t have to mindlessly eat the ice cream in order to have healthy relationships with others, or that sharing my feelings will lead to inward growth. The act of eating buries emotions and is an adopted coping mechanism, not an action I always intentionally choose for myself.
Habits don’t have minds of their own. A habit is a habit, which means the habit chooses itself on a regular basis, not during special occasions. A habit does not say, “I’ll enjoy these appetizers for the big game, but this week I’ll need to choose differently to offset today’s decision.” No, the habit says, “This choice feels good, let’s keep going.”
So, how do we change a habit?
Through a choice. Through a decision. Not just once, but thousands of times. We keep going back. We keep readjusting. We check-in. We think. We consider and pray. We become aware of the habit and ask ourselves why we do what we’re doing? Do I eat because that’s what I’ve always done? Why am I still doing it? Do I have a choice?
Oh my gosh–YES! I have The Chance to Choose every single thing that goes in my mouth. No one else gets to choose that for me. I can choose abundance for the celebration and I can choose control during the week. I can gather with people and experience healthy, whole conversations without gluttony sitting between us.
We can choose kayaking.
Have you been eating out of habit? Is the choice in food or portion linked back to the way you’ve always done things?
But today is new. And we are all only one good choice away from being back on the path of our goals. Let’s choose it.