I am skinny.
Because I am skinny I don’t get second looks from the elderly lady at the church potluck who whispers in not-so-hushed tones behind her bony fingers that I’ve eaten beyond my weight in pink fluff.
However, guilt does visit regularly because while on the outside I play the part of athletic health foodie, on the inside I struggle.
You see, I am a glutton.
I am an excessive eater, one who is exceedingly fond of or eager for food — especially the sugary variety.
Case in point: Last week I sat down with a bowl of ice cream: black raspberry chocolate chip. I relished every bite, thinking about hot summer days gone by.
Nothing wrong with enjoying a little bowl of ice cream with a side of nostalgia on a warm summer night, right?
The problem? I used the smallest bowl in the cupboard… you know, to keep my portion size down. Therefore, my treat was gone all too fast.
So I made myself another.
While eating the second helping, however, I literally could not. stop. thinking about the not-yet-empty carton in the freezer.
To ease my mind I stole back to the fridge, snatched the half-gallon container, and carried it into the office where I silently (and secretively) shoveled the remaining goodness down my throat.
I’d love to tell you that this was a once-in-a-lifetime binge, but that would be a lie.
I’ve gorged bags of M & Ms and dark chocolate raisins; batches of mousse and bowls of frosting; plates of chocolate chip cookies and jars of White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter.
I am not proud.
But… I am skinny.
Does my thinness exempt me from calling over-indulgence a sin? American culture looks at my figure, nods approvingly, ignores the immoderation and applauds the extra exercise after a binge.
But God? Not so much…
In fact, He says that “…many…walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things (Philippians 3:18-19 ESV, emphasis mine).
My god is my belly?
Well, a mind consumed with ice cream in the freezer does put food above fellowship, contentment above connection, and the human above the holy.
It’s not that God has anything against my consumption of dessert. In fact, He specifically says that while all things are possible and permissible — AND that I am free to do anything I please — not all things are helpful or expedient, profitable or wholesome. And while all things are legitimate, not all things are constructive to my character or edifying to my spiritual life (adapted from 1 Corinthians 10:23, AMP, emphasis mine).
Of course eating an entire half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting wreaks havoc on my blood sugar while increasing exponentially the number of calories I have to walk off… and I’m beginning to see that unbridled consumption of all things dessert is also wreaking havoc on my character and spiritual life.
Pastor Mark Buchanan expounds: “I don’t always get it right. When I don’t, I not only lose self-control: I lose influence. I lose respect. I lose dignity.”
Suddenly, I envision my eleven-year-old daughter who hears me talk of moderation but watches me dish up another carmel sundae.
I lose influence. I lose respect. I lose dignity.
Apparently numbers do lie: small digits on a scale do not reveal the inside “skinny” of a gluttonous heart.