I love potatoes. Mashed potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, baked potatoes, Texas potatoes, purple potatoes, russet potatoes, golden potatoes, red potatoes, you get the idea. Give me any sort of potatoes, especially during pregnancy, and I will gobble it up. Yet potatoes are quite a heavy carbohydrate. Still packed with nutrition and still good for our bodies, yet maybe not so slimming to most people when consumed on a regular basis.
There are things in life that are similar. Those things are 'heavy' yet packed with goodness. If consumed on a regular basis, they will weigh us down just like regular consumption of white potatoes have a tendency to pack on pounds.
Good things and Best things
Lately, I've been thinking about the heaviness of a crunchy, natural, or health-driven lifestyle. You can insert your own description into this. Maybe you are a person that prefers all organic food, a certain diet, or a heavy exercise routine. All of which are good things.
The Apostle Paul in his writings seems to use the metaphor of health and exercise quite frequently.
"For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."1 Timothy 4:8 ESV
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control,[a] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
Yet what happens when the good things of health become our primary objective? When eating healthy takes away the joy of consuming food. Or preparing healthy dishes takes away valuable time from our families? When does exercise become obsessive instead of constructive? When cloth diapering becomes a pride issue instead of a helpful habit? Maybe buying products that are considered 'natural' becomes a stress factor instead of an enjoyment. There are many scenarios that could turn into 'primary' objectives instead of a healing or helpful lifestyle.
Do you see where I'm going with this? I'm sure you do because there has been countless sermons, devotionals, and books written on the topic of replacing the good things with the best thing.
The best thing on this earth is when our affections and heart are turned toward Jesus in every way.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5
Easier said than done when our habits weigh us down more than they aid us in turning our hearts back to Jesus. Maybe that is how we evaluate if a habit is worth our time. Is it consuming our hearts with heaviness by it's disciple? Or is it turning our affections back toward Christ?
Potatoes can be heavy. They are heavy because they are starch full of glucose (sugar). The glycemic index rates food based on how fast its sugar raises our blood glucose levels. Normal table sugar has a glycemic index of 59 and yet the popular Russet potato ranks as high as 82!
Yet there are many varieties of potatoes, including those like the purple potato or sweet potato, which depending on how you cook can rank as low as 40 on the glycemic index. That is a huge variance.
A small choice as simple as the color of potatoes that we cook has an incredible impact on how our body reacts to them. A russet potato has the power to quickly raise our blood sugar levels yet a deep purple potato has the power to gently raise our blood sugar levels and consequently treat our body gentler.
Could it be that simple choices impact our spiritual health as well? Take time to read scripture instead of rushing to make make the healthiest breakfast possible. Playing with our children instead of obsessing over our cloth diaper stash. Going on a nature walk with our children and basking in the creation of God instead of cranking out a harsh three miles at the gym.
It's about our hearts. It's about the choices we make that turn our affections toward God instead of toward ourselves.
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down,Proverbs 12:25 ESV
but a good word makes him glad.