I got the idea for this post two weeks ago in my weekly men’s breakfast with some dudes from church. We were talking about what it means to take responsibility as a man and we turned to the story of Adam and Eve. I am not going to get in to what that story had to do with our topic, because it doesn’t really apply here, but the story itself does.
Think about how you remember that story from Sunday school as a kid. Eve is hanging out in the garden when the serpent comes up and talks her in to eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Then she takes a piece to Adam, who eats it and the fall has happened. But that is not how the story goes at all. I actually had that realization a few years ago when reading Genesis 3. How I missed how the real story goes for 30 years is beyond me. She didn’t take a piece of the fruit to Adam. She didn’t have to. He was right there!
“When the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.” (Gen 3:6)
Ok ok, what does all of this have to do with diet? Really this could apply to any way of eating you have chosen to adopt. For me it is paleo. Maybe you are doing Weight Watchers, Ornish or vegan. Whatever the case, the lesson still applies to you because the real takeaway comes a few verses after.
“The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave me, she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.'” (Gen 3:12)
Did you see that?!? That is the first time in history that somebody blamed his or her dietary failing on somebody else. The woman gave it to me?!? Really Adam. Because you were standing right there with her. Not only did you not do anything to stop her (Can’t say I blame him. Ever try to give your wife dietary advice?), but you took and ate it too. Dude, nobody held a gun to your head. Nobody forced you to eat it. You CHOSE to eat it.
That same thing goes on each and every day of our lives. We get upset at something, so we use that as an excuse to eat poorly. We don’t want to offend somebody who made us a batch of cookies, so we eat them. It’s my wife’s fault because she brought that ice cream in to the house.
Of course none of that stuff we use as excuses is true. In the end we have ultimate control and responsibility over what goes in to our mouths. We are the ones who make the decision. Unless you are a pledge in a fraternity, nobody is forcing you to eat anything. Heck, even then you could always tell them no and just not join the fraternity.
No matter what way of eating we decide to follow, we need to remember that when we go off the rails, it is our decision to do so. I think if we come to terms with that fact, it makes it easier not only to stay on plan, but it also helps relieve the guilt of going off plan when you choose to. It empowers us instead of leaving us feel like a victim. We are not victims of our choices. We are the masters of our choices.