Healthy Choices For My Mouth

 I've been trying to eat a little more healthily lately. It's not much fun, but the results are good. It means I really have to think about what I'm going to order at some of the places my family eats regularly occasionally.

At Wendy's I've started eating a large chili (surprisingly good for comparison) and a small side salad instead of the bacon junior cheese burger and fries I had been eating. At Chipotle I no longer get a tortilla (huge sacrifice!!!) but get a salad instead. And tonight when I take my daughter to Chick-Fil-A (after her dentist appointment in Tucson) I'll resort to the grilled chicken sandwich with a fruit cup (joy...) instead of the original chicken sandwich and waffle fries.

This is a pure act of the will.

I am not having fun yet, in case you wondered. However, I'm liking the results. I've lost a few pounds and my clothes are already fitting better. I sleep better, have more energy, and I might even get a better report at the dentist when I visit there next month.

Eating well has its benefits. But Jesus said that it's not so much what goes into a person's mouth that defiles them as what comes out. Obviously He wasn't talking about your waistline or your weight. But He was talking about health.

In fact Solomon referred to the healthiness of what comes out of our mouth way back in Proverbs 12:18.

There is one who speaks like
the piercings of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise
promotes health.
(Proverbs 12:18)

It's a whole lot easier to just grab whatever I feel like eating at the moment and gobble it down, only to worry about the consequences later. And while those consequences do come around to bite me eventually (usually in my hips or, lately, my upper gastrointestinal tract), at the time those deliciously fattening morsels just taste good and go down smoothly. At the time, I'm not thinking about health, I'm just eating what feels good.

The same thing happens, I've noticed, with what comes out of my mouth. I have a tendency, if I'm not really working at it, to just speak whatever feels good rolling off of my tongue. Like the scriptures says, I may speak something sarcastic, biting, or bitter that pierces my hearer like a razor sharp sword. Or I may candy-coat a snide comment as a piece of flattery that my audience only realizes as a jab once they've swallowed it whole. Or I may invite some friends over and gather around the table for a juicy piece of gossip. At the time that gossip tastes like a sweet and decadent dessert we've all got a fork in, but later it feels like a piece of lead in my gut.

True to the scripture, our natural tendency is to speak words that hurt, wound, and even kill. It takes effort and deliberation and intention to speak in a way that is healthy. 

In order to eat healthily, I'm analyzing every food I'm presented based on levels of protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrates. I weigh the good against the bad, consider the costs, and try to choose the healthiest option that will also satisfy.

When we choose our words, we need to consider the contents as well. We need to look for the positive:
And we need to steer clear of those ingredients that ultimately sicken and destroy:
I've not really earned the right to preach to you about healthy eating. I've been doing it all of four weeks and I've messed up more than a few times already. It's hard to make healthy choices when there are so many tempting choices out there. And it's even harder to break old habits.

I think choosing to speak healthy words is just as hard, if not harder. I'm no expert here either, but I do recognize the gravity of the situation. I recognize that unhealthy words do even more damage than calorie laden and fattening foods. They truly can pierce, wound, hurt, and kill.

So it's worth it to think before we speak, choose our words carefully, base our words on scripture, and consider the effect of the words we might speak.

I'm working on this healthy eating thing. I'm also going to make a conscientious effort to speak words that are healthy too. Will you join me?