Food Hoarding

I raced down the basement steps early one morning before school. My mom kept our school lunch provisions in the basement store room so we knew they were only for school lunches. Eating a Dunkaroos, Twinkie, or fruit cup on a day that wasn’t meant for school lunches was out of the question. My three brothers and I kept a tight inventory of all of the school lunch provisions and this morning was an important morning. Dunkaroos came in packs of six and there were four of us kids. This meant that my oldest brother, J, would have already taken the fifth Dunkaroo for his high school lunch and there was one Dunkaroo left for me and my other two brothers to fight over. There was of course an unopened box of donut sticks for the losers to open, but Dunkaroos were rare in our household and worth a fight. My youngest brother was still in elementary school and wouldn’t be up until after my middle brother and I were on the bus to middle school. But when I went into the Dunkaroos box it was empty. I heard my middle brother sliding on his heels down the steps in hopes of making it to the bottom of the steps faster than if he ran. He was ready to wrestle for the Dunkaroo, it wasn’t claimed until it was in a brown paper bag. But when he burst through the store room door he saw me holding the Dunkaroo box with a perplexed look on my face. He quickly snatched the box from my hands and looked inside to confirm what he already knew to be true: the sixth Dunkaroo was missing.

We both mulled over the scenario in our heads, silently hoping to reveal the fate of the missing Dunkaroo before the other.

“Did you eat it?”

“No, did you?”

“No.”

So, it was either the oldest or the youngest who would be getting in trouble for this. But as we tried to crack the case of the missing Dunkaroo my youngest brother nonchalantly walked into the store room, reached behind a can of minestrone soup, and pulled out the last Dunkaroo before sprinting up the stairs and hollering, “MOM!!!” at the top of his lungs, in the hopes that my mom would save him from the wrath he was about to face.

Hiding food: I had never thought of it before. I was astonished that my youngest brother had out witted me with that Dunkaroo. He must have figured out, when he was making his lunch the day before, that he wouldn’t even get a chance to get a second Dunkaroo because he got up so late, so he hid a Dunkaroo. This practice soon became a norm in our household, and early morning lunch making turned into a hide and seek of provisions. Hiding food soon became hoarding food. We would hide items the second the box was opened and no one was around. I remember checking on my items to ensure their hiding places were not found out. I would hide items days in advance to ensure I would have something good every single day. I would search for my brothers’ hiding places so I could take their hoarded items to lunch first and then later pack my items when all the other good things were gone.

I didn’t realize I still had a hoarding problem until, well, yesterday. I was reading Exodus 16 about the manna and the Israelites. God told the Israelites to only collect enough manna for the day. He told them not to hoard any manna, and when some hoarded it anyway, the manna they were hoarding became maggoty and smelly and unfit to eat.

My initial thought was, “You stupid idiots, why would you hoard if God told you not to? Don’t you trust that God is taking care of you and will provide you with everything you need?” For the past two years I have started a new practice while reading my bible. If at any point, while reading I think, “I would never do that” I stop and think about where in my life I am doing just that.  Yup, I was definitely hoarding. I don’t hoard like I did back when I was in school, I’m not hiding my food from anyone else, but instead I’m collecting candy and keeping it in my pantry, you know, in case the sweet cravings become too much and I just need a sugar fix. I’m really setting myself up for success with that mindset, huh? I keep candy I wouldn’t otherwise eat, just in case. I keep stale chewy jolly ranchers, just in case. I keep chocolate that starts getting white on the outside, just in case. I can’t throw away candy because what if I find myself with a huge sugar craving and without a source of sugary goodness? The world will most definitely end if this scenario ever comes to pass.


 

What is wrong with me? Why am I so scared of being without sweets? What is it that sugar even gives me other than a headache and a queasy stomach? Goodness. I want goodness. I crave sweets when I need something good. And I’m starting to realize it’s not just something good to eat, but goodness in general. When I’m tired or unfulfilled, I look for fulfillment from food. But it’s so short lived. And afterwards I feel worse than I did before and then I end up doing it all over again because I need goodness more than I did before the binge. And the cycle continues, with some workouts peppered in there to help me feel less guilty about my overeating. This is an addiction.

And at least the Israelites were hoarding something they needed. I don’t NEED sugar to survive. I have food. I have never been without food. Well, I guess the Israelites didn’t really NEED their hoarded manna either, because God was providing for them daily. So why don’t I trust God to provide me with the daily goodness I need? Why am I not even going to Him when I crave goodness? Do I not trust Him?

And there it is again, “Do I trust God will provide for my every need?” My brain trusts that He will provide, but I live as if I don’t trust Him to do so.

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