The Husband and I were at the grocery store the other day, and in an attempt to cut through to the back wall, we walked down the cereal aisle. Suddenly, some packaging caught my attention. I stopped, stared, thought, “are you kidding me?”, and then snapped this photo.
I’ve spent days mulling over in my mind the feelings this piece of cardboard brought up for me. I mean, did Kellogg’s really have the audacity to name their cereal “Krave”? And hey, if you buy five boxes at once, then you’ll get $5 off to make you feel at least a little better about ingesting this stuff. Despite the obvious issues with teaching kids to spell yet another word incorrectly (as though texting hasn’t hurt them enough in that department), they tattoo on their product the very word that probably belongs on most packaged/processed foods in the store. It’s a word that, I would say, probably defines our society today. The cereal’s website (yes, a cereal with a website) encourages you to “release your inner ‘chocovores'”. Apparently a “chocovores'” sole purpose is to “hunt”, “trick”, and “devour” chocolate… and then repeat the process. Their ad says it comes in two “irresistible” flavors. Words like “irresistible” and “crave” are powerful. Have you read their definitions? No, well, here, I’ll help you out…
Irresistible – “too attractive and tempting to be resisted.” (Synonyms: enticing, alluring, seductive)
Crave – “feel a powerful desire for (something).” (Synonyms: yearn for, desire, lust after, dream of)
Um, I think this is far more power than I personally want to give a breakfast cereal, and yet there is an element of truth when we consider the addictive qualities of such foods. We have an obesity epidemic in this country among children (and adults), and I hardly see this as something that remotely helps.
Food addiction is quite real, and so this packaging resonates with me deeply. I know what it’s like to crave foods like the junky craves his next fix. I also know what it feels like to feel powerless against those cravings. I know what it’s like to feel relief when you cave in, and then guilt soon after. I’ve been a heap of tears on my floor (many times) wishing I could just resist the temptation and stop doing this thing which hurts me. As a teen, I punished myself with starvation even… which would lead to binging again. The guilt, the regret, the headaches, the nausea, the shaking, they are all real. When you crave something, it’s as though it has a grip on you so deep inside that you couldn’t possibly be separated from it without pain. Is that what we want in the cereal we put before our kids? I don’t. At one time I used the word “crave” flippantly, but I can’t anymore. Read that definition again, it’s serious stuff.
The truth is, no cereal is, in fact, irresistible. Nothing made by man could ever deliver a promise like that with 100% success. It may seem like you can’t say “no”, but therein lies the deception. The element of truth is that it has addictive qualities (chemical/physical/emotional), but what it isn’t is irresistible. It’s sad that so many people feel they can’t even see certain foods without losing control. It’s as though they’ve given up and resigned to the fact that they’ll never be “strong enough”. Well, I believe there are two things at play here for the Christ follower trapped in this cycle – one is “addiction”, and the other is “unbelief”. Both have to be addressed to find victory.
Why must both be addressed? Well, you’re probably not going to stop a heroine addiction by continuing to shoot up. The same is true for addictive foods. You’re likely not going to permanently stop that addiction unless you eliminate those foods from your diet. Where faith comes in is actively believing that your God is able to get you through the pain of letting go of that which you’ve bowed to over and over again. Withdrawals set in, and you want to run back to what you know will make it stop NOW, but faith says, “I will hope in what I cannot see”. Faith says, “I will believe that God has something better for me.” Faith takes those thoughts captive and replaces them with Absolute Truth, God’s Truth. Most times, actively believing God, means stepping out in faith when you are certain it’s going to be a painful ride at first, but it’s also continuing to lean on Him even when begin to feel like you’ve got it under control.
I think the part about my food addiction that disturbs me most isn’t the weight or body issues. It’s not even the health issues. It’s the worship of something other than the God of the universe. It’s the stronghold. Simply, it’s an idol. I spent years sacrificing to it… sacrificing health, sacrificing time, sacrificing money, sacrificing peace, sacrificing love… is it enough already? No, because idols are never satisfied. They always demand more, but give nothing of value in return.
In contrast, God loves me with an everlasting love. He tells me to “taste and see that the Lord is good”. We are safe to crave Him and His Word. He won’t betray us. He won’t entice us to do something and then accuse us. He won’t enslave us. It’s a paradox of faith that doesn’t make sense on this earth… I can’t explain how giving control over to God means true freedom, but it does.
And that, my friends, is how God turns a silly cereal box into a sermon aimed at this little child of His. I’m going to go have a big salad now (smile).