I’ve been meeting with a wonderful group of supportive friends discussing food and how there are often spiritual needs (or lacks) behind some of (most of?) our physical habits.
It’s refreshing to encourage one another to develop healthy habits and a healthy life. without condemnation.
Sometimes I feel too busy to take the time to plan healthy snacks or meals, or when out doing errands to choose to find healthy and exceptionally delicious foods, or to even eat at all. I married a good man who stops me in my tracks and asks, “Have you had lunch yet?” When I start to whine that I have so much to do, he reminds me that I will have little strength and “thin attitudes” if I allow my body to get dehydrated or weak, and that I am cheating those I want to nurture if I don’t nourish myself physically.
It is also vital to nourish our souls so we have something to feed others spiritually too! Ken is awesome at scripture memory and I taught our kids to have quiet times when they were toddlers. I’d give them a book, and let them observe me across the room being quiet for a minute reading and praying. Gradually I upped the time to five minutes, then seven minutes. Those practices helped them and helped me too.
All of those things are habits we develop bit by bit, day by day. Nourishing ourselves, strengthening others, and allowing others to nourish us.
God has a lot to say about nourishing us too!
“The LORD will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring” (Isaiah 58:11, NLT).
So, I need to make it a habit to go to the well, and sit for a while, allowing God to guide, and refresh me.
We’re not to make the matter of food a way to impress God. What is that saying – eat to live don’t live to eat. Food was made as a temporal thing with a short life – to sustain our bodies for a short time. Food rots. Why would I go to something that rots before going to God for ever-lasting nourishment?
Matt. 6:25 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.
Then there are emotions. I know I often eat emotionally – sad, glad, or rushed – they are all excuses to grab chocolate, or curl up with a bag of potato chips. None of those things are bad – but eating just that can be a very bad habit affecting every area of our lives. When I don’t eat well, my body doesn’t run well, and I get more tired and crave more junk.
Do I eat differently when I go out with someone who will treat me to a smorgasbord of elaborate foods? I still forget sometimes that it takes 20 minutes for food to settle, and if I eat until I feel full, I’m likely to also feel sick. The last 3 words of this verse speak of another habit:
“When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners: Don’t gobble your food, don’t talk with your mouth full. And don’t stuff yourself; bridle your appetite” (Proverbs 23:1-3, MSG).
Several days of this week I will be at speaking engagements – and they are all at meetings that involve eating! On the way there and back and in between I’ll be spending time with some delightful people and we will also be eating together. I’m sure I will have a lot of temptations before me.
I’ll be praying this prayer for those in my circle of outreach in life and praying for myself too – to let this awesome week be an example and an encouragement – and the strengthening of good habits!
3John 2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
Did you get that last phrase? It gobsmacked me! – When I turn it around (don’t you just love reconstructing sentences) Here’s what I read:
Just as (how) your soul prospers
May you prosper to the same degree in every work and ministry you do
May you be as healthy physically as you are spiritually!
Now there’s my thought for the week
I pray it nourishes you too.