Behold in all of it’s glory one of the finest creations that Alycia and I ever achieved so far in our marriage. The ‘Blue York’ happened about a year ago and is still the only ever non-holidays food pic I have ever posted. Home made Angus beef pattie maple bacon and onions, mustard, ketchup and blue cheese on a toasted brioche roll.
That was then. This is now.
At the beginning of this year Alycia and I noticed that, well how do I put this, once you get in the ’30 zone’ you can’t just eat what you like anymore and see it melt off with a quiet jog every now and then.
Alycia wanted to get healthy with a bub on the way and make sure we got all of what we needed and none of what we didn’t. So we thought we’d give it a go. (You know; “the two shall become one flesh,” and all that.)
There’s some things that I was expecting to struggle with/ learn which, have indeed been a challenge but here are the things that I wasn’t expecting and also made me reflect a bit more on who we are spiritually.
- The word ‘DIET’ applies as much spiritually as it does physically.
We eat to keep our bodies going. If we eat the wrong stuff our bodies go…well, downhill. If it’s really the wrong stuff, we’re in the hospital before we know it. If we refuse to give up what we know to be the wrong stuff we have enough public health campaigns telling us that we’ll eventually kill ourselves.
No surprises here. But why is this the most normal thing on earth and yet we get so surprised when we binge on spiritual junk one minute and feel a thousand miles from God the next? Life is a gift. What you eat either facilitates life or extinguishes it. Why would we think it’s any different for faith?
2. Salt is good. Salt is needed.
I was expecting lite and easy food to have less fat and less sugar, duh! But I cannot believe how much salt (and pepper) I find myself putting on food to give it flavor. Now to all you down the back putting up your hand saying “But Peter, that’s probably half the point; to wean you off salt,” – shoosshh. It’s my blog so just go with it.
Food is boring without salt. Eating is so much of what life is about so I think it’s fair to say that life is boring without salt.
Jesus called us to be the light and….salt. A healthy spiritual life means that you’re less boring not more. People want to be around you, not avoid you. No one copped more flak and was an ‘enemy of the state’ more than Jesus and yet have you ever noticed that everyday people just seemed to want to hang out with him?
Jesus makes life en-joy-able, the closer we are to him, the more en-joy-able we make life for others.
3. The gut is deceitful above all things, who can understand it?
Ok, sorry about the above mutation of Jer 17:9 but it really is true. I was expecting to (with the massive drop in portion sizes) be starving most of the time. I was.
At first anyway.
But then as your stomach shrinks nothing prepares you for what comes next……ready?
Because the meals are nutritionally balanced, you don’t get massive cravings. You don’t feel…..hungry. You all of a sudden realize that when you used to have enormous meals that were short one or two vitamins or minerals, your body was not actually screaming out for more food but for those particular nutrients that you missed.
You realize that your body’s been telling you something but you’ve assumed that you know the solution and acted upon it (read; simply eating more) and then the more you acted upon the more you may have been actually damaging your body.
I think the Spiritual lesson on this is enormous. Just think: It’s possible for our souls to be screaming out to you that something is wrong; but in our pride we think we know what it’s missing.
This is why in Romans 1 Paul describes God’s wrath as essentially him letting people self-diagnose all they like. God says: “Ok, fine then, your will be done.”
The longer I walk with God and the more I look back over my life, the more I thank him, profusely, for NOT giving me what I wanted.
4. Convenience kills.
The reason why Lite and Easy works is convenience. They make it more convenient to eat well than to eat….un-well.
But this is also a bit disconcerting because it also reveals to me that we’ve gotten to the place in our society where we’d rather had things easy than healthy, otherwise lite and easy would have gone broke ages ago.
I am becoming more and more convinced that leadership in a Christian context (actually in any context) is difficult because we breath a social atmosphere that would rather have things easy than healthy.
When you seek to train people remember: they breath a social atmosphere that would rather have things easy than healthy.
When you’re trying to set up ministries remember: they breath a social atmosphere that would rather have things easy than healthy.
When you’re preaching that sermon remember: they breath a social atmosphere that would rather have things easy than healthy.
When you’re finding less and less time and space to spend with God remember: you breath a social atmosphere that would rather have things easy than healthy. Don’t give in to it.
5. Just cos you’re skinny, don’t mean you’re fit.
There’s two side to good health. Diet and exercise. Now due to Lite and Easy, I no longer ‘had’ to do as much running in order to look the same. (No that’s not an endorsement.) My diet was…is allowing me to be trim without necessarily having to be active. So when my running partner went off on holidays, I let the runs slide.
But when he got back I was shocked. I realized that I was in the bizarre situation where I was both the lightest I’d been and the most unfit I had been in years, simultaneously.
I may look like a fit guy but I’m not. At least not until I get more active.
Similarly we can look spiritually fit to others but it doesn’t mean that we are. When we’re under duress, when the ‘blood is pumping’ then we find out whether we really are spiritually fit or just spiritually……thin.
But a good diet combined with regular exercise is the recipe for physical health and I’m convinced that its the same spiritually.
You can get absorb all the sermons, bible studies and resources you like but if we’re not exercising our faith we’re unfit for service. Meanwhile we can be the greatest activist in the world but if we’re just feeding on spiritual rubbish….we’ll do ourselves and others a pretty serious injury.
So there you go. Eat well and exercise….spiritually.