One of the best things I have done in my life is change my diet and health habits. I have not just “changed” these things, but I have completely revolutionized them – I no longer eat processed foods, dairy, gluten or refined sugar. I eat things I never would have dreamed of previously. And I am still very much healing my gut and learning about the mind-gut connection, gut health and healing, and the effects of putting healthy fuel into my body as opposed to junk. It is an amazing journey, and one I love sharing with others because I can see the results in my life: my energy, my moods, my physical well-being and strength. Exercise plays a big part in feeling good as well, and getting a good night’s sleep – and all these things are so essential to health.
But there is more than these physical things – diet, exercise and sleep. I was reading this yesterday morning:
I am the bread of life…Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
John 6: 48, 57
And it struck me to the core. I thought, what am I feeding on throughout my day? Am I feeding on social media? On feeling accomplished about the work I’ve gotten done? On staying busy with my kids? On speaking with family and friends who are so near and dear to my heart, yet don’t feed my soul because it is only the Living God who is supposed to do that? I wish I could say I don’t try and “feed” myself any of these ways, that I am so connected to the Lord that I live on His Word and prayer and spiritual devotion, but I struggle with this!
Sometimes we can focus so much on being healthy and successful that we miss true satisfaction. We walk around full of vegetables and kombucha but we are soul starved for the Living Word of God. We make sure we spend thirty minutes exercising but we fail to spend fifteen minutes in prayer before we start our day. And sometimes life truly is busy. The baby is up early, we have a doctor appointment, a work deadline, we need to get dinner on the table or our families will rise up in mutiny. But running around trying to fill the voids in our lives and the needs in the lives of others is just not possible unless we have those “streams of living water” welling up from within us. Because our wells run dry. And this is where all the herbs and superfoods in the world cannot help us, when the frustration within is due to our own choices and decisions.
Feeding on the Spirit, on the Word of God, is an intentional choice. A choice that has to be made over and over every minute and hour of the day until it becomes second nature, natural and routine. It is the choice to deny myself. It is the choice to say “no” to my convenience, my comfort, my will. Sometimes I get frustrated when things don’t go the way I plan, if my children don’t act the way I want them to act, when I learn of something that puts a big obstacle in my formerly straight path. Sometimes I am hurt when things cause me pain and I want to wallow in that, instead of coming forward and admitting…no, I don’t know the purpose of this. I don’t know what these situations are truly meant to teach me, and honestly I wish I could bypass some of these lessons. But I do know that God works all things for my good, because I have been called according to His purpose and I love Him. And I do know that I can choose to respond to these situations by His Spirit, instead of by my flesh.
But if I’m not feeding myself the right things, it is so much harder to make the right choice. In the same way I couldn’t feel healthy and whole when I was eating potato chips and Oreos, I cannot feel the connection to the Spirit I want if I am feeding myself on other people or social media. I have to feed myself on the Word of the Lord, to feed the Spirit within me with a constant stream of prayer, and trust, and giving over of my life.
It is not easy – but changing my diet was not easy at first, either. It seems unrewarding, much like how I felt when I gave up all my favorite foods. But the joys to be reaped are so much greater than you could ever imagine. The physical satisfaction I felt in feeling healthy, energized, and full of vitality can be mirrored in every aspect of my life, if I make the choice to change unhealthy habits for new ones.
So my wish for all of my readers is that health is not just a physical journey, not just an outward facade. But I pray that healing and wholeness would cover your minds, bodies, and spirits as you move forward in this life, for the glory of God and the wholeness of His people.