Although I had twelve years of Christian schooling (thirteen if you count kindergarten), I did not have a substantial relationship with God. We prayed before every meal; instead of really asking God to bless my food, I inwardly prayed that my Dad would hurry up so I could dig in! My relationship was with food instead of God or my family at that moment.
One of my favorite TV shows on Friday night is Blue Bloods. They say grace, and while they are eating, communicate with one another. There wasn’t a lot of family conversation at our dinner table when we were growing up; I think it ties back to that old adage that children were to be seen and not heard. It could have been with eight of us in a small kitchen, it’d been more like noise than conversation. At any rate, our meals were quiet. Now that we are all adults, whenever we get together, there is lively conversation at the dinner table! I have a great family and I’m grateful every day for every one of my five siblings.
Over the years, I developed a relationship with food and it was not spiritual at all. I thought a lot about food in-between meals too, sneaking it, hiding wrappers and eventually turning to food instead of God for comfort. I really wasn’t aware that this was happening, even when I reached a weight of over 250 pounds. My solution then was just to quit weighing myself, going up two more dress sizes to a 24. I think that would be a 2X or 3X in today’s sizing.
My ‘spiritual awakening’ occurred on May 15th, 1993. That is when my relationship with food was replaced with a new, real relationship with God. Gradually, as I turned to daily prayer and meditation, I began to see God as a loving entity in my life. I nurture that by starting every day out with quiet time where I not only pray, but also sit quietly and try to listen to what God might be saying back to me.
I have no idea why I developed a relationship with food – perhaps it was just convenient. Knowing why really won’t change anything. As my nephew Scott says, “It is what it is.” What I do about my life today is what really matters. Every morning when I start out with quiet time, I ask God to show me how to be of maximum service to Him and to the people around me. I plan my meals for the day and then I stop thinking about food until it’s time for the next meal. It really is a lifestyle that works for me today.
How might food have impacted your efforts at leading a spiritual life?