May 15, 1993 is the day that I attribute to having a spiritual experience, and decided that how I was living my life wasn’t working so good any more. I read a quote in a meditation book that said, “Trust God and continue to row to shore.” I am someone who writes in my books, and on that page I wrote, “I can buy broccoli.” I have written that many times since. It was the inspiration for my book, “Trust God and Buy Broccoli, A Spiritual Approach to Weight Loss.” So now you know where that came from.
I can trust God all that I want, but there has to be some action on my part for that trust to do much good. If in times of emotional turmoil, I need to reach for God, not the handle of the refrigerator. I had to learn some life skills to take the place of grabbing the handle of the refrigerator. Today I reach for other things instead of food.
I had been on my new path for about three or four months when I had what I like to refer to as a spiritual experience. I came home from work, prepared my dinner, which included a portion of a rotisserie chicken I’d just bought. When I finished, I knew that if I got up from that table, I was going to eat the rest of that chicken. Terror gripped my heart. What in the world could I do?
I picked up the phone instead. This is way before cell phones but we did have ‘portable’ phones in 1993 (Gosh, I feel so old!) I called a friend who knew what I was doing to try and lose weight. She suggested that I leave that chicken sit right where it was, grab my purse and get out of there. I did. I took an action other than to buy into the compulsion to eat that chicken!
It worked! Lo and behold, when I returned home, I was able to just put that chicken away, the compulsion to eat the whole thing totally removed.
This is a great reminder for me that prayer by itself is just words. If I just pray and take no action, it’s wasted energy. If I am going to pray every morning to stay on this path of healthy eating, then God expects me to do for myself what I can.
God will give me what I need, like the forethought to call or text someone (I like to refer to these friends as ‘God with skin’). The thought might be quite fleeting, but I’ve got to act on it, if I want God’s voice to become more prominent. It becomes difficult to hear God tell me that this is not a good idea, once I have an ice cream cone an inch from my mouth. By then the desire to suck down that ice cream is screaming so loud, it overshadows God’s gentle urging to turn to Him instead of food.
If I start my day out like this, in prayer and meditation, my channel to God is more likely to be open. His voice is a bit more pronounced throughout the day. I am receptive to healthy actions, rather than the voice of food. That refrigerator can get pretty darn loud too; and a real die-hard food addict like me knows exactly what I’m talking about here.
Often, my first thought is that of turning to food, and for good reason. I’ve got 43 years of doing that. I’m very good at reaching for food when agitated. I had to learn a whole new set of life-coping skills, but they aren’t always going to be my first or my loudest thought. I may think about food first by sheer repetition. But the more I take God-inspired, healthy actions, the less of a grip that old thinking has on me.
I have a lot of compassion for myself these days. I remain teachable. When I start thinking that I’ve ‘got it’ and slack up on my disciplines of prayer and meditation, the old thinking may return and I surely don’t want that. I can keep it green by helping others, texting and remembering where I came from. In other words, trust God and continue to row toward shore. Or buy broccoli.
I’ve got some more actions I’ve got to take this morning, so that my commitment remains a gift of great value. I’ll plan my breakfast and eat it before I get to work in a little less than an hour. I’ll plan my food for the rest of the day, actually. That’s in harmony with what I’ve asked God for help with this morning. His help is to give me the ability to do for myself what I can. That’s to eat a healthy breakfast. How much more simple could I want this to be?