Over the years as I worked with top professional athletes around the World I became not only aware but in fact convinced, that our bodies are what we eat. More than once I was able to witness the transformation that took place in a player’s life and career as they changed what they ate. If you follow this blog you will also be aware of how late in my own life I have been able to see what adjusting one’s diet can do not only to the way we look, but more importantly how we feel. Not to mention the way we approach our days.
As we all know what we eat is a choice that we repeatedly make every time we sit down to chew and swallow food into our bodies. Over the years these choices have been narrowed into two categories which are labeled as healthy food and junk food. It is no secret that junk food is undoubtedly delicious and extremely pleasing when one does the eating. It creates this sense of satisfaction yet as it leaves our mouth into our stomachs this initial reality changes very quickly. Over time as this cycle repeats itself, we begin to see that even though the tasting was prime the effects it has on us aren’t. Yet no matter how much our bodies and health disintegrate before our very eyes every time we try and stop we are met by a wall. This is because slowly what seemed like an apparent road of self-fulfillment and pleasure turns into a habit that soon becomes a life-consuming addiction.
Like any addiction the more we have the more we seem to need it. No matter how much we eat we are always left wanting and no sooner have we finished we are straight back for some more. Now despite what many of us believe, it is not the dependency on sugar that primarily hooks us as much as it is the fact that junk food though it fills us, it is incapable of ultimately providing what our bodies need to function. You see no matter how much we eat the nutrients and minerals we are supposed to get through eating are just not present. And because our bodies, like our hearts, cannot be satisfied by artificial ingredients they will continue to ask for these essential needs until they get them. Yet no matter how many times we eat to satisfy this hunger we feel it will not go away as junk food is not designed to feed us as much as it is designed to keep us wanting.
On the other hand, we have healthy food which was originally given to us by the same one that gave us our lives. Herewith this kind of food we find that as we eat it the cravings and hunger pangs that we become accustomed to when we eat junk food, disappear. Our bodies are given what they need and so they quit asking for more. Little by little our system is cleansed and its functions are streamlined. This causes us to not only lose unnecessary and unhealthy excess baggage known as fat but over time it also impacts the way we approach our daily lives. We become alert and filled with energy. Our meals become smaller as does the frequency in which we need to eat them. Plain and simple what begins to happen is that everything that our bodies need to function in the way they are designed is now fully provided by our new choice of eating habits. So in conclusion it is safe to say that when it comes to our physical bodies what we eat impacts the way we live and approach our lives.
Yet could this also be true about our spiritual lives?
Well, as we take a closer look at the Garden of Eden where it all started, we see how God also instructed Adam to watch what he ate. He is plainly told that if he eats from the tree of life, the truth, he will be able to continue living within the intimate reality of the Garden. Meaning that everything he would need to live his life would come from his fellowship with God within his heart. The truth would continue to give and fill him with all the emotional and spiritual ingredients necessary to keep him free, aware, alive, satisfied, and more importantly healthy. Just like healthy food does for our bodies.
Now what is real must always be balanced to remain this way and so beside the tree of life was another tree called the tree of good and evil (the law), which apparently had some very sweet and tempting red apples hanging from it. Yet despite their appeal, God warned Adam not to eat from it as doing so would shut him down and disable him from within. You see God knew what would come after that sweet taste of the initial bite. Just like junk food though it would promise a pleasant experience it would eventually cause an addiction to a never-ending cycle. The more he would go back the more he would want as the law, like junk food, is unable to give us what we need and truly desire.
I know in my own life for the first 15 years after I became aware of Yeshua’s presence, I too feasted in the spiritual junk food that a life centered on fulfilling the law provides. The more I ate from it, the more unhealthy and disconnected I felt within. The original sense that I would be in control of my destiny by doing what was right ended up controlling me. The shame in my life prevented me from admitting as much as doing so I thought would mean confessing that this God I had joined was nothing more than one big false pretense. Yet little did I know that it was not the God that was so much a false pretense as much as it was the dysfunctional religious practice I had become entangled with.
Inevitably as it always happens with our physical bodies and spiritual journeys, if we continue to insist on feeding on a source that was never meant to sustain us, we crash and burn. This sudden collapse, though at first, seemed like the end of my life, was actually the beginning as I proceeded to toss out the spiritual junk food I had been consuming and began a total fast from all self-manipulating religious practices.
Over time as the crave for what was sweet on the surface left, a new way began to emerge before me. The best way to describe it is by using King David’s words in Psalm 23 where he says that a table was prepared before him. Slowly I began to see that not only was this table for me but I was also being invited to sit down and enjoy what was on it even though I had done nothing for it. I will never forget that day when I first took my place. Tears began to involuntarily flow out of me. Within them the pain and deep suffering I had accumulated over the years. Especially during those 15 years where the harder I tried the worse it got. Waves of love ambushed me as quite literally all the walls we all end up building around our hearts when we rely on our performance to make it began to crumble.
As I look back I realize that the moment I accepted the invitation and sat down what was served and I began to eat was the truth. This new source from within me created in me the same response that is created when we begin to eat what is healthy and good. You see healthy food causes us to begin detoxing by releasing toxins and fat through our sweat, in the same way, the truth causes our inner man to do the same through our tears, groaning, and surrender. In fact, I firmly believe that this is the same food that Yeshua referred to, when he tells his disciples in the story of the Samaritan woman, that he had food to eat that they knew nothing about.
I wonder today what your choice of food is?
Consider with me that in the same way food impacts the daily reality our bodies live in so does the type of spiritual food we consume. Consider with me the possibility that the reason you always feel that you haven’t quite done enough is that you may be eating from the same tree that caused Adam to become unfit. Consider also that the reason why nothing seems to change no matter how much you read, pray, and give is that it was never meant to be about what we do, as much as it is about why we do it. We have never been promised that life would be easy however when we focus on the rules we cause life to become impossible. This is why God told Adam to keep the rules out of their relationship as He knew that the law, like junk food, is best left alone as unlike the truth it will only take away the very things it promises to give us – and we need.
I would, therefore, like to invite you to consider doing yourself a favor by fasting from all of your religious activities for a few weeks. Yep, you heard me right. Stop praying, reading, and even giving. I am convinced that as you do you will create a space in your life where you will begin to slowly notice your God preparing a table just for you. Not because you did something for it but because you allowed him, by being still, to show you that He alone, and not what you do, is capable of sustaining you and giving you abundant life. We need to understand that unlike the law leads us to believe, God is not a reactive being as much as he is proactive and organic. The truth is what helps us to understand this as it sets us free from the doubt that the law always causes us to carry within us.
So go ahead. I promise you that this will be the most satisfying and life-changing fast you will ever have.