I am at the splash park with my boys, and there is a little girl, unable to move because she’s so obese.
She waddles across the sand in her two-piece and then flops down on the ground and wails until her father picks her up and places her on the picnic table and feeds her potato chips.
And I wonder if it isn’t all about hope? About us hungering for it and not finding it amongst pre-packaged Oreos and Twizzlers?
Food is not easy. I pray for that little girl as my soul twists for all children who are over or under-fed.
How do we feed ourselves so we can, in turn, feed our children? How do we love ourselves when all we’ve ever been told is we’re ugly or fat or useless? How do we let the light in, when all we can see is darkness?
I’ve had days where I’ve had to sit on my hands for wanting to restrict. I’ve had to sit on them and wait for the shaking to stop, for the need to control to subside, because everything in my world, in that moment, is so uncontrollable. So hard, and painful, and food–or the lack of–used to be my go-to when life got tough.
But food is no longer my go-to.
I still believe in nutrition. In things like fruits and veggies, and whole grain cereals, and small portions of meat. I believe in using sugar sparingly and replacing it with honey or maple syrup, and exchanging applesauce for vegetable oil.
Yet how do you feed the soul? The place that gets so hungry, no amount of Haagen-Daaz can satisfy?
And I’m wondering if the key to eating right–if the key to loving food and loving self and loving our children–isn’t to ask God for a spiritual kind of hunger?
Feeding the soul requires spiritual food, and it’s only when we consume something Alive and Eternal and Divine that everything else–like eating– falls into place. Because food then takes its place on the table, instead of on a pedestal.
Yes, we still need to eat our veggies.
But more than that is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness; the meat of the gospel–no longer craving spiritual milk, but understanding what Jesus has called us to and daring to dig deeper.
It’s about us about needing him more than we need life, about praising him in a Psalm 63 kind of way:
“I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”
It’s about praying for this spiritual kind of appetite in our children, teaching them to turn to prayer instead of a bag of potato chips; to find Jesus instead of the snack cupboard or the toilet.
Perhaps then we wouldn’t have obese two year olds, and anorexic seven year olds. Perhaps then our churches might be full of young people.
Perhaps then there would be a kind of revival the whole world is starving for.