“You have some of the best blood work I’ve seen,” said my physician, looking over the results of my tests. “Uh, what about my cholesterol levels?” I inquired—my family has a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol counts—the bad kind of cholesterol. “Well, it’s not here,” she answered, scanning the computer printouts. “That’s crazy. I’ll have to call the lab and get them to send the rest of the results.”
Sure enough, the next session with my doctor was not so positive. My cholesterol count was high, very high—329 points. “I’m putting you on a special diet, and if that doesn’t have immediate results, we’ll have to go the medication route.” (“A walking heart attack waiting to happen!” was my daughter’s encouraging spin on the problem.)
So right now I am watching everything I eat. No sugar—in anything. Sugar pumps insulin into the bloodstream and that produces cholesterol. Ironically, I am following the exact precautionary diet that my daughter-in-law who is diabetic follows. And the truth is, right now, my diet is a matter of life and death. I have to keep reminding myself: If nothing remedies quickly, I am a walking heart attack (or stroke) waiting to happen.
For the last seven years, I have been working with a super group of Christian women in developing spiritual-growth tools that actually work in everyday lives in modern contexts. The name of this ministry is Hungry Souls. We’ve discovered that the same principle for watching our diet that works on the physical level also works on the spiritual plane. What we consume, what we take in affects our spiritual health. The questions Christian women need to ask themselves is: What on earth am I eating? Am I chewing on Scripture and swallowing it so my soul can absorb its nutrients? Am I partaking of Christ, the Bread of Life?
I find that watching my physical diet works best when I am intentional about what I put into my mouth. For me, that means giving some thought to my eating each morning. It is dangerous for me to just grab stuff. I have to stop and think, What am I going to have for breakfast that is healthy for me? What am I going to take to work? What snacks are appropriate? What do I need to avoid? I am also learning to remember to pray before I put anything into my mouth, “Lord, is this going to be good for my body?”
Eating spiritually needs the same kind of intentionality. What I am eating today that will nourish my soul? What do I need to avoid? Feeding well starts at the beginning of each day by asking myself, “What will be good for my soul today?” Then I need to end each day with a similar question, “What did I take in that was harmful for my soul?”
What we eat spiritually is also a matter of life and death. Here’s to a healthy diet!
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour … for he has filled the hungry with good things.” Luke 1:46-47,53a.
Other projects involving Karen right now are: Working with teams of Christian women to design Retreats of Silence, in both 24-hours and three-days formats, through the aegis of Hungry Souls. Developing hospitality initiatives that train Christian men and women how to use their own homes in caring outreaches through the Open Heart, Open Home ministries. Launching the Global Bag Project, a worldwide effort that markets sustainable cloth shopping bags to provide sustainable incomes for bag-makers in developing nations. Researching the impact of listening groups while overseeing some 240 small groups over the last three years. Experimenting with teleconference mentoring for Wannabe (Better) Writers. Designing the Tales of the Kingdom Web site.