Dear Family of St John’s

I used to be the person who never ate breakfast.  I rarely ate lunch either.  I didn’t have snacks throughout the day.  I didn’t think I needed it.  I would drink at least six cups of coffee a day.  I have always drunk a lot of water, generally about 2 litres a day so I had one positive thing going!  I just didn’t feel hungry during the day.  If I ate, it was because it was expected at a social gathering.  Dinner was often late because of work commitments in the evening.  By dinner, I was fairly ravenous!

I have tried various weight loss programmes and diets over the years.  Everything from intermittent fasting to banting etc.  They were all fine for about a month or so. I’d lose some weight, start feeling great… but I just couldn’t maintain it.  And so, I’d fall out of the habit and put back on any weight I’d lost, and often more!

But things have changed over the last seven months.  My mom had a health scare last year and ended up seeing a dietician for some advice.  Sitting in on the consultation, I thought… “Maybe I should do this.  I know the ‘calorie in-calorie out’ rules, but I just need someone to put down a plan for me on a piece of paper.  I need someone to be accountable to, for sticking to it.”  And so, I made an appointment.  But I needed blood tests done first.  

Well, I’m really pleased I was prompted to make that appointment and follow through.  I discovered some things about my health that were not looking fabulous.  Issues that had probably been brought on by eating, or rather poor eating, habits! If anything, changing those blood results has been my biggest motivator.  

But I’ve had to change how I eat.  Three small meals a day, three snacks a day.  I limit my coffee to two cups a day as far as possible… I don’t always get that right! I portion and weigh everything.  It took quite some time getting used to it.  And I struggled with the routine at first.  The office staff might remember my alarm going off at regular intervals reminding me to eat, I just didn’t feel hungry.  

Now I am in the rhythm, and this way of eating is working for me… most of the time.  This was really illustrated for me on Monday morning.  I had planned to have breakfast with my husband on my day off.  Breakfast on a regular workday is somewhere between 6h30-7h00.  Well, there was one interruption after another.  By the time I finally had my single slice of toast with a scrambled egg placed in front of me, it was 11h20. That’s practically lunch time!!

I was the grumpiest breakfast companion there ever has been.  I was HANGRY (hungry angry, if you haven’t come across the term.)  Fortunately, my husband is the calmest and most patient person I know.  He just laughed at my bad mood and told me to eat.  

It’s made me think a little about our patterns of eating ‘spiritual food’.  What’s your diet like? Are you an intermittent faster? Leaving long stretches before nourishing yourself again?  Or, are you a banter? Limiting yourself to certain types of nourishment only.

I know this analogy will fall short a little, they all do, but how do you respond when you haven’t been fed spiritually for a while?

We might tell ourselves that we’re fine, we don’t need to go to church regularly or read our Bible and pray regularly.  We eat when we’re hungry.  But, what effect does that have?  If we could do a spiritual ‘blood test’ would we see cholesterol levels that are dangerously high and insulin levels that are through the roof?

I think we would.

We need to be nourished by the Word of God on a regular basis.  We need daily prayer and reading of His Word.  We need regular fellowship with the body of believers.  If we don’t have that, we’ll find that we become ‘hangry’.  Perhaps we don’t realise what the source of our discontent and unhappiness is.  But, I am fairly certain it’s a hunger for God that isn’t being satisfied.  

May I encourage you this week to examine your spiritual diet.  Look for where you aren’t following healthy patterns and put something into place to make sure you are being fed.  May we feed regularly on the true Bread of Life.

“Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6: 35

With love

Your friend and rector