None of us can grow spiritually without food for the soul. We starve ourselves spiritually when we omit “SMP,” study, meditation and prayer. A day without SMP can have some of the same adverse effects as letting our blood-sugar get too low, or having too little protein or fat in our diet. We can become irritable, cranky, weak, fuzzy-minded, ineffective, and unsatisfied without spiritual nutrition.
SPIRITUAL NUTRITION AND EATING DISORDERS
Once upon a time I had the delightful opportunity to share my ideas about Eating Disorders, Nutrition, and Spirituality with a group of women in a religious order.
I began by asking them what health problems were in their family history so they could identify where they might be “at risk” and what preventive health measures they might want to consider. As people who love God and have dedicated their lives to God and to others, they themselves are worth taking care of!
“We need to remember that in order to do God’s work, we need to
keep our bodies fit for service. So it is O.K., even important, to
think about our own needs and do what we need to do for ourselves.
We are told that the second great commandment is to love our
neighbors as ourselves, so it actually an order from God to love and
take care of ourselves while we take care of others.”
They laughed, freed at that idea.
Good physical and spiritual nutrition is basic to good health, whole health, beauty that goes deeper than the skin, healthy Godly living. I illustrated with the similarities of spiritual problems with eating disorders.
People with spiritual problems and people with eating problems have interrelated problems. Therefore, solutions to those problems are interrelated also. One of the roots of spiritual disorders and of eating disorders is the desire for perfection. The desire for moral and bodily perfection leads to abstention, which leads to starvation, stagnated growth, “fruitlessness,” and/or infertility, and possibly death due to pride.
Another root is the desire for pleasure which leads to overindulgence, guilt, and reactive abstention as a form of self-control or self-punishment. But sometimes, the person is unable to abstain or even to be moderate. S/he may then develop a pattern of compulsive over-indulgence or a cyclic pattern of bingeing and starving. Those with “super-will power” may return to habitual self-starvation.
Consequently, two basic problems develop related to our spiritual and physical nutrition, Starvation and an Imbalanced Diet leading to Mal-Nutrition. Actually, I’d rather not use the term diet because it is a word with so much frustration attached to it. And the word “diet” implies something temporary. I’d rather talk about good nutrition and some of the problems we have associated with nutrition.
I closed the session with the women of the religious order by drawing an illustration on the chalk board. The growing baby within the mother. The nutrition comes through a cord to the infant and at the proper time, the child is born.
Our spiritual nutrition comes from God.
We never want to cut the cord to God.
My attention was suddenly drawn back from the chalk board to the group. They had become joyous and glowing, speaking with animation to one another. One of them turned to me and said, “You have gotten us into the Spirit!”
“No, it was not I, give God the glory!”
To keep yourself spiritually healthy, be sure to get your daily dose of “SMP,” study, meditation and prayer.