Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Food, Faith, and Spaghetti

I'm not sure if today's post is more about faith or food, if they should be separate topics or if they in fact go hand in hand. The original idea for this post was the idea that faith is like spaghetti. I love post ideas that spawn from family dinners! Speaking of dinners, our cupboards are bare, and perhaps that's why food is fighting for the spotlight of this post. You see, last night for dinner I ate a large slice of apple pie, and then feeling unsatisfied (go figure, it was 9:30 at night and I hadn't had anything to eat since my broccoli cauliflower soup at 11:30 AM) I ate a baby jar of mushroom pieces and stems, still hungry I crawled into bed, passing my bible, and went to sleep.

Did I mention that our cupboards are bare? Like, completely bare? It was mushrooms or ramen noodles. Anyone who lived on ramen noodles through college or any other significant period of time will agree with me, mushrooms were the better choice.

Today, I'm starving. I've had nothing but Mary Jane's (you know Mary Jane's right? Those peanut butter toffee things that come out around Halloween each year?), which I happened to have at the office left over from last week.

But, I am salivating for Jimmy Johns. Anything of substance really, but the rich seven grain bread, thick with meaty, veggie stuffed, avocado spread-ed, #11 goodness sounds particularly appealing to me right now.

I bet that right about now you've started to ask yourself "is this post really going to be all about food?" Am I right? I bet I am. The answer is yes, or no, not really, or yes, figuratively. I bet it could be, but I do have something deeper looming just below the surface. Like the meat at the bottom of a boiling spaghetti sauce, or the protein disguised as cheesy, spicy, rich goodness in bean dip.

Ok, aside aside, why am I craving a big hearty meaty sandwich? I'm craving it because sugar will not sustain me alone. God designed our bodies to need nutrients, protein, amino acids....oops my PKU knowledge is creeping in. But in all seriousness here, our bodies need food. Sometimes, even if our cupboards aren't bare, I'll come home from work not feeling very hungry. I'll take a small helping or skip dinner all together and my husband will get very concerned "Honey, you have to eat something, you cannot live on {Starburst} alone."

Alright for those of you who are still with me today, I'm a starving fool, all of my funnies might have scared a few of you off, I'm about ready to dish up the protein. One or two big heaping spoonfuls then I'm wrapping this post up so I can go get lunch. Mmmm. Lunch. Mmmmm Jimmy Johns.

Protein and other nutrients that a real health nut would know about, aren't the only thing our bodies, as Christians, need to sustain us. I'm thinking now about the Bread of Life, the Word of God. Unfortunately, I'm currently lacking in both forms of food, physical and spiritual. I'm starving in it's traditional sense of the word because my cupboards are bare, but there aren't any excuses for my spiritual starvation. I guess my spiritual cupboard would be my Bible and/or my bible study, and they aren't lost, and I doubt I'll ever open them up to find them mysteriously empty or full of blank pages.

There is nothing to blame for my spiritual starvation except for myself. My own sheer lazy and sinful nature is to blame. I get pulled into reading a good book or watching a good show and before I know it my time has flown by, and any hope of a deep and impactful devotions session have vanished into a mind that is full of mush and incomprehension.

I'm probably about 4 or 5 days out of the Word now, after a stretch several weeks long where I was reading both before bed and first thing in the morning. Reading, seeking, and really digging into the Word of God. Devouring it with true interest and passion. Savoring and enjoying each new thing I learned about my Lord and Savior.

I'm starving for scripture. I've tried to mask my starvation with little pieces of candy or sugar coated nugets. Listening to praise songs several times over, reading blogs that other people have written based loosely on a verse or two, praying two or three times more than I normally would. It doesn't take a genius to know that apple pie and mushrooms aren't a good dinner, just like my body can't sustain itself with sugar and fungus, the Christian part of me can't survive on fluff either.

There really isn't any reason for my slacking other than I just haven't been called out on it. So here, I am, calling myself out! I have plans tonight, big plans to pull out my bible, my study book, and get caught up. Memorize my weekly memory verse Romans 12:2 one of my favorites anyway, and enjoy filling myself back up with the Word of God, increasing my faith through knowledge.

Hey, there is that word again! Didn't I mention something about faith at the beginning of this funny post? Yes, I indeed I did. Faith is like spaghetti. I bet you've been wondering about that line. Ok, so the back story: My mother makes the best spaghetti sauce. Now, I make the best spaghetti sauce, no seriously, it rocks. This last time I made it I even put two jars of mushrooms in it (the writer snickers). Spaghetti was one of my favorite meals, I would ask for it for birthdays special. Every time we ate spaghetti my mom would get about half way done and then say something like "My spaghetti grew on my plate." It didn't take long before our family understood one thing about spaghetti. It wasn't like other foods, where you got scolded because your eyes were bigger than your stomach and you took more than you could eat, spaghetti grew. No matter how little you started out with, it would grow on your plate and you wouldn't be capable of (easily) finishing it.

I think that reading your bible can be a little like eating spaghetti. You don't always need a big heaping plateful because it will grow and fill you up more quickly than you expect. Once you start reading about the things that the Lord has done you will get excited about it, and that passion will grow exponentially without effort.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." Matt 13:31-32

So the first reason faith is like spaghetti is because it grows exponentially, but the second reason is inspired by my rugrats. Have you ever seen a child eat spaghetti?

When a child has had spaghetti, everybody knows. There is no hiding it.

One of my mentors used to say "When I've been out of the word one day, I know it. Two day's my husband knows it. Three days, evvvvvveryonnnnnne knows it." Isn't there some truth to that? If it's been a few days, that faith that shines from us, that love which gives us more patience, more empathy towards others, power to our prayers,  it starts to get hidden and fade.

What have you been eating lately? Have you been having dinners of apple pie and mushrooms, masking it with candy and sugar, or is your face proudly displaying a good ole helping of spaghetti?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to get some lunch!

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