I hate the phrase “spiritual disciplines.” It seems to take the joy out of Christian living, because I typically associate joy more with dancing than with discipline, more with freedom than with scructure.
Still, the value of spiritual disciplines cannot be denied. Prayer, meditation, Bible reading and fasting do something in the spirit that do not seem attainable without them. Now, Paula Huston has introduced me to a new discipline–eating for health.
Paula has written a post on the subject at the Patheos web site that makes the point succinctly.
As Paula has explored this new discipline she offers the following synopsis:
“And what an exciting adventure this has been! As soon as I began to deal with my relationship to food as a substantive moral and spiritual question rather than, as is so sadly common in our media driven culture, simply an appearance issue—am I thin enough? do I still look young enough?—it became clear what needed to happen. I needed to start practicing on a daily basis healthy habits of eating. I needed to think of my body and my energy and my ability to focus and think as beautiful gifts of God, not to be squandered. I needed to eat well out of tremendous gratitude for life.”
She says so much in that paragraph that is true and meaningful. And it brings me to a prayer:
Dear God, help me this day to eat in a more healthy manner in order that I may serve you better. Especially, Lord, help me as I go to this meeting today where there will be stacks and more food than I need. I need your Spirit to remind me as I go. Amen.
(Photograph by Dennis Eamon Young)