We give a lot of thought to planning our eating habits. We plan our meals, plan our grocery lists, and plan to eat, What if we gave that same amount of attention to our spiritual food? What is spiritual food? Our souls need to be nurtured and fed in the same way that our bodies need to be fed. We need the living Word of God in our lives as we grow in Christ.
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Meal Planning and Daily Bread
Over the last few months, I’ve watched my daughter prepare to leave home for another country, to serve families as a student-midwife and missionary. Part of the preparation required her to go through all her earthly belongings and carefully decide what’s worth keeping here in her home country while she’s away. I’ve seen her prayerfully let go of what is not needed, in pursuit of what is worth her life’s investment in this season.
It’s this careful attention to detail that has challenged me in my own walk with Christ as a wife, mama, and a homemaker who serves women using our home and Bible study as vehicles to point to Jesus. I love these roles, but I also love “stuff,” and it’s easy to overload my calendar and my plate, both literally and figuratively. Maybe you can relate?
This journey of both enjoying the blessings God has given us, and letting go of what may hinder or cloud our effectiveness and our peace, is one I think we can all relate to. God is so good to His people and often we are blessed with earthly blessings like a comfortable home, delicious food, and other good “stuff” - and unfortunately, it’s easy to make the stuff the source of our joy. Ultimately the good things God may give us can’t provide the Life only found in Him.
So how do we embrace tangible blessings, enjoy creating beauty in our homes, and celebrating what’s on our tables, while still keeping our primary focus on living out our calling as Jesus-girls? It’s something I’ve seen play itself out particularly, for me, in the area of food.
It seems like most of us struggle with food in some way or another. It may be using food as a replacement for time with the life-giving person of Jesus (or other earthly, nourishing activities!). It may be we feel inadequate to making meals that are delicious and healthy (and this is even tougher in the age of Food Network and celebrity chefs!).
Maybe we feel we’re too busy or our family is too picky. Whatever your struggle, I do think that it’s possible to approach both our time with Jesus and our meal-planning in such a way that we can feed our bodies and our souls well, and enjoy delicious food while we pay attention to what is truly nourishing.
What is Spiritual Food?
Spiritual food is simply consuming material that will nourish our soul with the cleansing power of Jesus.
Here are four ideas you can use in your own home to help you “eat good food,” both for your stomach and your spiritual well-being. As we look at these 4 spiritual food for thought, think about your own life and how improvements could be made. Pray about it! Seek the Lord as you consider how much spiritual food you are ingesting.
Eat Spiritual and Physical Food that is Good
For your body and your heart, mind and soul.
As important as it is to eat healthy food so our bodies are equipped to do all we need to, so it is vital that we consume the Truth of God so our hearts and minds are equipped to be about His work! Jesus calls Himself the bread of life, and we need Him for our sustenance. When we think about "what is spiritual food"
Be mindful of what you “consume,” whether it’s what you read, watch, or listen to. Does it point you to Him? Does it distract you or discourage you from His truth or clutter up your thoughts? Don’t just settle for spiritual/emotional junk food. Even the best books, podcasts and other resources can at best point us to God’s word where we find all we need to walk as faithful women of God.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17ESV
Through His Word, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…”
2 Peter 1:3
David Mathis reminds us how vital the Bible is in his book, Habits of Grace:
“Just as crucial as it is for spiritual life that we have God in his Word Jesus, and that we have Jesus in his word the gospel, so we need the Scriptures as God’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible revelation of himself. Without the Bible, we will soon lose the genuine gospel and the real Jesus and the true God. For now, if we are to saturate our lives with the words of life, we must be people of the Book.”Habits of Grace
The same goes for what you feed your body. Intentionally filling your pantry with nourishing, simple, enjoyable ingredients will help you feed yourself and those who sit at your table well. When you eat “good food,” you’re equipped for energy and effective work! On the flip side, if we constantly nibble on food that’s lacking nutritional value just because it tastes good for a moment, we will miss out on the blessings that can come with having a healthy body.
Take some time to dig into what foods are nourishing. Explore what vegetables and fruits your family enjoys that you can incorporate more regularly into your meals. Look at nutritional labels of packaged foods and pay attention to vitamins and minerals you might be lacking, especially if you struggle with weight, tiredness, body aches or “brain fog.” Consider it part of “caring for the engine” of the vehicles you and your family use to carry God’s love to those around you!
Hydrate with Spiritual Food
Jesus called Himself the “Living Water.” He is our needed refreshment when our souls are dry. Make a point to spend time praying for His grace in your own life and those around you. (Even if you have busy teens or nursing babies, work outside the home or serve in many capacities, ask Him to help you carve out windows to spend with Him!)
Your prayer and devotional time may change and you might have to be creative as your life’s seasons change, and that’s ok. For me, having a journal helps me record the things I seek God for, and the blessings of His answers. You may find that listening to scripture and praying as you drive to work or wait in the school car line can become a daily discipline.
Maybe you can set a timer and give your children a “quiet time” activity while you hide in your literal closet with your prayer journal. When my babies were little, nursing them was the one spot in my day that allowed me to be physically still, and I used that time to talk to God and ask Him for help to make it through the days. The Lord will make much of the attention we commit to Him, friend.
Our bodies need water to function, too, and often when we struggle with mood or hunger or clear thinking, we just need to hydrate.
A while ago I purchased an inexpensive stainless steel water bottle and each night I fill it with ice water and put it by my bed so it’s waiting before I even get up in the morning. It sits there with my journal and Bible so I don’t even have to think or move to start my morning well. Even my children carry their insulated bottles wherever they go so they are never without that water!
Want to dive deeper into what the Bible says about health? Check out this resource and download the 10 Bible verses about Health Scripture cards!
Plan for success
I realized a few years ago that if I don’t make planning a priority, I won’t be able to accomplish things like studying the Bible, loving my husband, teaching my children, welcoming neighbors and friends to our home, serving in ministry, and taking care of my body so I can actually accomplish these things (because yes, it is important to take care of our bodies, too)!
- Planning your Physical Food
- my recipe binder with favorite recipes on repeat
- Pinterest (where I save recipes according to ingredient, meal type, and even time it takes to prepare)
- my personal planner and printables with meal plans and shopping lists I can re-use over and over
- my chalkboard so my family can see and help if needed, and even
- an online planning system to help it all come together.
- If you can take a chunk of time at the beginning of each month and an hour or so once a week to look over coming commitments and ones you’d like to make, choose recipes based on your family’s needs and preferences, and schedule those based on the calendar, it will add so much freedom, both in your day and in your thoughts!
- Make a point to also plan daily time with Jesus for yourself and your family if possible, as well as time to go for a walk, stretch, or work out.
- For our menu, I am for “clean eating,” delicious recipes, and simplicity. I make intentional use of my pressure cooker and mason jars to prepare meals quickly and/or in advance so last minute stressors don’t make for “hangry” people or fast-food runs!
- These mason jar salads are easy to prepare in advance, and they’re great for weekday lunches whether you’re at home or on-the-go, for work or for you and your family.
- This Paleo (grain-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened) Cheeseburger” Soup can be made in the Instant Pot or on your stovetop, and my kids ask for it over and over!
Finding Spiritual Food for Thought in Accountability
There’s a reason God calls His people to live in community: we need each other!
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.Hebrews 10:24-25
Isn’t it powerful when a sister in Christ invites you for coffee and spends time listening to you and encouraging you as a woman of God? Maybe you don’t have someone who pursues you in this way. Ask God whom YOU can serve intentionally, spurring her on as she seeks “good food,” spiritually and physically, so she can follow God with courage and strength.
Left to my own devices during a certain time of the month, I might be tempted to spend my days feasting on chocolate and British television or historical fiction novels. While that might be fine for a short time, I’d soon be starving for spiritual and physical nourishment if I did it for long. That’s when I need to seek fellowship and encouragement.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Are you struggling with feeding yourself well, spiritually or physically? Is someone close to you in this position? How can you seek accountability together to give your physical and spiritual needs to God?
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:1-2
Accountability for eating well, both spiritually and physically, might be as simple as meal planning or doing a Bible study with a friend! An easy place to start is grabbing a devotional about resetting our health priorities and pressing into Jesus.
Try asking a friend to shoot you a text once a week to ask if you’ve worked out, gone for a walk, or had enough water today. Offer to the same for her a few days later. I do this with a “friend” I met through an online group of Christian women. It’s quick, but it helps me stay on track with my health goals!
If you use social media, swap healthy recipe ideas with other women. Stretch your creativity or streamline your planning, with the help of others!
Choose a book of the Bible or a topical devotional plan, maybe even using an app like The Bible App, and ask a friend to join you in completing it.
If you’re interested in connecting with others and growing in the areas of feeding your heart AND your body well, I’ve written Refined Journey, a 40-day study on having a biblical view of food that also includes healthy meal plans to help you find ease and consistency in getting good food onto the table and good “soul-food” for your walk with Jesus. If you need help answering the question "What is Spiritual Food" this might be a wonderful place for you to start.
A Little More About Angela
Angela Sackett is a wife, momma, home educator, speaker, author, and photographer (and her house is perpetually in need of a good dusting!). She blogs at Everyday Welcome, where she encourages women to open their hearts and homes to God and others, living as salt and light right where they are. She shares recipes, devotional thoughts, and inspiration for home and family.
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