EMPTY CALORIES

Lucy was 36 years, 4 months and 23 days old when she died. Her multiple comorbidities including adult-onset diabetes, congestive heart failure, and obstructive pulmonary disease were linked to another chronic disease, one so insidious in nature that its danger to her overall well-being was seldom addressed in any manner except for the occasional criticisms whispered behind her back. Lucy was, in medical terminology, morbidly obese. The slender, spirited young girl, the hopeful teen, the overwhelmed young wife and mother morphed into a body unrecognizable in its girth. Ultimately, her weight far exceeded the capacity of household scales; the state-of-the-art hospital bed in which she died recorded a staggering 525.2 pounds.

Imagine the confused expressions, the stunned silence, when in reviewing the statistics listed on her death certificate, one particular contributing diagnosis leaped off the page as a shocking surprise to her grieving loved ones…

SEVERE MALNUTRITION

How could that possibly be? Lucy chronically consumed immense quantities of food! Starving children in third-world countries are emaciated! They’re rail-thin! Flesh stretched over bone! How could it be, that this unfortunate woman, fed much and fed often, was malnourished?

Commonly referenced as malnutrition, a nutritional disorder is one in which the body does not receive or does not absorb adequate nutrient(s) from the diet. Causes include poor dietary pattern, disorders causing inefficient absorption, sedentary lifestyle and eating disorders.

Lucy’s morbid obesity resulted from a serious eating disorder. Her diet consisted of enormous servings of foods high in fat and refined sugar and void of essential proteins and complex carbohydrates. As a result, her body’s cells lacked the basic building blocks necessary to sustain a healthy life. Lucy, massive in size…was malnourished.

The physician’s reports of your latest annual physical exam were inspiring.  Your weight is in perfect proportion to your height, your body mass index is remarkable for someone half your age, your vital signs read like a 20-year-old track star, and your hematology findings are the poster child for a health-conscious adult. You exercise daily, you manage to achieve the requisite 6 to 8 hours of sleep at night, you balance work with recreation like a boss, and your diet follows the recommended food pyramid guidelines.  Congratulations! You’re in tip-top physical shape! But….

What of your spiritual health? What of your spiritual diet?

Are you snacking on empty calories? Are you chronically on the run, grabbing spiritual fast foods? Do you have to wipe the dust from your daily devotional guide before you open the cover?  Are you tuning in to the closing hymn of a Sunday morning worship service on your local station just so you can check off item #1 on your to-do list? Are you speed-reading your Sunday School lesson 5 minutes before class? And a really sensitive question: do you find yourself stuck in spiritual low gear, yearning for a feast but plodding along on a monotonous diet of high-pitched, ear-piercing, uninspiring messaging that numbs your mind and leaves your heart hungry?

The Bible, God’s written Word, is RICH with every nutrient your soul requires. It is the base, the essential strong foundation of a spiritual nutritional pyramid, the pinnacle of which is justification through faith and sanctification by the saving grace of our mighty God through His son, Jesus Christ.  Begin your day in prayer, then invoke the power of the Holy Spirit to instruct you, lead you, guide you in your studies. Feast on His Word and savor the fullness of it. Seek His nourishment with all your heart.

Taco Tuesday is convenient. A candy bar on the run is quick energy. A steady diet of either is unfulfilling at best and risky at worst.  

 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment. 1 Peter 2:2

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2Timothy 3:16-17

A Noble Road…thoughts from a simple country woman