Hunger Pains

Lesson for the week: Hunger can be good and bad.

Are you hungry? Many of us are on new 2018 “diets” and we know the deep rumble in our stomachs. It’s the bad kind of hunger. The kind that hurts and nothing can quench it (at least nothing that won’t make you feel bad about yourself for failing). Or the kind that is unquenchable because your cupboards are bare. Hunger isn’t always about food, but after running a 30-hour famine retreat with my youth group this weekend, I can tell you sometimes it has everything to do with food. For 815 million people around the world, hunger is a way of life. Malnutrition is responsible for half of all deaths of children under age 5. Sobering. Are you hungry?

Many people around the world walk several hours a day to get water just to quench their thirst, and when they return, there is only water for dinner.

Hunger can also sometimes make you do things you wouldn’t normally do. Last week I was hungry for a nap. After late nights of working and a long plane flight for business, I hungered for just a few minutes of sleep. While waiting for the front desk to text me that my room was ready, I fell asleep by the pool of my fancy hotel. The security guards thought I was a homeless person and put me under “house arrest” until I could produce an alibi. Once I did, they left, with no apology. The front desk heard about the incident and when I finally got to my room there was a bottle of champagne, macaroons and a handwritten apology from the manager. The range of emotions was broad and deep. (I actually wanted to take the champagne outside and share it with all the homeless people.) Hunger. It makes you do things you normally wouldn’t do.

Hungry for rest? This is a nice place to lay your head. Or maybe not.

Hunger sometimes makes us do things we shouldn’t, too. Jean Valjean can tell you that. So can my son. He knows hunger this week. He desperately wanted to go to college after taking a semester off to heal from a herniated disc–one that prevents him from sitting for any reasonable length of time. He thought he was better enough to go this semester, but it was just his hunger talking.  It only took a week in class to realize the pain was too much to take. Sometimes we do things because of hunger that we shouldn’t.

Sometimes you just hunger to sit down for a meal on campus like everyone else.

Hunger can also be good. It can make you try things…challenge yourself. I also did that this week (it’s been a busy week). It was the good kind of hunger. The type that makes you realize there are opportunities to feel full again. And just peeking in the bakery window at the macaroons is sometimes enough to motivate you to change. I’ve seen the pastries. I’m ready to change. My son has tasted the pastries and now he wants them even more. Hunger can be good.

Hunger to change.

Hunger to solve problems.

Hunger to heal.

Hunger to feel better.

Hunger to serve the world.

It’s 2018. The start of something new. Are you hungry?

Food Is Fuel, Not Our Friend


Actually fish are food, not friends. It is food that isn’t our friend….I think.

Is food really just fuel and not our friend? Sometimes I think a pizza is my friend. Or a Dairy Queen Blizzard…that’s been my friend a time or two.  I’m having a hard time with this concept that food is not our friend and that I should change my mind set to one that food is merely something I put in my mouth to make sure I have enough energy to get everything done.  If that were the case, I’m pretty sure God wouldn’t have given us taste buds. Or maybe our taste buds are just an adaptation humans have developed to keep us from eating poison. Wait…if that’s true, then if it tastes good, it must be good! Oh no, I’m starting to rationalize chocolate again. Someone stop me.

Nevertheless, I am going to attempt to treat food as only fuel for the next seven days and see how that turns out. I looked up several 7-day challenges and they are all simply ridiculous. You would need a garden and a private chef to do what they are asking.  Who has that kind of time and money? Some of the plans actually want you to drink their fortified smoothies everyday. Not going to happen. So, I’m making up my own challenge.

My 7-Day Challenge

Water. Lots of water and only water to drink. (Lots is a technical measurement.)

Sugar. None. Very scary.

Fruits and Vegetables.. Yes. But, only ones I like.

Protein. Lean protein. Absolutely. Oh, and fish. They are food, not friends.

Dairy. This is a tough one. A lot of challenges say to eliminate it. But I’m not. This is my challenge so I’ll do it my way. No cheese, everything else is fair game as long as it is nonfat or low fat.

Grains. None. This one is going to hurt. I love grains. But I can do anything for 7 days, right?

Exercise and Stretching. Exercise is not a problem. I already try to make time for that everyday. Stretching…that’s the challenge.

Now, last thing. I need your support. I’ll check in after seven days and let you know if I need my friend back. I’ll miss you pizza and chocolate!