For those of you that don't know, I have switched to a gluten free diet. I was hesitant about it at first because it seems like a trend, but I'm not doing it to be cool, I promise. I was really sick this summer up in New York, and didn't have the option of going to the doctor like I would here, because of the nature of the job I was doing at Camp Shiloh, and where camp is located. You can't really drive in to the nearest GI doctor and have the kinds of tests run that I needed at the time. So I didn't have a lot of options, but one thing was for sure: I couldn't keep getting sick like I was. After losing about 15 pounds in two weeks from being sick every single day, the cook/nutritionist at camp and I sat down and started to talk through the different things I could change in my diet that might help. At that point, I was getting really unhealthy and so the first goal was to overload me with fruits and vegetables to get some nutrients in my system. Next step was to figure out if I had an allergy or something that was causing the sickness. I had already been tested to see if I am lactose intolerant and I'm not, but the next thing she suggested was gluten. I didn't know what gluten was, but agreed to eliminate it from my diet and see if it would help. And almost two months later, here I am, sill on the diet, and much healthier. Not quite 100%, but getting better very day. I'm still learning a lot about gluten, and what foods I can and can't eat, which can be a pain, but for the most part I like it and I plan to stick with it.
What's interesting is that now when or if I do get sick, I can look back over what I ate the day or the meal before, and usually pinpoint what it was that made me sick. If I knew everything about gluten, I could better avoid the foods that contained it and I probably stop getting sick, but since I don't, it's kind of an experiment at times. I've started keeping track of what I eat to help me understand what makes me sick and what doesn't.
The reason I'm saying all of this is because my spiritual life works something like this as well. Two weeks ago, when I went to church, it was my first time to be there in 2 months, and I was SO excited. Worshipping came naturally bc I was so excited about what God was doing in my life and what He had during the summer. I had spent a lot of time the week before reflecting on that and praying, really pouring into my relationship with God. But last week, that wasn't the case. Worship at church felt stiff and forced, nothing at all like it had the week before. I was still glad to be there, because I love my church, but I knew that something was very different inside of me, I knew something was wrong. It was like I was sick spiritually. And so, just like I do when I am physically sick, I began to think back to what I had done or not done that week that could be effecting where I was spiritually. And it didnt take me very long to see what the problem was. Unlike the week before, I had spent most of that week self-absorbed in my own life and problems, barely praying or reading the bible, barely thinking about anything outside of myself at all. It's not surprising that I wasn't excited about worshipping God because I had spent most of my time that week worshiping myself.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm learning that following God is somewhat like being gluten-free for me, in the way that I have to put effort into it, and if I don't, it will be evident by the condition of my heart. I fully believe that God has the power to reach me and work in my life even when I am not seeking Him, but I also have very clearly seen that He is able to do so much more through me when I am putting forth that effort. Jeremiah 29:13 says "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." My pastor Dave was talking at church today about how following God is not something that you can halfway do. He was talking about the church in Acts, and how they were the kind of people that were "all in" for Jesus, and how that is the way that we are called to be now. And he's right. I can't think of anything more destructive for us spiritually than for us to believe that we can half-way follow Jesus. It's all or nothing. And it takes effort, like any relationship does. We have to want it. It's not just going to happen on its own, just like me being healthy again wasn't going to happen without me making those changes in my diet. So I guess the question for us now is the same question that Jesus asked to a paralytic in John chapter 5:
Do you want to get well?