I have spent the last year and a half taking a faith walk without even knowing I was on the journey. Looking back, it’s the best way to do one because there’s no wasting time with magical thinking, trying to analyze what it all means, if I’m just trying to get on with my day.
What I thought I was doing was going in search of a solution to a mid-afternoon energy slump that was at times practically debilitating. It was getting to the point that I wondered if this was going to be life from now on and I’d have to adjust to the new, slower tempo.
Not one to give up easily, I sought out professionals from both Western medicine and Eastern philosophies, with a naturopath in between. As a multiple cancer survivor, announcing I had a constant state of exhaustion put everyone on high alert. Lots of tests were done by everyone.
By the time it was over I had a full body CAT scan, a thyroid biopsy, lots of blood work, some acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, scores of vitamins, hormonal creams, and some mystery Chinese herbs that were so bitter they made my head snap back the first time I tried them.
Fortunately, I don’t have cancer – anywhere. That’s good to know. And, the vitamins and hormonal creams helped a little with my physical inertia and mental fog. The acupuncture was relaxing and helped out with a sore back. I’m not sure what the Chinese herbs were doing but I also couldn’t tell you what I paid good money to swallow, either. That was the point when I realized I had gone far enough and needed to regroup – over two thousand dollars out of my pocket, later.
I kept picturing sitting in a doctor’s office and being asked, what are you taking, and having to explain, I don’t know but it tastes just like dirt.
What’s more, I still didn’t really have a solution, sort of.
The truth is I had a solution staring me in the face the whole time but I had been unwilling to entertain it for even a moment. I wasn’t eating enough.
Now, the naturopath had spotted this pretty quickly and suggested I had left out an entire class of foods – carbohydrates – except for a piece of fruit in the morning, and maybe a snack was in order. But I cut her off pretty quickly with an explanation that I had been eating like this for years and was just fine. Besides, I didn’t feel hungry, which was true if I was defining hunger as an empty stomach. That’s where the topic got dropped, which suited me fine. I was learning that if the denial is big enough, it’s as if that truth is shrouded in fog. I knew it was there but couldn’t quite see it. Maybe there was one more kind of specialist to try?
But, God has a way of reaching us even when we’re doggedly determined to keep trying our own methods. I happened to mention my journey to someone and they replied, ‘You’re managing the fruit flies. Instead of looking at your own behavior and doing something about it, you’re running around determined to manage the problem. Try killing off the fruit flies.’
My own behavior? I saw myself as a dietary paragon of virtue most of the time. I cook from scratch, mostly organic, a lot of vegetables and a lot of variety. I eat nothing processed. What’s the problem here?
However, everything else had failed so I was willing to at least ask different questions. I sought out a friend who eats in a very similar way as I do and started talking, followed by what was missing before – listening. Here’s where I started to feel like someone who was waking up not only from that afternoon dip, but a lifetime of being in a deep sleep, unaware of my own behavior.
I had taken what was meant to be a weight loss plan and adopted it for years as a method of keeping a tight control on not only my weight but my health. It wasn’t even a well balanced weight loss plan. What I ended up doing instead was starving myself to the point of exhaustion. I was hungry all the time and my body was working harder and harder trying to point it out to me.
After three days of adding just one serving of a complex carbohydrate to lunchtime the dips gradually disappeared. I didn’t need two thousand dollars worth of tests. I needed a 10 cent taco shell. I should mention that for the entire week I have been adding in rice or crackers or pasta, there’s been an ongoing conversation with myself about how this might all be a bad idea. All of this over what looks like such a small thing.
Despite my reluctance, it still worked and I was delighted and shocked and blurted out, “It’s as if I was refusing to nourish myself,” as a sense of grief quickly came over me. That was the real truth.
I was unwilling to surrender my physical self to God and instead had put myself in charge. The small pieces of grief were from the awareness that I was more willing to hurt myself than give in and trust that God would take care of things and do it better than I can. It’s made me wonder where else I’ve been getting in the way of being nourished and complicating things to the point of harm. I’ll let you know what I find. More adventures to follow.
A quick update – the third book in The Wallis Jones series is on hold while a new book is in development. More news about that soon.