Have you ever been hungry? Truly hungry?
I know I have said the words "I'm so hungry I could die" at least a few times in my life. But have you ever "gone hungry"? I don't mean "I skipped lunch" or "I'm dieting" hungry. I mean the pit of your stomach aches, you feel weak and your head hurts hungry. I haven't. In my whole life even when I've had barely had any money, I have never missed a meal.
Over that last several weeks my church did a series called "Just" and we talked about Justice in the world. We talked about the slavery that still exists and Human trafficking. and we talked about hunger. We talked about how 1/3 of the world eats well, 1/3 is hungry and how 1/3 is starving.
You knew this. You have flipped past the Feed the Children commercials. You have seen the Food Bank billboards in your town. You have seen the lines of people at missions or churches waiting for handouts of food. I knew this too, but with a million other things on my mind and my own issues to deal with it's nothing but a fleeting thought in my mind.
Our pastor encouraged us to participate in a Hunger Challenge. For five days. To eat as most of the rest of the world eats. One cup of Oatmeal for breakfast. One cup of rice and beans for lunch. The same for dinner. Tap water to drink. That's it. I thought about it for a couple weeks. Wondered who else would do it. Wondered if I had the strength, the willpower to complete it.
The weekend before it started I was in Chicago and as I was eating Pizza and burgers and whatever else I pleased, it was weighing on my mind and my heart. Did I really want to do this? Could I? I still had to make dinner for the boys. I still had to smell all the food other people were eating at work. I couldnt' just fly through Timmy Ho's and get a huge coffee.
But I did it. Thankfully, another girl in my department attends my church and she did it too. It was wonderful to have someone to encourage and talk about it with. There were also other members of church that I kept up with. We posted on Facebook and Instagram and we encouraged each other. We were tested in many ways last week but we made it to Friday. A little lighter maybe, but no worse for wear.
I did learn some things though....
I eat way too much food. even though I don't eat half as much as I used to, I don't need to eat as much as I think I do.
We waste too much food. I think I lectured my boys about five different times about what they were eating, how much, and how much they really needed to eat and snack.
I spent almost no money. Other than gas in my car and the bills I had to pay, I spent nothing all week. I never went into the grocery store. The boys got whatever I had on hand for dinner and they were fine with that. They went to their dad's for two days, so I could just prepare my own food
I have a ton of food in my house. When you can't eat but have food at the ready, you open the fridge and cupboards a lot. I kept thinking, I could eat this, and this, and this and that. We are definitely eating out of our pantry more.
I'm pretty sure my stomach shrunk a little. I still can't eat a lot at one time, This could be a good thing.
I can make a cup of rice and beans last about a half an hour. I am also pretty sure I didn't leave a single grain of rice on my plate.
I don't need to drink pop. But I do still need coffee.
It was hard explaining what I was doing and why to some people. Not just people who don't go to church, that would have been a no-brainer, but even some who attend other churches looked at me like I was crazy. No my church didn't make me do it, yes it was tied into Easter but that wasn't the only reason. Yes, I know I can quit if I want to and God won't think any less of me. Some of the things people said were astounding.
And finally, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I had moments of weakness where I wanted to eat something. I could have, but in doing that I would have given up what I was striving for. It opened my eyes, not just to the hunger around me but within myself. I prayed more. I thought more. I took the opportunity to keep myself occupied and complete tasks. I went to bed early. I read my Bible more. When I focused my mind on something other than how hungry I was, I was able to see some things that I needed to see, and when I say I was hungry it wasn't just physical hunger....
To be continued.....