Getting Back To God (A “Meal Plan”)
Getting Back to God: A “Meal Plan”
In the past 2 years, I’ve done 3 full rounds of Whole 30, plus a few partial rounds. Before then, I wasn’t super healthy, although I don’t think I had a problem. I heard about this program and that it could help me sleep better, have more energy, and maybe lose some weight. We decided to give it a shot.
As with any big goal, you can’t just dive in and figure things out along the way. You are sure to get frustrated and will likely give up. Within a solid plan, you are setting yourself up for failure. What did we do?
We planned. Before we started, we learned the rules. We went through our pantry, fridge, and freezer and either ate or tossed all of the foods that were not compliant. The temptation in the house could have brought us down. Not worth the risk.
Each week, we planned 7 breakfast ideas, 7 lunch ideas, 7 dinner ideas, and a few snack ideas (note about Whole 30: snacking is not allowed unless you’re pregnant or breastfeeding!). We didn’t pick a lot of difficult meals, and we stuck to things we were familiar with (at first): chicken, ground beef, and eggs mostly, plus familiar fruits and vegetables. Our meals didn’t take hours to prepare, so we never felt too overwhelmed by those choices. Making that plan ahead of time cut down on nearly any excuse we could have made for ourselves. To cut down on the excuse factor even more, once we bought our foods, we prepped as much as we could: that was mostly peeling and chopping vegetables.
During the week, if I got hungry between meals, I had a few snack ideas already decided so it was mindless and easy. Each week we repeated the process: write out a daily meal plan, buy the goods, prep as much as possible. And you know what? After 30 days, we felt great. We slept better, had more energy, bickered less, and yes, lost a little weight.
A few months went by, and we stopped meal planning as much. That led to many poor food choices, which led to worse sleep and less energy. We decided to do another round of Whole 30. We’d done it before, so this time, we didn’t have to plan at all.
FALSE. Even though we’d done it before, we still reread the rules. We still planned all our meals for all 7 days, for the full 30 days. This time, though, it was much easier. We weren’t stressed or overwhelmed. We still had to plan, but it was a little more second nature. And by round 3, we were even more comfortable with it. Our meals sometimes took an hour or more to prepare, but it didn’t feel like a burden. In fact, cooking and food prep were fun.
I was driving around today, and God started to talk to me. You see, I’m way off the wagon when it comes to God. And it seems that no matter what I try, I can’t quite get back into the whole daily devotional thing. I will read my Bible a few days, maybe pray for a week, then I just forget, or I don’t feel like it.
I asked God how the heck I’m supposed to do this and stick to it. And He got me thinking about what I do know how to do: meal plan! I can write up a killer meal plan. I can keep meal choices interesting and enjoy food and prep and plan and all of it. I know how to get my food habits into shape. I know the rules. I know what works and what doesn’t. Planning is KEY. Winging it just doesn’t work.
I want to get closer to God. And He gave me some cool ideas for how to do it.
First, I will go through my house and get rid of the things that will cause me to fail. That might be certain social media apps on my phone. It’s different for everyone, but whatever causes ME to fail, to sin, that’s what needs to go. And the thing is, for certain bad habits, it’s not so much about deleting the habit. It’s about replacing the bad habit with a good habit. Chew on that.
Second, I must plan. Planning is key. Some people (like my husband) could just say, “This week I’m going to read through the book of Daniel.” And it will just happen. I can not do that (at least not now, in my state of spiritual immaturity). I need some daily ideas. I need a spiritual breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I need to figure out what I’ll read, what I’ll write, and when I’ll do it every day.
Since I’m pretty off the wagon right now, I need some 15-minute dinners and quick, grab-and-go snacks. I need some easy-to-digest devotionals that I pick out ahead of time. I need some single scriptures I can read, chew on, and move on. I need leftovers for lunch the next day. Whatever I read in my 15 minutes the night before, I can chew on the next day, as my lunch.
And just because I did it one week does not mean I am ready to just wing it after that. I need weeks and weeks of specific plans for myself. And maybe, after a few months of planning, I will be able to wing it for a week here or there. Maybe then, I can say “I’ll read through the Psalms this week” and that will be satisfying. But right now, I’m not at that point. I need some actual daily plans. I need to set myself up for success.
Here are some things I plan to include in my weekly spiritual “meal plan”:
- Breakfast! I will write 7 specific things to pray for on my bathroom mirror. And each morning, instead of getting on my phone first thing, I’ll pray over one of the things on the list. I’ll do that for the 10 minutes while I’m brushing my teeth, washing my face, etc. I will always pray over my marriage and my children’s futures during that time as well.
- Lunch! Except for the very first day, I’ll reread my notes from the previous day’s devotional. I can do that during my actual lunch or during Annabelle’s nap and Alexander’s quiet time. It should only take a few minutes. I will just read through the notes. Maybe that will evolve into something else later but, for now, it will just be a quick reread of the notes.
- Dinner! This will be the hardest thing for me. I want to have very specific devotionals, on paper. I have a blank notebook that I’ll use. I will write out a few scriptures on each of 7 pages, along with a few questions to respond to. I may pull up 7 different devotionals on my computer at the beginning of the week so that I can already have them ready to read. But I must write something down, even if it’s just one sentence.
- Snack time! Hand written scriptures on small sheets of paper, in a bowl in my kitchen. A physical, spiritual snack bowl. And if I need a boost, I will grab a scripture from the bowl.
What happens if I miss a day? I won’t make it up the next day because, well, if I miss dinner one night, I don’t eat twice as much the next dinner. I just go to bed a little hungry, or I have a bigger breakfast the next day. If I skip too many meals, I need a new plan or new devotionals. Just like with a meal plan, you need to come up with meals that are exciting and tasty, things you look forward to eating, with a spiritual plan like this, I need to come up with devotional ideas that I’m excited to read, things I look forward to.
Finally, as with a meal plan, it’s helpful to declare publicly that you’re doing something like this. I have shared it with my husband but also I want to share it here. It helps keep me accountable to myself if I’ve told other people about it!
Today is Friday November 4.
Tomorrow is Saturday November 5, and I will start my first Holy30. Ha! That’s lame. I will come up with a better name.
First, time to plan!