Let's face it, a donut tastes better than lettuce.
***Disclaimer: This whole blog post is NOT about diet, I promise. Hang with me, gals.
I don’t know about you, but if I’m offered a gooey chocolate chip cookie or a bowl of romaine lettuce, I’m going to take the cookie: Every. Single. Time. The sweet dessert just tastes better, I feel more satisfied, and the happiness part of my brain is all lit up. Now for the rest of the day--especially after that rush of sugar--I’m even more likely to turn down a healthy option because it won’t reach the deliciously high standard that was set by the cookie.
Over the years, I have found that the more I eat unhealthy foods, the more I want them. If I eat Chick-fil-A three days in a row, I’ll probably reach for it again on the fourth day because (1) You can’t tire of the Lord’s chicken (can I get an amen?), and (2) I’ve grown used to the instant joy it brings to my brain and taste buds.
On the flip side, I’ve also noticed that when I dial in my food choices to very strict and healthy habits for a long period of time, a nice green smoothie eventually sounds better to me than fast food because I’ve come to enjoy the way real food makes me feel in the long run. "Filler foods," called such because they're empty of nutrition, can certainly be satisfying, but the long-term effects can be detrimental. On the contrary, healthy foods can be bland and the most unexciting part of your day, but the long-term benefits include lower disease risks, clearer skin, better sleep, etc.
Growth Over Numb Entertainment
Just like a donut sounds better than a salad, sometimes screentime sounds better to our flesh than an hour-long prayer meeting. The more we indulge in time “fillers”--social media, worldly books, movies, worldly music, etc.,--the more we want them, and Friend, they are hard to stop. Anybody who’s ever done any diet ever, knows how hard it is to stop eating sugar after indulging for so long. It’s the same when it comes to the endless scrolling, TV shows, and YouTube videos: it’s extremely difficult to get out of the habit when you’ve indulged for so long.
But if we want to be spiritually healthy, we must return to healthy habits. Bible reading, prayer, memorizing Scripture, and consuming podcasts, books, and sermons that edify our spirit are not always pleasant at first. We’re much more entertained by a silly screen than by reading the genealogies of Jesus. But sis, in the long run, when we are face to face with a soul in torment, our knowledge of the Kardashians will not deliver them from fear. Our memorized pop song lyrics will not give them a light in their darkness. Our knowledge of who Jesus is, however, will alter their life forever.
Yes, reading the Bible at 6:00 am is harder than sleeping through your alarm. Yes, developing a consistent prayer life is hard. So is choosing to eat a plate of vegetables instead of sliding through Burger King. But just as we are in charge of cultivating our natural appetite by consistently saying no to filler foods and learning to love healthy foods, we are in charge of cultivating our spiritual appetite for the things of God by saying no to time-fillers and disciplining ourselves to love His Word and prayer.
If you find yourself not wanting to sing worship songs or choosing to listen to a pointless podcast in the car instead of something that blesses you spiritually, that’s a sign that your appetite is waning. You’re choosing the donut over the green smoothie.
Maybe that’s all right once in a while, but eventually, it’ll catch up to you. You’ll find yourself having gone weeks without touching your Bible, completely insensitive to the leading of the Holy Ghost. The remedy? Delete some music, unsubscribe to YouTube channels or podcasts that have no real or wholesome purpose, unfollow some social media accounts, and pick up a new devotional or find a playlist of new worship songs to sing along with while you drive to work. Continue to develop your Bible-reading habit, memorize a new list of Scriptures, and do the hard things.
Choose growth over numb entertainment. Your future self will thank you, I promise.