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40 Days Lighter – Day 12: Learning New Hungers

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As I continue to reflect on my reading of You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith, I was brought back to a chapter where the author talks about “rehabituating our hungers”.

I came across this chapter at the very beginning stages of my current healthy eating journey (I’m now 5 weeks in) – so as you can imagine, I gobbled it up.

Among the most meaningful quotes to me was this:

“Your hungers are themselves a kind of habit formed by certain practices. Those hungers, in turn, propel you into routines and rituals that solidify those habits.”

He goes on to state that “our tastes can be trained without our realizing it”.

These statements revealed a jarring reality to me – my desire to eat junk was both a cause and result of my poor eating habits. To break the cycle of craving, it then becomes necessary to change the habits that create that desire. To change those habits was going to take some intense periods of intentional living, planned grocery shopping, consistent home cooking, and diligent preparation.

I would need to change my routines to make a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, or even the local Jamaican restaurant I loved, far more inconvenient and obviously unnecessary.

I knew this was going to be a daunting task. This journey would mean giving up a way of living that had become second nature to me, like breathing air – I want to eat it, I like to eat it, so I’m going to eat it. It would mean choosing not to give in to my old eating habits in order to establish new, life-sustaining ones.

I wrestled with myself over the course of a couple days, but I ultimately committed to learning new hungers rather than just satisfying old cravings.

Over the last 5 weeks, as I have been deeply challenged to develop new tastes, to hunger for the “right” stuff, I found that my old cravings slowly but surely began to dissipate. That brownie that was my “go to” after a hard or emotionally charged day no longer offered that same sense of satisfaction. As a matter of fact, going without added sugar has made even my favorite treats taste too sweet.

I learned that if I was ate regular meals, and if my stomach was satisfied with the right foods, there was little room left for unhealthy cravings.

As I have been making my way through this journey to being 40 Days Lighter, I’ve realized that the same process I experienced to change my physical hunger, is the one needed to shift my spiritual hunger as well.

Just as I decluttered my physical diet, I have been on a journey to eliminate the distractions in my spiritual diet. I no longer choose to “partake” in negative, and even poisonous relationships. I am opting not to “feed” my soul on interactions that can’t satisfy – a good word from a friend is beautiful, but how much richer are the words that proceed from the mouth of the Creator – words that tell me that I am loved, I am accepted, I am His.

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