As I’ve said before, I was aware early on that this journey was not just about learning to make and sell prayer beads, but also about learning to pray and strengthen my prayer life. And while I’ve been reading and learning a lot about prayer, practicing the use of prayer beads, and becoming better at praying daily I’ve always known that there was one thing in particular that God was calling me to do to improve my relationship with him: stop using food to numb my feelings.
Yep. Like many Americans I am a food addict and use food to cover up, ignore, numb, hide, and otherwise crush my feelings. Certainly, this causes health issues, like being about 20 pounds overweight and suffering from acid reflux. And it causes social problems when it affects my self-esteem and my desire to see and be seen. But worst of all, I think it causes spiritual problems, in that when I am about to experience an emotion – any emotion – I turn to food rather than to God to express it, and when I have problems, I turn to food rather than God for solace and assistance.
I’ve known this for a while, and I’ve been aware that I was not going to get out of this whole prayer bead adventure without finally facing up to it. And believe me, I’ve tried to put it off as long as I could. But now, after a week’s worth of gluttony while visiting my favorite restaurants in Durham, I’ve decided I’m ready. Ready to face the music, face facts, get ‘er done, or however you want to say it. Ready to start feeling the good stuff, the bad stuff, and everything in between. Ready to set aside the Butterfinger and take up the prayer beads.
Because what I’ve figured out is that the answer to my dilemma is prayer. Thru prayer I can bring my greatest joys and my bottomless sorrows and lay them at the feet of God and know that He will be able to fulfill me in ways that Dove dark chocolate bars can’t. How simple. And yet how difficult. Learning a new way of being always is.
But of all times to start this part of the journey, Lent is the perfect time to do it. Taking on prayer in the place of overeating is the discipline that I need to practice in order to grow closer to God.
Pass the prayer beads, please.