Have you seen the Snickers commercials where people aren’t themselves until a buddy gives them a candy bar to eat? One bite, and the person goes from frumpy/strange/inept, back to themselves. Like in this commercial of a guy who, without Snickers, acts like a diva:
Now, I’m not sure how a candy bar with 250 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 27 grams of sugar can transform a person – especially after one bite – but the idea behind it is helpful. It’s often true that how we feel affects how we live.
In his book, The Puzzler’s Dilemma, Derrick Niederman tells of a study sponsored by Ben Gurion University. The study looked at the results of over 1,000 parole board hearings in Israel over a ten-month period. Researchers found that the likelihood a prisoner would receive parole started at 65% each day, and then steadily declined to near zero until the first meal break. After the snack break, the likelihood of parole went right back up to 65%, then declined until lunch. After lunch, the likelihood went back up again to near 65%, but fell rapidly, and then hovering near zero until the end of the day.
In other words, our blood sugar does affect how we feel, and how we act.
Which gets me to thinking: How does how we feel affect our spiritual journey? How does how I feel affect the choices I make?
It seems to me that we place a lot of emphasis on how spiritual elements contribute to our spiritual growth. And that makes sense. Spending time in scripture and prayer, regularly worshiping, being honest with others about my struggles, and serving others – all these are important parts of my faith journey.
But what about the physical stuff that we sometimes give hardly a thought to? If, as Ben Gurion U found out, our blood sugar level can subtly affect our thinking and the choices we make, what else can? What other physical elements in your life might be affecting the spiritual choices you make?
- Rest. Is there any doubt that rest, and a good night’s sleep, are vital to giving you the energy and clear head you need to make good choices?
- Exercise. Not only is physical activity vital to good health, it also has real emotional and spiritual affects, too.
- Diet. We are what we eat. How many of us give very little thought to what we eat, and how it affects how we feel?
- Smoking. I live in the state with the 2nd highest rate of smoking. Is this really what we want to be known for, Kentucky?
- TV Watching, Web Surfing, and Mindless Phone Swiping. As I heard someone say once, “I’ve never had an experience of God watching TV.”
- Reading. There is no doubt that reading (or listening to a good book) helps expand your mind and your understanding of God’s world.
In short, these are some “non-spiritual” things that, I believe, greatly affect our spiritual lives. I believe they are worth regular assessment – where we ask ourselves: How am I doing in these areas?
Any area you would add to the list? Feel free to comment – while I go get lunch with a friend.