Ever heard of the Whole 30 food challenge? I had not--that is until a few weeks ago.
My husband knows me well. I need advanced warning time for an idea to soak in . . . so he initially asked me around the middle of December if I would like to do the Whole 30 meal plan with him in the upcoming New Year. It was not going to start until around January 1st, but he was introducing the idea of this 30-day food plan early on, in order to prepare me for the impending abrupt elimination of our normal foods.
“Sure,” I said immediately in a nonchalant voice . . . not even knowing what I was agreeing to. I just knew that after the month of December, even I, The Sugar/Carb Queen, would be ready to detox from an abundant overload of holiday treats. Little did I know at the time of my verbal agreement exactly what I was getting myself into.
In case Whole 30 is unfamiliar to you, (as it was to me last month) here is a description of the restrictions:
- No dairy
- No sugar of any kind
- No carbohydrates
- No gluten
- No alcohol
- No grains
- No legumes (no beans, no peanuts!)
- No MSG
So what can you eat? Meat, Seafood, Vegetables, Fruit, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds. That’s it!
I love a good challenge. (When I am in the right mood.) Once I get my eyes set on the goal, I run full force with it. I’m not saying it is easy, but I am committed to finishing what I set out to do . . . not what I DESIRE to do, but rather what I AGREED to do.
As my husband and I are persevering through this challenging meal plan, I am reminded of Scripture that discusses discipline and self-control.
“Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside.” (1 Corinthians 9:27 TLB)
Discipline is tough. Strict eating is rough. But this verse is not talking about dietary regulations or physical fitness levels. It’s talking about the Christian life and the need to have discipline with our worldly appetite. Walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
As followers of Christ, we are running with perseverance in a race toward the prize--a crown that will last forever--an eternal life.
The discipline involved in this training involves self-denial and continuous preparation. This race is a long and steady course that requires believers to curb their natural appetite of earthly desires, and instead, supplement their hunger with the essential discipline found within the Bible. Not because this book is filled with restrictive rules, but rather because God’s Word is liberating and life giving.
Currently, my husband and I are on day 15 of the Whole 30. Half way there! It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Do you know what makes it feasible in our eyes? We have a finish line--a goal. There is an end in sight. Day 31! Our strenuous eating efforts will not last forever.
The same is true with our spiritual discipline. There is a goal. There is a finish line. These momentary hardships and training are not forever. Christians may have to sacrifice and be disciplined today, but the eternal reward in the future is worth it!
Our Whole 30 has been rigorous, and even with our best efforts, we have not been flawless. I accidentally used buffalo sauce instead of hot sauce. (Yes, it makes a difference in this eating plan.) My husband accidentally ate a mint at church. I bought the wrong coconut spread that had a no-no ingredient in it, and unknowingly consumed it.
We will all make mistakes in our training and discipline. But keep going . . . Don’t give up!
Listen to the words of Paul the apostle as he describes the need for self-discipline in the race:
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:12-14 MSG)
It’s not a perfect path that we train on, but the direction we face is forward, and the effort we exert should be our best. Stay focused and press on toward the goal. Strive with the strength of Jesus Christ to reach the end of the race. Receive the upward eternal prize to which we are called.
As a goal motivator, our nine-year-old daughter made us a 30-day calendar so that we can chart our progress and press on toward the finish line. In all seriousness, my husband and I look forward to putting up a sticker each day after dinner:) Satisfaction!