I’m the first to admit that I love a good fast food meal. Am I allowed to call it a meal? Not sure, but I digress. I had a pretty good run for a while when I completely abstained from fast food and even found it to be distasteful. Ahh, those were the good old days, when I was a fast food snob (and 10 pounds skinnier). But life threw me a couple curve balls (a.k.a, a couple of kids) and everything changed. I no longer had time to cook healthy meals and eventually found any substantive food to be distasteful. It all flipped on me. I blame the evil franchises that make salty greasy food way too accessible and addictive. It’s not fair—who could withstand the constant temptation?
My husband hasn’t helped either. When I was pregnant, all I had to do was snap my fingers and he would run out at midnight in his pajamas to the nearest drive-thru to fetch me a shake and a greasy burger … you know, the kind that actually leaves stains on the carton they come packaged in. I know he was just trying to make me a less scary human being to be around, but it really ruined me. All the hard work I had done around fostering the right kind of cravings was thrown away right along with my skinny jeans. I have to be honest with myself, though. As much as I would love to blame everyone else for my bad habits, the truth is painfully obvious. I am the one to blame. I need food. I desire food. And that’s perfectly natural. But what I do with those desires is often very unnatural. Eating food that can stand up and greet you when you order it is probably not one of my best ideas.
But there are two main reasons why we feed our natural appetites in unnatural ways: it is easier and it is easier.
This is the most uninteresting truth about human nature; we gravitate to what is easier.
And the more we do, the harder it gets to even just try. When even trying gets too hard, we tend to just give way to our bad drive-thru habits. You know it’s bad when you can’t even get out of the car because it takes too much effort (am I the only one who has been there?).
So what does greasy food have to do with our spirituality?
The same reason we stop eating healthy food and instead start eating the equivalent to poison is the same reason we stop nourishing our souls with God and instead stuff junk food down our spiritual throats. For many of us, this is how it looks in an average day. We wake up, go right for the coffee, get ready and leave for the office. We work, talk, eat, yawn several times and drive home with our not-so-friendly neighbors alongside us on the freeways. We walk in our house, eat, talk, do a cannonball onto the couch, turn on the TV while simultaneously opening our laptops and typing our current status on Facebook (they’re not as interesting as you may believe them to be), take a mental nap and then go out for the evening. We come back, rummage through the fridge, pretending like we are going to eat something healthy, and in zombie-like-formation stumble to our most prized possession: our beds. Oh one more thing … we pray. We stop at the spiritual drive-thru right before we wrap things up for the day. “God, can I get a good heart with a side of spiritual transformation on the side?” We usually don’t hear anything back, but we stopped noticing that a long time ago.
Are we ever going to get tired of being so hungry and so spiritually obese at the same time? Maybe one day we will no longer be satisfied with an unfulfilled life. And then maybe we will stop asking God for unsubstantial soul food and instead turn our lives over to Him for true spiritual nourishment. We can’t wait for all the flashy easy drive-thrus to shut down, especially the ones we have constructed in the pathways of our hearts, minds and souls.
God calls us to get out of the car and walk next to Him on the dusty roads of life … one step at a time. It’s not easy. It’s not fast.
Spending actual time with God in a moment-to-moment kind of way is what Jesus referred to as “follow me.” He didn’t say, “Pop in when you feel like a shot of spiritual adrenaline.” It’s not rocket science, but sometimes it feels just as hard. Following God was never intended to be a proverbial walk in the park. He is trying to make us just like Him after all. And that doesn’t happen in a drive-thru.