Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Our whole family ate garbanzo beans for supper. And we liked it. The 2 year old and 4 year old nearly cleaned their plates, and our 5-year-old son ate a double portion.
You might be thinking, “That’s too good to be true! Did you force them to eat garbanzo beans at gunpoint? Because that’s gotta be illegal.” And we would say, “No, we didn’t.” And you might come back, “Did you trick them into eating garbanzo beans? Because that’s gotta be unethical.” And we would say, “Yes, we did, and no, it’s not.”
My lovely, highly domestic wife made homemade, from-scratch waffles tonight–one of her specialties. But instead of using plain-old wheat flour, she used garbanzo bean flour. You know, ground up chick peas? The things that are high in fiber and protein? And they were tasty. Sure, they had a slightly different flavor–more like buckwheat pancakes–but a little maple syrup made them delicious. And, what’s the best, the kids loved it. It was one of those moments when parents give each other a high five because they were able to get their kids to eat something healthy without a struggle…and with no gunpoint coercion, which is just awkward.
It’s part of a mini-program my wife is implementing in our household: She is incrementally sneaking small doses of healthy stuff into our food here and there, so that, in the long run, we are eating healthier without even realizing it. You should try her “meat” loaf, which is actually a balanced meal in itself, featuring zucchini, ground flaxseed, oat bran, wheat germ, shredded carrots, and whatever other healthy things she might have lying around the kitchen. Oh, and ground beef, too. But I digress.
And the same thing can happen in our lives as Christians, too. The thought of suddenly leading a dramatically more spiritual life–scrupulously obeying the commandments, frequently praying in the Spirit, authentically witnessing to others, joyfully imbibing Scripture–can be overwhelming, much like the idea of suddenly abandoning all sugary foods in favor of a health-foods-only regimen.
But we need not be daunted at the prospect of growing in our faith. Because sanctification, like changing one’s eating habits, occurs best when it is incremental. Giving up the old ways and surrendering our lives to Jesus is often a process. Rather than saying, “I’m going to pray for 30 minutes everyday,” maybe a more realistic goal might be to pray for some of our church friends while we are driving in the car. Instead of vowing to read the whole Bible beginning to end (which is a rotten strategy, by the way), maybe you could start by reading one chapter of the New Testament each day.
It’s kind of like sneaking garbanzo bean flour into your waffles: smart, painless, and good for you.