Soul food

Soul food

Soul food 2560 1707 Hope City Church

It’s week 8 of lockdown in the UK!
Who imagined that it would go on for so long?

To begin with, I felt excited about the possibilities that lay within my ‘new normal’. I got busy making plans on how to use this time well. My housemates can attest to this – I made a daily schedule for the three of us – exercise regimes, chores, creative time, worship time and meal plans – some of you may be making a mental note to never live with me!

I started this chapter feeling enthusiastic about creating ways of living and embracing new structures but as the days and weeks have gone on, I’ve found these routines slipping – bed times have got later and exercise has gone out of the window.

However, one habit, which has endured, is the cooking of healthy meals.

Before lockdown, I rarely had time to cook but the slowing down of pace means I’ve been able to prepare nutritious meals.

This has been a source of real joy and release for me. I never expected that something as basic as cooking would fulfil me so much!

I’ve realised that this is because it’s a creative outlet, and an act of generosity to those around me, as well as a method of self-care.

As I reflected on this, the word nourishment came to mind.

Google’s definition of nourishment is: ‘food necessary for growth, health and good condition’

Interestingly, a suggested synonym is ‘daily bread’.

For me, finding joy in cooking is linked to feeling healthy and nourished.

As I was writing this, I got completely sucked into reading about diet, nutrition and even bought a recipe book as a result!

I’ve noticed that when I feel tired, stressed, over-worked, or depleted, eating well is one of the first things I stop doing. I reach for the junk food, the wine, the ready meals – and of course the cycle continues because these things don’t really make us feel better!

Maybe you’re not a fan of cooking but don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to start making fancy meals or become a foodie – I’m just pondering the impact of what we not only consume physically, but also what we feed our minds and spirits.

Do we seek instant comfort in things that numb us, rather than energise us? I recently heard it said that self-care is never indulgent, it’s always necessary.

Self-care is a total buzz word in our culture, which often emphasises doing whatever makes us feel good. But sometimes what makes us feel good in the moment, isn’t what will make us feel good in the long run. Real self-care is doing what truly nourishes and restores us.

For me, creativity is key. Resting and recharging is important. And receiving daily bread from God is essential.

Jesus said :

“it is written ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4

Just as we are not able to consume unhealthy food all the time and expect to be in good condition, what we consume mentally and spiritually has an impact too.

So, what are your methods of replenishment?

What do you find yourself doing when you feel a bit sluggish?

Do you neglect the basics?

Do you remember to make time and space for what fills your soul?

We need regular time doing the things that feed us. Just as our bodies need a balanced diet, our minds and spirits also need rhythm and nourishment.

What will you choose as your soul food today?

Written by Steph Young (Hope City Newcastle) as part of the SHE IS Collective Blog Series