Thurs., Dec. 6, 2018

Matthew 6:25 – (Jesus said,) “I tell you, do not worry. Don’t worry about your life and what you will eat or drink. And don’t worry about your body and what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than eating? Aren’t there more important things for the body than clothes?

Earlier this week, I went to donate blood. I had this appointment set-up for a while.  The American Red Cross said that my blood type “is in high demand.” I think this simply means they are running low on blood.

give blood

I donate blood regularly. Basically, it’s an easy way to help someone else out. And gives me a good excuse to indulge in foods I usually avoid.

I planned my afternoon around appointment. I arrived early to the donation site, as I had some business to attend. I signed-in to give blood at the appointment desk. While I waited for someone to help me, I held the completed rapid pass in my hand.

Early in the initial exam, blood is tested to make sure there is enough iron. There have been times when my blood has been borderline low for iron. For the last number of months, I have increased my protein intake and lowered my carb intake. This seemed to help my iron levels, as the last time I donated blood, the person who tested my iron was mightily impressed. I was way over the minimum.

I didn’t think much about whether or not I would have enough iron this go around. Until I was tested … and I didn’t pass. The woman kindly suggested she take a blood sample from a finger on my other hand. I quickly obliged. And once again, my iron level was too low. This time by a measly 0.1%.

Just 0.1% that stood between me donating blood and being differed. A little sliver of iron that kept me from making it onto the next station at the donation center.

I was shocked. Just a few weeks ago, my iron levels were, well, amazing. How could of they changed so quickly?

Yes, I was highly disappointed as the woman threw my rapid pass in the garbage while I went to find my coat.

We feed our bodies with lots of things: some good things, some bad things and a whole bunch of things in-between. I am not a rigid diet-follower. I know what foods I should avoid or eat in moderation … and which ones are calorie dense.

So how could it happen that I was low on iron?

When we let something go off of our radar screen, it just slips away. Just like my earlier noteworthy iron levels. They were great … but not this donation day. I kept thinking, “If I only had eaten a peanut butter sandwich or an egg an hour earlier …”

“Nutrition” and what we feed our bodies comes in many different ways. Food and drink are obvious. Jesus acnowledged that our bodies need more than just actual food. How do we feed our spiritual needs? Emotional and mental needs? What about physical needs? These are all very real needs in our bodies. Do we provide good nutrition in these areas as well?

Like many people, some days I do better in all nutritional needs than others. Some days, I just blow it.

These days, I don’t subscribe to a specific diet, which I know I will fail. Rather, I aim to eat healthy 80% of the time and allow some cheating in the other 20%. The challenge is keeping the 20% in check.

We look for “food” in our lives in many different ways: real food, drink, movement and activity and stretching. “Nutrition” can be games that activate our brains, reading, a great conversation with someone or a bubble bath. We can feed ourselves through worship, mediation and spiritual practices.

Do you spend as much time “feeding” the other need areas of your body as you spend feeding the nutritional side of your body? Or do you skimp in this area? How can you best “feed” our brain, soul and body?

If I’m low on iron in my body, there’s a good chance I’m low on some other “nutritional” need my body has. I just didn’t get tested for it. Do I listen to my body enough to know when I need to “feed” my body emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically? And do I make this a priority?

Yes, I was a bit embarrassed to leave the donation site so quickly. As I drove towards away, I was given the opportunity to ponder whether I’m feeding all areas of my life. And I know I’m lacking in more than just iron.

How about you? Are you getting the nutritional needs you have? Or is something lacking?

Just like my need for iron could have been easily fixed with a little attention, often other “nutritional” needs can be easily remedied. It’s making these nutritional needs a priority.

It’s the season of Advent. A time of waiting. A perfect time to take just a bit of time and assess your full nutritional needs. And commit to just a couple simple acts to feed your body every day.

donating blood

For a reminder to pay attention to “nutritional” needs, I am grateful.

Lord God – thanks for another little life lesson which taught me more than I anticipated. Help me to think of the unmet nutritional needs in my life … and discover a way to fulfill them. Amen.

Blessings –


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