What Distracts Your Place at the Table?

As I write this I am just over halfway through a 40-day A Place at the Table journey of eating what my sponsored child in Haiti eats. I’ve been eating rice, beans, chicken, avocados, bananas and oranges.

place at the table

It’s been a fairly easy process in terms of my diet, because these are all foods I usually enjoy. But rice and beans for breakfast? Every day?

place at the table

At this point I’d really enjoy a bowl of granola with fresh strawberries, roasted flax seeds and cold almond milk.

It’s been an unusually sunny and warm spring where I live. I’d really like an ice cream cone. Mint chocolate chip. Make that a waffle cone, please.

I’d like a tall, cold glass of limeade.

I’d like a green salad with freshly grilled ahi tuna and toasted pine nuts.

I’d like some sharp cheddar cheese.

I’d like a crisp fuji apple.

I’d like a chocolate brownie.

I’d like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I could go on.

But as I spend every day choosing to eat something more bland, more boring, more routine, I’ve had another set of desires flashing in my head.

I’d like to be more patient with my children.

a man and woman sitting with three children

I’d like to be more intentional about getting to know some of my neighbors.

I’d like to be a more faithful and available friend.

I’d like to pursue some creative impulses that I’ve felt tugging at me for a long time.

I’d like to have more space in my head and in my heart, which have grown really crowded with the routines of my life.

I know switching to a simpler diet for the rest of my life won’t help fulfill these noble desires. It’s not that easy. But right now I am acutely aware of the simple wants I usually spend significant time pursuing, and it has made me realize that there are some higher callings I need to give just as much attention to.

And while I usually have a pretty healthy relationship with food, I often use it as a distraction. The internal dialogue sounds something like this:

Got a difficult phone call to make? Maybe I’ll go make a snack first and push that call off another 30 minutes.

Got a project to complete that will take some time and hard focus? Maybe I’ll go make dinner instead.

What important desires of your heart often get pushed aside in favor of more easily satisfied pleasures? Do you ever use food as a distraction?

9 Comments |Add a comment

  1. douglas April 22, 2012

    we have 2 sponsor child

  2. Holly S. March 29, 2012

    Right there with you on the tuna, pb and cereal! 🙂

    My favorite part of the journey so far has been that I have thought so much more about my child. Every meal reminds me to pray for Allan, and I love it.

  3. Netta March 27, 2012

    This is so rich & good. Thank you for being so real & honest.

  4. Katie Axelson March 27, 2012

    I’m notorious for walking through my parents’ kitchen and opening and closing every cabinet, the fridge, the freezer, and then repeating the process. Sometimes because I’m hungry but more often because I’m bored or procrastinating. Actually, an avocado sounds really good about now. Maybe I’ll eat one rather than doing my devotion…. Thanks for bringing to light the reality we all face in taking something good (like eating) and turning it into something bad (like a distraction or procrastination tool).


  5. Gail March 27, 2012

    Food can be an emotional crutch as well as a distraction.

  6. Jill Foley ~ Compassion Family March 27, 2012

    I have found that by taking out the excess – the indulgences – in my life, I have enjoyed the simple things so much more. When I do pour myself a cup of coffee on feast day, I notice the steam rising from the cup and am grateful for that!

  7. michelle s. March 27, 2012

    We are doing it to. We are also feasting on Sundays though and I think that balance is making the entire experience so much richer. We also are finding the food totally delicious. Rice/Beans/Chicken/Veggies/Fruits.

  8. David March 27, 2012

    In the middle of doing “A Place at the Table,” my sponsored child wrote that her favorite meal is white rice and chicken. Even these bland meals we eat are luxuries for some children.

  9. chad allen March 27, 2012

    Love this call to sublimate our base desires. I needed to hear this today. Thank you!

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