After more than 7 weeks with my mouth wired shut because of my broken jaw, it was quite a liberating experience to have the wires removed. I had gotten used to life with the wires. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily always enjoyed being on a liquid diet, but I definitely gained a new perspective and appreciation for many things that I hadn’t had before. So, I was thankful.
Meal after meal, I sat with friends and family, watching them as they enjoyed their food. Especially because of the holidays and because we live in America, I witnessed many overly indulge and enjoy the overwhelming amount of food that was placed in front of them. Without fail, I was always offered food. Some would genuinely forget that I couldn’t open my mouth and eat, but others would jokingly entice me. Out of pity, many tried to relate, but it was too hard to. When you’re enjoying an amazingly delicious meal, you’re not really thinking much about the one who has to survive off of really liquidy concoctions.
There were times that my appetite grew, longing to chew solid food instead of having to drink my meals. I lost appetite for smoothies and soups, but my desire grew for real food.
Sometimes I would become brave as others would encourage me to blend something I really wanted to eat into something I could drink through a straw. The truth is, though, that some foods are just never meant to be blended and made into liquid form. I learned pretty quickly that my diet was going to be pretty simple. For those 7 weeks, life wasn’t about pleasure, but more about survival.
The story changed drastically once the wires were removed and I had the ability to open my mouth again. Because I hadn’t used certain muscles in my mouth for almost two months, opening my mouth wide enough to get a decent bite of food in and chewing it was quite the struggle. To think I was going to all of a sudden be able to eat a juicy steak was unrealistic.
I had to work my way up from drinking milkshakes to eating burgers. I had to relearn how to eat, which was going to take a lot of stretching, practice and working out of those unused muscles every day, several times a day, for several weeks. I had to take on the likeness of a baby.
Reminds me of this:
…for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. | Hebrews 5:13-14
There’s no doubt in my mind that eating a burger is better than drinking a smoothie full of protein powder. I know what it feels like to miss out on something that I know is much better and gives greater satisfaction. From liquids, to soft foods, to solids, God desires that we know His Word more and more so that we would live it out knowing what pleases Him and what doesn’t. His desire is not that we stay as infants, immature and continually needing to be re-taught the truths of Scripture. He wants to teach us more, He wants us to dig deeper, so that we would have a greater understanding of who He is and be able, because of discipline and training, to discern what He does as good and all else as not.
Are our appetites growing for things of God and His Word? Do we long to know more and enjoy more of who He is and what He’s done? Are we mature enough to see how He’s powerfully moving and working right in front of us? Are we settling for survival rather than running after the pure joy that comes with knowing Him more and more?
We could go on living as if we were infants, only needing milk to survive, or we could choose to train ourselves to take bigger bites of solid food, so that we will grow in maturity and become a real part of His beautiful plan of redemption.