oh, to be whole

Wholeness. To be restored to fullness. To be altogether complete. To be healed.

Our culture longs for wholeness. We seek to fill in the gaps. We strive to lack nothing. We search for supernatural strength. What do we fill? How do we strive? Where do we search?

Oh, to be whole.

Over the past month, they have been on a journey together. A journey that she geeks out about, he groans over, and a journey that brought to the surface more than they bargained for a New Year’s eating plan.

She set out on the journey to seek wholeness, to be restored from unhealthy patterns and habits, to reset her body to a way of eating it was intended for, and to see if this plan would prove a diagnosis for her man’s migraines. He, the supportive husband of a strong willed woman, complied, and together they submitted themselves to what is commonly known as, the Whole30.

30 days: real food, whole food: meat, seafood, eggs, lots of veggies, some fruit, good fats all while avoiding gluten, grains, dairy, legumes and sugars.

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To be restored to fullness. The first week of their Whole30 adventure sounded a lot like the Rolling Stones hit, “No Satisfaction”. When deprived of what they normally sought to satisfy, their bodies proved captive to their addictions. Her generous squeeze of honey per morning coffee, his popcorn and Shiner beer, her cheese, crackers and Chardonnay, their quick Chick lunch, peanut butter ‘n chocolate chips before bed and pizza Friday, OH pizza Friday…

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They were not satisfied without. He left most meals she prepared feeling hungry, grumpy and craving. She packed up leftovers each night discouraged, depressed and thirsty for his approval. He spent most days enduring a chronic headache. Poorly motivated, she hunted for work to make up for the extra money she had spent at the grocery store. He wanted to be filled. She wanted to be enough. They were needy, fatigued and cranky. They had trained their bodies to find fullness by way of filling in the gaps with what they thought would satisfy. Deprived of these fleshly desires, they felt empty and depleted. So, she doubled his portions and added carb dense veggies, and he made an effort to affirm her time planning, work preparing and creativity in presenting each meal. He chased after memories his taste buds delighted in that left him lacking. She craved his accolades and appreciation. They longed to be satisfied, to be filled. To be restored to fullness.

To be altogether, complete. About two weeks in, their bodies adjusted, energy increased and benefits became obvious. She no longer waited until the last minute to force herself to the gym for the last work out of the day, but took every opportunity to be outside, active and in relationship with those around her. He could sit in front of and resist a basket of tortilla chips, and crave a burrito bowl. She became motivated and inspired in ways to bring in extra money. His headaches subsided. She experienced a new found confidence, and he rarely grumbled about not feeling full. They had both noticed a difference and sang praises about the plan.

Even so, they still longed for completion of the 30 days. Him, for the freedom of choice, to satiate his cravings with the morsels they’d been without. Her, to see results so dramatic that she would repel gluten and dairy like she did the stomach virus. He wanted to be finished. She wanted to be whole.

IMG_0646.JPGTheir hope was in the last day; him, to no longer resist, her, to experience revelation. So, they remained faithful to the plan through dinners out with family, celebrating with friends, life on the road and yes, even watching the SuperBowl. They fixed their eyes on the finish line. To be lacking nothing, altogether complete.

To be wholly healed. The end came fast, Day30, it. is. finished! He lost 15 pounds, dropped more inches than he needed to and proved to his competitive self that he could do almost anything he sets his mind to, even if it means no bread for 30 days. She comfortably fit into most of her clothes, had blemish free skin for the first time without prescription meds, and felt as if every minute was pumped with adrenaline. He no longer had to resist, and the results surpassed her expectations. They were feelin’ good.

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Their first lunch out on Day31 uncovered opposing expectations of life after the Whole30. In one single sandwich he reintroduced all food groups he had eliminated without regard to the work he had done to clean them out of his system. She deliberated with great tension over informing his decisions or giving him full freedom to make his own choice. He became frustrated with the ambiguity of the program rules of life after the Whole30. She abandoned the rigid reintroduction plan so as not to further inconvenience or trouble him or those around her. And by Day 35 he had lost all form of Whole30, slopping up potato salad and BBQ sauce by piece of bread. And that girl, after a handful of popcorn, a pinch of cotton candy and half a chocolate chip cookie, she also had reincorporated all of the ‘never again’ food groups. The car ride home Sunday night was tension filled and tainted by his headache, her tummy pains and a facial breakout that pointed to the obvious, their bodies were not tolerating the foods they had so carelessly indulged in once more. In bed by 8:45, they lay there, her, doubled over in stomach pain, him, seeking to sleep off the split in his head.  They had obeyed the desires of their flesh and were broken, longing to be healed. He wanted to buy in, to discover the trigger of his headaches, and while the evidence was promising, he wasn’t willing to commit his lifestyle to heal by way of Whole30. She too, wanted to sell out on the gluten-dairy-sugar free way. It was evident her body flourished under these restrictions. However, her fear of being misunderstood, or offending others with her way of eating held her back from confidence walking forward. They long to be healed, of ailments like headaches, acne, and a sensitive gut, but even more so of their sinfulness, of their obedience to the flesh and insecurity. They long to be unbroken, wholly healed.

They long. They long to be fulfilled. They long to be complete. They long to be wholly restored. They fill up on social media, sports statistics and fantasizing about the future. They set their hope in the way they influence and are adored. They are weary from running, from fighting, from suffering in this world. They want to be finished, to be free, to be victorious. They medicate with happy hour, a shopping spree and half priced baked goods on Saturday night. Oh, to be full. Oh, to be complete. Oh, to be healed.

They long for wholeness. They were created for it. The Jesus Storybook Bible describes it this way, “… And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and wind in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. Their hearts were filled with happiness. And nothing ever made them sad or lonely or sick or afraid. God looked at everything he had made. ‘Perfect!’ he said. And it was.” Perfection. Completion. Wholeness. It was what they were created for, and then things went wrong. They doubted God’s love for them, and they ran far away from him. They separated themselves from His perfection, from a life that was whole. They broke down, fell apart, and had no way of attaining wholeness on their own. They needed a rescuer, a Savior. And God so loved them, that He sent Jesus. Jesus brought healing to those who were broken. He brought hope to those in despair. He lived perfectly with God. And though He was perfect, He was put to death unjustly to bear the separation from wholeness that they deserve. Yet, death had no hold on Him, and rose from the grave to restore a way back to wholeness. And whoever shall believe in Him, will not perish in separation, but will walk in newness, in completion, in healing, in wholeness.

He has fulfilled. He has finished. He has healed.

They are whole.

One Whole30 down, and a long joy filled journey to go, ‘They fix their eyes on their creator, and seek Him who began a good work in them promising to bring it to completion. They submit unto the author and perfecter of their faith, the one who proves them faithful, perfect and complete, lacking nothing. They trust he will supply their every need, restore their health and heal their wounds. In him, their strength is sufficient. They hope in The Day, in the revelation of Christ Jesus when they meet his face in freedom, and He is pleased. In him, they are whole.’ [Phil 1:6, 4:19, 1 Peter 1:7, James 1:4, Jeremiah 30:7, 2 Cor. 12:9]

And from that reality, they will continue to gracefully strive towards practically living out of their wholeness in this broken world, putting the One who makes them whole on display in all the decisions they make, even in simple, everyday practices like eating and drinking.

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