(photo credit: My son)
One thing I remember about my grandmother was that she always chewed her food well. She would be the last one still eating not because she talked too much but because she chewed her food throughly. I did not inherit this trait from her. For as long as I can remember, I have been a fast eater. I know I should chew longer. As I taught anatomy, I learned how it aids my digestion to chew my food thoroughly. But somehow I am too often in a hurry.
This past month, I read Eat Dirt by Josh Axe. The book talked about Leaky Gut Syndrome and how it could be the cause of many of the health problems affecting people today. In the book, Dr. Axe gave the different ways people experience leaky gut and offered suggestions on how to go about healing this leaky gut. One minor thing that he advocated was chewing our food better and more thoroughly. Besides improving our digestion, chewing our food allows us to savor the taste of the food, and we end up eating less overall. So I decided to start chewing my food better. Why not? It seemed like an easy enough thing to start. He was right! The food did taste better. My stomach no longer felt upset soon after I ate because my food was digesting better. I could probably chew my food even more thoroughly, but for now, I am making progress.
Chewing my food allows me to enjoy the food that I am eating. It makes me slow down and focus on the moment. I also find myself listening better to those at the table with me since I have food in my mouth longer making me less tempted to talk too much.
Chewing my food allows me to savor and enjoy as well as aids the digestion of my food. In the same way, I am finding that I need to chew on God's word. I need to take time to savor and enjoy. By spending more time chewing, I am able to digest more thoroughly or understand more deeply what His word says.
I don't know about you, but I often have a tendency to rush through my time with God. Read a chapter, pray, maybe journal a little bit, and I am done. What would happen if I took the time to chew on the word rather then just swallowing it?
When we eat, we sometimes eat for the nutrition and energy. Other times we eat to savor and enjoy. As I read over and chew on a passage, I find it easier to slow down and just savor. How often we go to the word of God for quick fix, for the nutrition we need. How different we (I) would be if we (I) took the time to chew on, savor, and simply delight in the word of our Lord and Savior.
I have been trying to do that more this year-to chew on the word. Here are a few ways that I chew on the word more thoroughly.
1. MemorizationFor this, I use an app called Fighter Verse that is put out by Desiring God.
Each week a different verse can memorized by doing quizzes or using the listen/share option. Even though I only manage to learn a verse every few weeks, the verses I memorized were timely and exactly what I need for that day or week. As I memorized each verse, I had to remember the specific words. It gave me time chew on what that word meant and how it fit into the verse or even passage it came from. For example, Matt 11:28-30 talked about coming to Jesus, he will take our yolk, and his yolk is easy. In the verse, Jesus says that we are to learn from him. What are we to learn? How do we go about learning? This was a part of the thought process I went through as I memorized and reviewed this verse.
2. With Art
I am not an artist, but I like to try to be creative. A friend of mine taught me how to take a verse and use different fonts and little pictures to help bring the verse to life.
As you can see my verses are not fancy but then again the process is for me. As I write out the verse I am able to spend time chewing on God's word as I change the color of my pen, think about what picture would help visualize the verse, or what words I want to stand out. This process is not only a good way to chew on God's word but to de-stress as I let the truth of God's word take hold and the cares of this world slip away.
3. Reading The Same Passage Each Day For 3 or 4 Days
As I work through the book, Read the Bible for Life, the assignments have me reading the same passage or chapter 3 or 4 times over the course of several days. Sometimes as I read the passage, I am to think about context such as how does culture or theology affect my understanding. Other times, the author, George Guthrie, encourages us readers to read it each time in a different version. Each reading has its surprises as the theme can stay consistent but the different wording helps bring a deeper understanding to the passage. For example, this week I have been reading Romans 8. In my last reading today in the NLT, the theme of the spirit brings life and will intercede for us was still there. But the wording of verse 12 stuck out. "Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do." Yikes, there goes the excuse that I just couldn't help myself.
I have a friend who listened to Ephesians every day as she ran. She was memorizing the whole book a verse at a time but hearing it all in context day after day had to be helpful to her understanding of each verse.
What are some ways that you chew on God's word? I am wanting to try out Lecto Divina in a small group. Ruth Haley Barton describes it here. Has anyone ever done it before?
(Note: the links to Amazon are affiliate links which means if you decide to buy that book I get just a bit towards my book habit at no extra cost to you.)