Water in the Tank
by Dana Cavallaro
Defining moments often lead to great change. Such a moment in my life resulted in a conversation I had with God at a gas station. On a cold winter day, I huddled close to the car as I carefully pumped the gas. The car, a gift from my parents, had taken me through high school; traversed the roads from Chesapeake, VA to Springfield, MO many times as I traveled to college; and now, endured the harsh New England winters while I attended seminary. I loved this car and did my best to take care of it.
That night at the pump, I heard the voice of God, “Dana, would you put water in your car and expect it to run?” I emphatically replied, “No, I would never do that!” Without a second’s delay, I heard, “Then why do you put junk in your body and expect it to run properly?” Just the night before I had studied through dinner and on my way back to the dorm, I had stopped at a vending machine and purchased a package of cupcake puffs. I don’t even like cupcake puffs, but I was starving. Conviction overtook me—I realized my guilty on multiple counts.
As I repented, God began to show me that He loved me so much more than I could ever love a car. I took care of the car because it belonged to me. He wanted me to care of my body, because it was His. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
Until that moment, I had thought I honored God with the spiritual disciplines that had become a part of my life – prayer, Bible study, fasting, solitude, journaling. These things seemed holy and “set apart.” I never thought what and how I ate were also disciplines that give Him honor.
That brief conversation changed the way I thought about food; but even more, it changed the way I thought about taking care of myself. God wanted me to be the best I could be for His glory. Running myself ragged, both as a youth pastor and a full time student, skipping meals and sleep, little to no exercise were often things I did because I thought I was serving Him. I learned what I was doing simply put water in my tank, expecting to have the endurance to race the Indy 500. I was sorely deceived. Taking care of God’s body is a holy habit. He’s called us to the race (Hebrews 12:1) and running whole and healthy is a holy habit that honors Him.