how cheating taught me about [real] hunger

refrigerator, food, hunger

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

April 23, 2012

refrigerator, food, hunger

I had a moment of weakness.

I’m ashamed to say that I cheated. And it wasn’t just a little bit. I cheated bad. Yeah, I feel horrible about it, mostly because I know there’s no way I can take it back. I wish I could. I really wish I could.

I was just about two-thirds of the way through food month in [the 7 project]. The biggest part of my new diet was a breakfast that reminded me of my time in Africa, and a rice-and-beans lunch that reminded me of Haiti. For the most part, these eating times had become sweet times of remembering special people and praying for them as I ate.

Then it happened.

The weekend came, and so did a whole bunch of important ‘stuff’ that I needed to get done. I got right to it shortly after rolling out of bed at something like 9 or 10 o’clock. And since I didn’t have any eggs ready, I skipped breakfast. Then it started rolling around to lunchtime. My stomach starts to rumble. I know I need to stop to eat, but it’ll have to be quick if I’m going to do everything that I need to get done.

Dangit! I didn’t have any rice and beans ready yet either. If I was going to stick to the plan, then I’d have to cook some… and that would take a little while.

So I broke down and just grabbed something to eat. I don’t even remember what the first thing I grabbed was, but I do remember that it was easy. Pretty much open the door to the fridge or pantry, scan the dozens of options available to me, and grab the one thing that seems most appealing at the moment.

I ate, and I got back to my ‘important’ tasks.

But that incident snowballed into an entire weekend of eating ‘off-plan’. With so much to do, I just never had the time to stop and focus on food. Then it hits me…

Food isn’t a priority for me.

That statement lingered with me. I couldn’t stop thinking about how convenient it is for me to eat (nearly anything I want) when I want. I don’t know that I felt guilty for being in that place, but it did become very clear to me how fortunate and blessed I am to not have to worry about food.

Several days later, I’m still thinking about this reality with my situation when an IM chat notification pops for me. It’s a friend of mine from one of the third-world countries that I’ve visited. While asking him how things are going for him, he tells me (I believe very hesitantly) that he hasn’t eaten in over two days now.

Two days?

Yep, two days.

It doesn’t matter how much I try to willingly limit what I eat, I may not ever realize what real hunger is like. Food just isn’t a priority for me. But I know many who have no other priorities when they wake up every morning.

I’m still not sure what to do with this one.

[the 7 project] at an experimental mutiny against excess


  1. Mary Adam Borntreger

    Don’t make me cry SIL, this is very humbling.  Thinking on this for a while with all of our handy life style it is not hard to stay on task. This will take a definite paradigm change for me. Blessings.

    • @bibledude

      you are not alone… this is a paradigm shift for most of us. it’s kinda funny how i thought i could really identify with the hunger that many of these people live with on a day-to-day basis, but the truth is that even with my regular ‘meal plan’ i was still eating more than most of them do in an average day.

      crazy, huh?

  2. Tessy Fuller

    That one statement says so much – Food is not a priority to me.  Still trudging along in this food challenge.  It has been difficult but eye-opening.

    • @bibledude

      this is been one of the most eye-opening experiences that i’ve ever had outside of being in the mission field (and a few other local community projects). so you can imagine what my heart did when my self-awareness crashed together with the reality of my friend who didn’t have that luxury… rocked me to the core.

  3. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    It looks to me like you knew one good thing to do with this one, Dan, you shared it so we could consider your words. “Food isn’t a priority.” 

    That sentence has legs. 

    • @bibledude

      “Food isn’t a priority for me.” …yeah, that’s a life-changing realization. it’s a statement that says SO much about my situation and the situation for much of the world… i could literally write a whole book based on that one statement…

      hmmm… maybe you’ve just (unintentionally) given me an idea…  😉

  4. Delicate Fortress Creations

    So humbling, Dan.  I’m struck so often by how little I really know and understand.

    • @bibledude

      just when you think you have it all figured out…


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how cheating taught me about [real] hunger

by Dan King time to read: 3 min