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Living Within God's Boundaries and Getting a Spiritual Boost.

Updated: May 30, 2023

I have not eaten solid food in more than two months. I have been living on Boost "very high calorie" formula which delivers 530 calories in one 8oz carton. My dietician has advised me to drink five cartons each day. They are not the best tasting beverage, but they're bearable and much better than other meal replacement drinks I've tried. And they're way better than having a feeding tube.

I am scheduled to have a procedure, a Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) on June 8 at Duke, that treats the swallowing disorder (Achalasia) that I've been struggling with for the last two years. I’m very hopeful this POEM will restore my ability to eat and drink normal food... every food you can imagine;)

Not being able to eat has been tough. You don’t realize how much of our lives revolve around food and shared meals until you can’t participate. On Mother’s Day, I grilled steaks for our family. It was my idea. I chewed a couple pieces, enjoyed the juices and flavors, and then had to discretely spit it out!

A few weeks ago, Amy and I went on a weekend getaway to Florida to see friends. At a fabulous Mexican restaurant, I sipped the broth of a little cup of taco soup, while my amigos enjoyed their big, hot, sizzling plates of fajitas.

I had been enjoying smoothies, but over the past few weeks that has become impossible. By the time I add enough milk to liquify it enough to swallow, there’s no flavor left. :(.

Trying this or that in hopes it might go down and stay down has proven to be a gamble usually not worth the price I pay. Consequently, I've been staying in the safe zone, and relying on my daily Boosts.

As we should in all things, including our struggles, I continue to look and listen for Jesus. Where are you? What are saying? What do you want me to do? What am I to learn from this?

Last year, when I had no choice but to receive a feeding tube in my abdomen, I thought often about Jesus in the wilderness fasting for forty days. When the Devil tempted him to turn stones into bread, Jesus refused and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4, NIV). Going without solid food and normal beverages was my chance to reflect on Jesus, my need for him, and my relationship with God. I gave more time and focus to Bible reading, study, prayers, and other spiritual practices.

I also became more mindful of those struggling with food insecurity and hunger. I got a small taste of what it must be like not to have food to eat while you're surrounded by restaurants, grocery stores, and people with more than enough, and often big bellies to prove it. Although I hate to confess, I did not take any meaningful action to help. Maybe this is a reminder and a second chance.

This time, I find myself reflecting on these words from psalm 16, and boundaries.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;

you make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16:5-6

No solid food is a boundary set for me. I don’t like it, and want to rebel against it. But it’s for my own good, to keep me from choking or my esophagus from rupturing. It spares me from the unpleasantries of coughing up food. If I stick with the Boost, I get the calories and nutrition I need without any complications. The time saved from meal prepping and kitchen cleaning can be spent elsewhere. Plus, I'm losing a lot of weight just in time for beaches and bathing suits:)

God sets boundaries for us. Don’t eat the fruit from this tree. The Ten Commandments and the Law. Jesus summed up the Law into two commandments. The first is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12:30-31) These commandments sets boundaries for us. Is this loving God? Loving my neighbor? If not, it’s outside the boundaries.

Jesus gave us some many specific boundaries. For example, don’t judge others. My job is to love, accept, and seek to understand others. If I go outside this boundary, criticizing and condemning, I will hurt that person and possibly myself when others judge me in the same way (Matthew 7:1). If I love and accept others, as hard as it may be, the results will be positive and life giving, honor God, and set the tone for how others will likely treat me. Within these boundary lines, God has created a pleasant place for us.

Perhaps my experience is meant to encourage us to reflect on God's boundaries in our lives. What boundaries am I honoring that have resulted in my enjoying pleasant places now? Thank God! Are there any boundaries I have crossed that have resulted in my being in a painful place? Confess and ask God to help you get back to where you belong.

I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or question below.

To hear more messages like this, please visit my blog at and check out my book, How Cancer Cured Me. I have author copies. If you'd like one, let me know.

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