by Rebecca Percival
The ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge involves having only $2 per day to spend on food. For me this only lasted five days but for almost half the world’s population this is an everyday reality. My hope in taking on this challenge was to gain a better understanding and appreciation of what this is like whilst raising funds to help those who are living out this reality. But I learnt so much more and I found that the experience challenged me in ways that I had not expected, not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well.
Until I took on this challenge I had not realised just how much I take for granted the quantity and variety of foods that I am able to eat on a daily basis. With a budget of $10, quantity of food was more important than quality of food. The food that I bought did not amount to a healthy balanced diet and lacked in many essential nutrients. In this short period of time I experienced headaches, dizziness, lack of energy, lack of motivation and a lack of concentration. It really put into perspective for me what a luxury item is and what is an essential. Each time I felt hungry I tried to focus on the fact that this is how much of the world feels every day.
But this challenge had much more meaning and impact for me beyond the physical side of things. I also came to the realisation that in our society we are so self-sufficient that it often does not leave room for us to rely on God. So even though it was only a small challenge in my life, this experience was particularly valuable as I had to rely on God a lot to give me the determination and strength to get through to the end of the week, because half-way through I was ready to quit. This perfectly demonstrated to me what God says to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” My own will power was not enough to get me through, even though it was only a five day challenge and I knew that afterwards I could resume eating as normal.
It brought into clear perspective for me that when this isn’t our everyday reality it is all too easy to put the struggles of others out of sight and out of mind, until the struggle becomes a reality in our own lives. But God calls us to help those who are in need. God is the one who has given us everything we have so we should be just as generous to others as He is to us. The real challenge then is for us all in looking at the way we live our everyday lives. We need to be continually and actively pursuing ways of addressing issues such as poverty and inequality whilst relying on God to gives us the strength and perseverance to do so. So this is our challenge, to serve others:
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” – James 2:15. “