In considering how our sense of taste can be used to experience God I couldn’t help but think about how hunger influences my health and how choosing what’s filling over what’s fueling can lead me into starvation instead of being spiritually satisfied.
Filling or Fueling?
I did it again. I forgot to eat lunch I didn’t mean to. And by the time I realized my mistake, it was too late. I was famished.
When I’m hungry…. like REALLY hungry, it doesn’t matter what I eat. Whatever is handy and F-A-S-T. When I’ve waited too long to eat, I’m often too impatient to even whip up a shake or microwave leftovers. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what it tastes like. Just so long as I get something in my belly. Sometimes I don’t even taste what I’m eating.
The hungrier I get the harder it is to force myself to find or fix something healthy.
I reach for whatever is close and easy and fast and hopefully filling. The hungrier I am to more likely I am to overeat. But too often those things only make me feel full without actually providing any nutritional benefits. Then, I’m too full to eat the good stuff.
Because we typically crave what we consume, my poor choices perpetuate this never-ending cycle of quick and easy calories that aren’t necessarily good for me. A handful of Cheezits, inevitably leads to a second and maybe a third. But that ultimately leaves me feeling emptier than when I began.
Filling isn’t always fueling.Filling isn’t always fueling. #5senses #tasteandsee #experienceGod #spirituallysatisfied Click To Tweet
As a society, we’ve been neglecting the fueling of our souls for so long we barely even recognize our desperate state. We keep reaching for fast fixes that make us feel full but don’t provide the fuel we need to go the distance in this marathon engagement called life.
The hard truth is, if you have time for Girl Wash Your Face (or any of the other popular “Christian” books available these days), you have time to read your Bible. We are all busy, just ask us. But we must consider if we are making Bible study as much a priority as healthy eating? One reaps eternal benefits while the effects of the other barely last for this lifetime.
I know if I was to invest the time to fix myself a proper lunch, the 3 pm crash wouldn’t be nearly as catastrophic. I know if I was to reach for my Bible more often than other forms of entertainment, encouragement, or comfort, I would be filled with the strength and faith to endure the hardships of living in this messy world.
But knowing doesn’t always translate to doing. So we need a plan!
7 Steps to Go from Spiritually Hungry to Spiritually Satisfied
1. Survey Your Situation
Any good change first requires an honest assessment of where we are. If we don’t know where we’re starting it is really hard to figure out how to get where we want to go, let alone get there. If you won’t admit you need a change, you won’t be motivated to make it either. Conducting an honest self-assessment is a critical first step to making a lasting improvement in your spiritual health. Where are you on a scale of spiritually hungry to spiritually healthy? What do you need to add or remove to stop simply filling and start fueling?
2. Mine Your Motives
We have to do the heartwork before we can do the hard work. The best coaches will tell you to start with the heart, you have to know why you want to improve your habits if you’re going to be successful in creating a lifestyle change. What’s your why? Why do you want to create a craving for Christ? Why do you want to improve your spiritual health? Why is it important for you to learn directly from the Word instead of reading other people’s opinions? Why do you want to fill yourself with real fuel for life’s challenges? Mining your motives now will provide the motivation you need to make good choices with the challenge gets tough.
3. Define Your Desires
They say goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, and timely. Look at your life and figure out what is manageable and sustainable for the long term. Instead of “Read my Bible more,” consider, “I want to develop a desire to read my Bible every day for 15 minutes” or “one chapter” or “I want to memorize one verse each week.” What are your goals for your spiritual health?
4. Hone Your How
Before you even begin to make the changes, it is wise to know exactly how you’ll do it. Think of this step like you would meal planning and prep. It is so much easier to reach for the right foods when they are ready to go. Eating healthy in a busy season is easier when you have a plan. It is only possible to reach for your Bible when it’s handy, when everything you need is together, when you have a schedule for what you’ll read when. A little planning now will prevent a lot of problems later. Gather your study materials and make a plan for where and when you’ll fuel your soul this week.
5. Practice Your Plan
This is where you actually start to do what you’ve said you’ll do and when you’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t. Pay attention to when you are most tempted to cheat. If you’re like me temptations rear their ugly heads when I’m stressed, tired, afraid, alone, discontent, doubting, or hungry. But recognizing these cues and intentionally choosing to stick to your plan because you know your why produces lasting benefits. Recognizing these cues can also help you re-hone your how, so that you incorporate extra planning and preparation for times when you know you’ll face temptation.
6. Record Your Results
Most plans for creating healthy changes involve some sort of tracking. For me, the most sustainable plans are the ones where I can actually see or feel an improvement, where I can directly attribute the difference to the changes I’ve made. As you practice, pay attention to the changes in your heart. Have your reactions to stressful situations changed? Have you discovered you know crave Christ instead of cookies? Have you found the strength and energy to endure things that would previously done you in? Pay attention to what is producing positive rests and do more of those things. Don’t be afraid to change your plan to fit your life or to change your life to make room for your plan.
7. Add in Accountability
Of course, you could go it alone. Some people find success that way. But by in large, having some accountability partners and/or a coach makes the journey more enjoyable and effective. As Christians, we all have a built-in coach. The Holy Spirit lives inside each of us and works to remind us, convict us, and lead us in the way of truth. Most successful “lifestyle changes” happen for those people involved in a support group made up of likeminded people with similar goals all going through the same challenges who are committed to sharing their struggles and encouraging each other. God created us for community. You can join the Create a Craving for Christ Challenge Facebook group (Sorry. This group is now closed, but if you subscribe to My Messy Desk, you’ll be among the first to know if I do another challenge group.) and find these people. But we start on October 1st, so act fast!
How Hungry Are YOU?
Tasting God and seeing His goodness isn’t about instant gratification, it’s about finding the fuel that endures into eternity. It’s about recognizing your hunger and reaching for what truly satisfies instead of a quick fix. It is a lifestyle change.
When you know how to study the Bible for yourself, you won’t have to rely on anyone else to feed you. You’ll stop settling for simply filling, when you train yourself to reach for what fuels your faith.
Proper fueling produces spiritual satisfaction and keeps us from reaching the depths of desperation that often doom us to a life of settling for what fills instead of what fuels.
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and who believes in me will never be thirsty.'”
John 6:35Proper fueling produces spiritual satisfaction and keeps us from reaching the depths of desperation that often doom us to a life of settling for what fills instead of what fuels. #5senses #tasteandsee #experiencegod #spirituallysatisfied Click To Tweet
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope