My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42.2a)
We do it all the time. We sit down at a restaurant, grab the menu and ponder, “what am I hungry for?” What follows is this process of sifting through the menu options and determining whether they’ll really satisfy our craving. It’s a subjective, but real practice and we tend to be experts at it! But how about feeding our souls? Do we know how to quench what our soul’s thirsty for? I’ve found that most people don’t. Christians know we are supposed to have “quiet times”, but if we’re honest they are far too quiet and about as satisfying as dry toast! So what can you do?
1. Learn your soul’s “hunger pangs”. You know when your stomach is empty, figure out when your soul is. For most of us, it shows up on the slightly more negative register of emotion. It’s like when you are physically tired and crabby. When our souls are hungry, we get more irritable, excitable and prone to temptation. Most of what we call “stressed out” is what I’m talking about. For me I become withdrawn, dazed and weary. How does your soul groan for food?
2. You don’t eat alone, so be sure to share ALL of life with God. There is no great divide between sacred and secular. Paul says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). Often times we are at work or school struggling in our own strength. Invite God into it with you. Our souls become weary when we do life apart from God. Seems to me there was some profound Teacher who once said, “apart from Me you can do nothing.” Tell me, do you take God to work with you?
3. You have favorite restaurants, get some favorite soul food stops. If you haven’t read Gary Thomas’s book, “Sacred Pathways” I’d advise you to. We all have various ways we connect with God more readily. For some, it’s music. Others it is fellowship. Still others love quiet. For me, I love the woods. If I walk into a forest, I feel like I’ve just run into God face to face. I get calm. I feel wonder and awe. I worship. A two mile walk in the woods with God fills my soul up with jet fuel. I also love quiet and listening prayer. There are numerous other ways as well, but the challenge for me is giving some time to them. When my soul is weary I have to ask myself, “when was the last time you tapped into some of your favorite filling stations?” What are some of your most fulfilling ways to connect with God?
I’d love to hear how some of you fill your souls…post a comment when you can.