Cravings. Aren’t they the worst? You’re on a roll, staying hydrated, eating more veggies, cutting back on sweets and soda, and all of a sudden your body announces, “Hey, you know what would be a good idea? POTATO CHIPS.” Ever the budget-conscious adult, you realize that the party-sized bag is a much better deal than the snack size. Problem solved.
Then there are emotional cravings. The weather gets cool, and you suddenly just want to escape alone into the mountains for six months to “get away from it all”. You’re totally content with life when one day you get a friend’s wedding invitation in the mail, and you’re unexpectedly crashing into a pit of despair about your chronic singleness. You reach an existential crisis where you’re doubting whether you’re in the right job, the right church, the right anything, and you find yourself Googling alternatives.
The problem with cravings is that they’re like teenage boys – you can feed them till you’ve run out of everything, and they’re still going to need more. The “Void” is happy to be filled but it can never be satisfied. Once you buy those chips, you find out the 11-chip serving size doesn’t cut it, and you either polish off the bag or you stoically resist – and you’re still miserable. You just know a road trip is what you need to combat your depression… only to come home to your maddening same-old life, with nothing to show but a skinnier wallet and a bunch of blurred pictures of unremarkable scenery. And you’re still miserable. You compulsively check Facebook and Pinterest to see if anyone out there has an opinion you don’t like or a living room suite you can’t live without, and log off an hour later… still miserable.
“The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways…” (Proverbs 14:14) My own ways are certainly plenteous – my interests, my favorite movies, my Instagram feed, my impulse buys at T.J. Maxx, my idea of how God wants to use me – but as filling as they are, as much of my time and money and energy as they consume, I’ll still wander off feeling dissatisfied and gross. Personal holiness becomes something I hope I’ll drift into by default. My Christian walk meanders into the shallows of conservative politics and being nice to people. I’ve shoveled so much junk into the Void that I’m borderline comatose, and I’m still dissatisfied.
“…and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” There are only two things that can satisfy my soul.
- Contentment. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5) He has already given me so much, both materially and spiritually, that I really just need to zoom in and dig deeper into what I already have. There is a trapdoor in the floor of wisdom’s house that contains, not new information, but depths I didn’t realize even existed in my present knowledge of Him.
- More of His presence. “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live.” (Isaiah 55:2-3) I am never going to be fully satisfied just reading my daily chapters and going down a prayer list. I am never going to find fulfillment in simply going to church or working in ministries. These things by themselves are shortcuts to complacency or burnout. I have to have more of Him, more of His precepts, more of His desires – and it transforms my walk with Him and galvanizes me to live even more holy and serve with even greater vigor.
“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple… When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” (Psalm 27:4, 8)
As we start to tumble into the carb-fest that the holiday season always brings, the key diet tip is always to distinguish between what will fill you and what will actually satisfy your cravings. Can you also use that wisdom to break the “comfort habits” that stuff you into ignominy, and instead pursue that “one thing” that will satisfy your soul?
Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Subscribe to be notified of new posts! – Rachel