Satisfying An Empty Soul

Navy2
Leia

While many people around the country spent time this past weekend at nearby lakes, headed off to vacation spots or cleaned up the barbecue grill for the unofficial start of summer, our family was parked at the ball field for the Spring Tournament wrap up of Leia’s 6th softball season. Our league plays a double elimination competition which meant that after her team lost the first game on Friday night, they would have to play four successive games in order to come out on top. It was a tall order considering the temperatures on Saturday pushed near 90, and the sun relentlessly baked the team for almost four straight hours in the field. Even though the shady bleachers where we sat were a lot less intense, it was still very warm for everyone.

Navy5The team bounced back well from the lackluster last few games of the regular season, played well and actually chalked up a couple of victories. But, after Game 3 commenced and the clock’s hands moved well to the right side of noon, I (along with everyone else) found myself getting really, really hungry. By the time the game was over, (they came in a respectable second) and we got home (8ish hours after our last meal), my stomach was letting me know its opinion on the subject of a missed meal.  At that point, I found myself scrounging around the pantry searching for pretty much anything to eat. The food didn’t necessarily have to be the tastiest, most practical, or even healthy, because I just wanted my stomach to stop grumbling. A candy bar or bag of chips? Yes! A Pop Tart or Twinkie? That’d be OK too!

But, standing at the kitchen counter after finishing my second spoonful of peanut butter, it occurred to me that in some ways, our souls and stomachs are much alike.

Just as your stomach aches when it gets empty, your soul hurts when it’s empty too. Whether it be from neglect, abuse, guilt, stress, worry or a host of other things, there are times when the pain becomes so great that all you want is for that inner churning to stop. And it’s at this point that you’re prone to reach for just about anything to make the pain go away. Spiritual twinkies (like illicit relationships, self-sufficiency, pursuit of wealth, materialism etc) may take away the discomfort for a while, but they don’t really satisfy for very long. And just as a steady diet of junk food will surely cripple your health, a steady diet of spiritual junk food will cripple your soul as well.

God pleads with us to make wise choices in deciding what we fill our hearts with… and cautions us to select enduring things that He generously and freely provides that truly nourish and satisfy. In Isaiah 55, He asks us to be honest and assess our foolishness. Verse 3 says “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.” Many years later, Jesus echoed that exhortation as he encouraged His followers to satiate their inner appetites by developing a “hunger and thirst for righteousness” and promised that then (and only then) will we “be filled.” (Matt 5:6)

You know, I could have come home from the ball field and cooked up a meal filled with proteins, carbs, and vitamins that my body really needed, but that was a lot harder and would have taken much more time than spoonfuls of peanut butter and a glass of iced tea. Spiritually speaking, it also takes a lot of time, effort and involvement to cook up a healthy and satisfying connection to Jesus.

But in the long run, a meal of feasting on the richness of a deep relationship with Christ will be the only thing that fills the deep longings of the soul.

I am the LORD your God ….. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. ~ Psalm 81:10 

 

23 thoughts on “Satisfying An Empty Soul

  1. Great analogy and so very true!!! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! 🙂

  2. So true, Karen, how our hunger — stomach or soul — can drive us to the quick fix. But those quick fixes won’t bring us the satisfaction we need or crave. Thanks for sharing, friend. : )

  3. I love your thoughts on hunger and our need to ‘feast’ with God. “Your words were found and I ate them,, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jer 15:16). I’m your neighbor at Holley’s. Blessings!

  4. Great analogy. My mother died recently and during the last week and half of her life I stayed round the clock with her. Of course my eating habit changed drastically, in fact I hardly ate at all. One thing I did do was write my grief because words kept tumbling into my mind faster then I could write them down. I was totally aware God was keeping my physical and emotional state going for the sake of others. Two weeks later it all came crashing in one sleepless night. But He was there in the crashing too…no matter the situation He never waste a thing in our life, always using the present to teach and encourage and draw us to Him.

  5. “Spiritually speaking, it also takes a lot of time, effort and involvement to cook up a healthy and satisfying connection to Jesus.” It sure does! If we don’t take the time we will miss so much the Lord wants for us. Thank for this reminder and for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

  6. Oooh, this is such a great analogy and insights. I have had those inner grumblings as well and like you said, when I’m not cautious I reach for quick fixes like keeping busy and signing up for loads of projects, when actually I should be turning it all over to the Lord.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

  7. Thank you, Karen, for such encouraging words. Even us leaders need to realize that just because we prepare healthy meals for those under our ministry doesn’t mean we can’t take the time to make something for ourselves. Sometimes we are so busy making sure others are healthy and only have time to grab a quick bite of whatever. Preparing a sermon, teaching a class, counseling and even directing a meeting do require that you taste healthy foods, but it’s not the same as spending time preparing something for yourself and sitting down, without any agenda, to savor it.

    1. I agree. The temptation is for those who are leaders to want to ‘skip a meal’ or feel like we can nibble at the plate we serve to others. But you are right that we need to start by dining on satisfying food for ourselves before we can really prepare anything for anyone else.

  8. I appreciate the analogy, Karen. It’s too easy to slip into the quick and easy, instead of staying the course for the deep and meaningful. Thanks for the reminder, from your neighbor at #livefreeThursday.

  9. Thanks Karen,

    I thank God for spiritual hunger! It drives us to seek God. I pray that I will always have good spiritual food ready to devour as God intensifies the hunger in my life? How does one become spiritually hungry? I have some thoughts! I wonder what your thoughts are on this! In my experience, I have found that my hunger for God has increased as I drew nearer to him. God bless you Karen.

    1. I think you are right on track with your assessment. King David discovered that as well. He writes in Psalm 63, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, … I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” Notice that, he is fully satisfied but yet thirsts for more of God. I think that’s exactly what we experience as well. Experiencing more of God will in turn produce more desire. Thanks Ade!

  10. Love it. So many times we reach for those “spiritual twinkies” (love the term, btw), yet the real satisfaction and nourishment comes from grounded time with God. And how truly abundantly satisfying that is! Your analogies are on point, as usual, Karen!

  11. Hi Karen, THAT IS A GREAT ANALOGY! I am constantly aware of what I eat only in that I eat so badly and want to lose weight, and swing from one extreme to the next and to line it up so well, with our spiritual hunger and cravings, shoo…. really puts what I eat (or what I shouldn’t eat) into perspective. I certainly feed my soul a lot of drivel a lot of the time, rubbish TV, emotional hang-ups, wow, this analogy has really got me thinking….
    Great post Karen, truly
    God bless
    Tracy

    1. Thanks for reading, Tracy. I’ve been thinking about this since I wrote it too. Maybe God made the analogy work so well because it’s so true. We just want our aches to stop any way we can. But in reality, the only thing that satisfies is when we fill ourselves on the true “Bread of Life.” Blessings to you!

  12. So true, Karen. There is no fast food alternative to cultivating a deep relationship with Jesus. Time and attention are quite necessary…and yes, so filling! Glad to visit today from #coffeeforyourheart.

  13. Karen, I love how you find ways to glorify God and encourage readers to love Jesus through personal experiences in your lives. It’s always enlightening and encouraging to read your thought-provoking posts.
    This one was particularly meaningful to me on two counts. First, drinking in Jesus to satisfy my thirsty soul. Always refreshing and always satisfying.
    But second, girls softball played an important role in our family for years. Both of our daughters played throughout their tween and teen year. Both were very good players and made all-star teams the years they played. And we’ve traveled long distances for tournaments and sat in many hot bleachers during the hot months of summer. Thank you for reminding me of the blessing our experience was with girls’ softball and being fed by Jesus to satisfy my soul. Take care. And God bless. BTW, our girls’ all-star team placed second in a state tournament one year. What an adventure and what excitement!

    1. Thanks Steve. Sounds like you did a whole lot more softball than we do since ours is a small rec league and not anywhere near the demanding schedule of travel ball. But she likes it and being as big of a sports fan as I am, I certainly don’t mind sitting on bleachers cheering her on! Glad that you were encouraged! I do greatly appreciate your encouragement every time you stop by!

  14. Amen! “A meal of feasting on the richness of a deep relationship with Christ will be the only thing that fills the deep longings of the soul.” Appreciate the reminder!

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