As a mommy to young children, I put a great deal of effort into keeping my family healthy and fed. Every week, I select good foods that they will enjoy but that will help them grow and be strong. There is the timing of the food to consider, as well–eat too close to a meal and there are poor appetites; wait too long to eat and there are lethargic, grumpy people in the house. I like to think I do a fairly good job of managing my family’s nutritional needs. I had one of those moments this morning, though, when I realized I’ve been getting careless about myself. I was trying to play with my daughter before her nap, and I could barely keep my eyes open. True, some of the blame could go to the quality and quantity of sleep I’d had last night, but as I felt a small rumble in my stomach, the light bulb turned on–I was hungry!
Everyone has the right to call me a fool at this point, to say I’d been blind to my body’s needs and signals. I have to say, to my credit, I tend to not get those typical hunger signals right away. Instead, I get droopy and cranky and tired first, and instead of thinking I need a snack, my thoughts turn to sleeping as the solution. Either way, one would think I’d be a little more self-aware now that I’m halfway through my 30’s!
As ridiculous as it may sound to miss my own hunger signals and get into that shaky, frantic, edgy state, does this not happen on a spiritual level in our lives as well? For those of you who are looking to Jesus in your daily life as I am, you know what I mean. Maybe we start to feel hopeless, angry, selfish, lazy, greedy, or a little bit of each of those, plus others! When I start to see these attitudes in my life, I know that I’ve not been nourishing my heart and mind. I’ve become spiritually hungry, and where there is emptiness, countless things of no value try to fill in the gaps. Just like in our physical bodies, if we do not nourish ourselves with good food, different parts and functions will start to slow down and eventually shut down. If we do not nourish our hearts with the “good food” of truth, prayer, and praise to God, we will fail to carry out our main purpose, that is, to serve and worship God in everything. Our lives will not show love, forgiveness, generosity, kindness, patience, self-control, peace, or joy.
I’m clearly not the quickest learner. Nourishing my physical body as well as my spiritual heart seem to be pretty elementary things, yet there I was this morning trying to give my best to my daughter when both of those tanks were nearing empty! I didn’t stand a chance; I’d essentially shot myself in the foot. Even as I type, I’m filling up my stomach with good, healthy, tasty food. It feels good to have more strength and a clearer mind. When I sit down to pray, or read something that reminds me of Jesus’ love, or sing a song of praise, my heart will enjoy the same effects. When nourishment is so readily available in both senses, we are fools to forget or neglect our hunger! May we all fill up with good things today.