It’s no surprise that gyms are full of new signees in January, that Weight Watcher memberships rise, and that diet products of every description fly off the grocery shelves once New Year’s Day comes to a close. It makes sense. After a summer of backyard barbecues and homemade ice cream, we sail into fall with its tailgating, Saturday football watching/munching marathons, bags of Halloween candy, Thanksgiving tables that groan under the weight and then round after round of Christmas parties that just wouldn’t be “right” without all of the casseroles, candies, pies and cakes. Throw in the constant stream of restaurant meals serving single portions large enough for 3 people, and the shocking act of stepping on the scales on January 2nd is a horrifying experience.
Our doctors look at us with dismay, and our clothes pop buttons and beg us to buy a bigger size. We claim that “it’s cold and a good day to hang out in sweat pants,” but truthfully, we hang out in those sweat pants whether it’s cold or not, because they’re baggy and have an elastic waist. Some of us view food as our emotional fixer. When we’re depressed, we eat. When we’re worried, we eat. When we’re bored, we eat. When we’re happy, we eat. “Let’s go out and celebrate!” Right? We don’t like to be hungry or thirsty or feel deprived in any way.
Yet, I think there is clear indication in the Bible that we NEED to feel more times of true hunger and thirst in our lives. No, not the kind suffered by starving people during times of famine or the pitiful scenarios of desperate refugees in makeshift camps. That’s just almost more than we can endure, right? But, maybe that desperateness is something we really DO need to feel, especially if it is a desperation and craving for more of God.
The Psalmist understood. Psalm 63:1 – “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.” And Psalm 42:2 “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?” That yearning is so very important to our growth as His children, to understanding Him and His ways more completely, for learning to trust in His plans for our lives, and for truly grasping what He desires for us and from us.
We have a promise straight from the mouth of Jesus in John 6:35: “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” And another indication of what He wants us to thirst and hunger for (rather than rich, unhealthy food) is in Matthew 5:6 is: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
And another tidbit my daughter Laura pointed out to me this morning in Hebrews 13:9: “. . . for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods . . .”
As we all renew our commitment to make healthier choices in this coming year, will you join me in seeking to earnestly hunger and thirst for more of God and less of what TV commercials and restaurant menus would have us believe we simply must have? Shall we substitute cravings for fatty foods and sweet tea for more time with Him? We’ve spoiled ourselves rotten far too long. This won’t be easy. But the Bible promises that coming to Him will satisfy our deep-down hunger and thirst.
P.S. I am a travel writer. I write restaurant reviews. Gulp. Hold me accountable. I can taste something without consuming “all of it” and 10,000 calories in the process. Right? I can share with Steve and bring home doggie bags. Right? Food (like money) is not inherently evil. It’s the overboard consumption and LOVE of food that’s the killer. I never said all of this would be easy. Thus, the purpose of today’s blog. To remind myself of how God wants to direct my own hunger and thirst. Just being transparent in my blog today. Progress reports to come.