I feel like there are different stages of hunger.
First you just desire something, but you tell yourself just to wait it out. You remember that you’ll get some nourishment soon enough.
But you get distracted and next thing you know you are hangry. You have disconnected from the happiness around you and just go internal. You dive head first into a downward spiral of hunger and frustration…that it becomes defeating mentally, morally, and physically.
Now if you have made it through the hangry stage you move onto a period where you just block out the pain. You try to tell yourself that everything is okay. You almost forget what you have been missing and fill that void of hunger, which is like a bottomless pit, with something else to occupy your thoughts for a while. Until you can’t take it anymore…
But I’m not talking about physical hunger, I’m talking about spiritual hunger.
About nine months ago I moved to my current home. I move about every year because of work, which doesn’t bother me to be honest. I like a change of scenery and exploring new places. But this time I’ve been missing a spiritual connection…I haven’t found a church.
Hunger Stage 1: When I first moved to the Bay Area I desired to find what I had in Southern California. I desired a church I could call my own again. I wanted to meet new people and gain a support network outside of work. I tried a few churches but nothing seemed to stick. I told myself to just wait…God will point me in a direction.
Hunger Stage 2: I ignored God’s requests for me to try again. I figured I didn’t need a group of people to practice my faith. I became set on trying this thing on my own. Heck I tried to tell myself I would just listen to sermons online and figure it out. Maybe this was His call for me to do self-discovery, to try it on my own. I reached that state of “hanger.” I was upset that I couldn’t get back into the groove spiritually. I felt an emptiness and a desire to just throw in the towel. To wait until next year when I am expected to move again. I pretended like everything was okay and I knew the tools to get by on my own. Heck open the bible, listen to a few sermons, and maybe throw on some gospel music and I’d be okay? Right?
Hunger Stage 3: Wrong. The more I tried to block out God’s calling me back to a church family the louder he cried out to me. I said it in my intro…I’m stubborn, it’s something I am trying to work on. But man did it hit me this morning on my run! I finally accepted that I can’t fulfill my hunger on my own.
If you feel like you’re in a spiritual rut try out these 5 practices to get you back to Him and into the Word:
1. Find a community. Since I am Christian this is very important for me. I am not seeking friendship or cordial kindness. I want to talk about the word of God and be challenged by those who desire the same path. I want to live a lifestyle that reflects how amazing God is.
2. Stop and listen. God is always trying to reach out to us! I have been reading Henry Miller’s Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch. I kept underlining quotes about community and prayer. It wasn’t until later when I was looking through my highlighting that I discovered a pattern. I was in need for some spiritual fulfillment.
3. Quit making excuses and get into the Bible. If you can make time to watch your favorite show, listen to a podcast, or workout…you can make time for reading a passage. Make reading the biblical text a priority. We can always say we will do it tomorrow, but start now. Write out a verse, or meditation for the week, on an index card and tape it to your dashboard or fridge.
4. Don’t be afraid to share your concerns with others. I was amazed to find out that a lot of my friends are also seeking to gain some sort of spiritual enlightenment. Although we may not have the same faith we are still open and honest. Find people who will support your journey and challenge you to learn more.
5. Pray! For lent I am giving up coffee. I have become somewhat dependent on coffee. In the morning it is a comfort to make a cup of coffee to start my day…or when I am frustrated a cup of coffee…when I am socializing, I’m getting a cup of coffee. You see the trend. So when I desire to have a cup of coffee I am going to use that as a signal for me to step back and pray to God.