The holiday season marks the onset of endless spreads of delicious desserts, tasty munchies, and of course the tiny voice inside granting permission to cast off restraint and indulge. Even though holidays only come around a few times a year, unfortunately my desire to “overdo it” can be a daily battle. The brightly colored snack packages on the shelf call to me between laundry loads, tending baby, and kitchen cleanup. I have found that whether I’ve had a few too many treats during a holiday party or I’ve munched and crunched my way through my snack cupboard, the feeling is generally the same. I may feel full, but I’m not necessarily satisfied. And usually there’s a little feeling of regret in the pit of my stomach.
Though a few goodies may not be inherently wrong, we all remember the food pyramid from childhood instructing us to heed the necessity of hearty helpings of vegetables, fruits, and protein. Though we all know what we should do, it can be so difficult to follow through on that knowledge. Why does it feel so impossible? The sweet sugar and carbs taste so much better in the moment. But if I’ve indulged, what generally happens when it’s time to eat the main meal? I’m really not hungry anymore. I’m already filled with so many other things.
Could this be true in our own lives as well? We live in an age where there are so many things with which we can fill ourselves. Social media offers a “snack” to fill the need to “connect” or feel good in the moment. Have we filled these urges with a quick fix and through time tried to sustain ourselves? That habit—click, swipe, post, check, check again—weaves itself through most of our daily events. And though posting a picture, scrolling a news feed, or swiping through all the latest ways to “make our lives better” may not be inherently wrong, munching on these things continuously cannot sustain and satisfy us.
Could it be that many of us have done this for so long we don’t even realize we are malnourished? We notice we aren’t that hungry for God’s word or his presence and wonder why. We know we should spend time with him and in his word, but we just don’t feel like it.
So where do we go from here?
Maybe it’s time to take an inventory of the our soul’s “snack” shelf. What are we munching on? Is our phone’s content the first thing we fill up with as we get out of bed in the morning? Where are we going to find nourishment throughout the day?
Isaiah 55:2 (ESV) says, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”
We can affect and even change what we hunger for by making small consistent choices throughout our day. Pastor Peter Haas from Substance Church explains that we will “hunger for that which we feed on.” Maybe when we get out of bed in the morning, we make a point to focus on Jesus before we grab the phone. Or maybe we set aside intentional time to close our devices and open God’s Word.
In Confessions, Saint Augustine wrote, “Our hearts are restless unless they rest in you.” While we are in the holiday season, let it be a time not just to indulge in what temporarily fills us but an opportunity to set our hearts on the One who will truly satisfy our souls.