Last week, I took part in celebrating Thanksgiving, a United States national holiday. Essentially, people use this day to spend time with loved ones and give gratitude for anything and everything in their lives. It’s not exactly how the holiday or tradition came into fruition, but that’s how it is viewed in the recent past. One common tradition you will see from house to house is the crazy amounts of food that is served for, what is known as, Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie, and so many other items are served.
On a side note, I learned that Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. It’s also celebrated very similarly.
So, after spending time with family and eating all of that food, I can only guarantee you one thing; I could not stuff one more ounce of food inside my stomach. You don’t realize how much junk and fatty food there is in this Holiday until you’re at the dinner table. This is definitely a reason to want to start a diet, right? In my situation, I could have opted in for something other than dessert and could have felt much better eating a salad or a simple glass of water.
I was mentioning this to a co-worker and she told me she had a similar experience, but not because she ate too much. She became ill a few days prior to the feast and any sight of food made her sick. Regardless of whether it was stuffing, pie, or a salad, it would make her very distasteful for the food.
It is really interesting that those are the two reasons that can hold you from eating anything nutritious. We become sick or begin snacking on anything else that isn’t a salad or a healthy side.
Mental and Spiritual
One of the things I have always kept at the back of my mind is how prioritization works in my life. I wake up some days feeling very motivated to start the day reading, writing, or doing something similarly productive. According to how my day goes, I feel a sense of accomplishment and will reward myself with a proper dessert, such as play video games or watching my favorite show.
On the other hand, when I don’t discipline myself, I notice that everything begins to crumble in my hands. If I wake up and the first thing I do is scroll through emails or social media, I don’t get out of bed for a while. I, then, get up and begin doing a few tasks, only to find myself out of time. I have to go to work or run some errands and nothing crucial or important gets done that day.
This morning I realized how the example of food fits in perfectly with the other aspects of life. Filling ourselves with the mental and spiritual junk like the food in Thanksgiving keeps us from wanting to fill ourselves with anything nutritious. Our motivation to read goes down the drain when all we want to do is binge a show on Netflix or watch the next recommended YouTube video. The passion to seek good things is blurred because we are full of everything else.
Displacement of God
You heard it everywhere, but I will remind you, again. You and I were created by God to have a relationship with God. There is a reason as to why we can’t have this fellowship and relationship with God: we have our life filled with a relationship with/to something else. Our appetites become dull when we continue to fill our lives with the mental and spiritual junk food.
I have been guilty of being full with other things when Jesus lays a banquet of His presence before me. Being in this state causes many troubling thoughts. The view we have for godly things and God, Himself, becomes twisted and stretched from the truth. And this happens to all of us. It is easy to get consumed (or consume) by the mundane day-to-day things like school, work, a sick relative, etc. Even if we have faith, we lose focus of who God really is. We begin to believe that He isn’t who He says He is.
We can read in the Psalms an example of losing sight and focus on God. David cries out to God to show him how to relinquish the junk in his life. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me…and see if there is any wicked way in me (Ps. 139:23).” It’s the realization and the want for change that is needed before anything else. The request and fulfillment will only follow the appetite.
When we eat, many of us make the mistake of filling up on junk food. It satisfies us very quickly, but the consequences precede. It is expected that a parent will feed their children an entrée that includes vegetables or something “healthy”. The children will hate it. They want to grub on the ice cream in the fridge before anything else and thus taking away their appetite from what is considered to be good.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15-17).”
We must realize that only God can satisfy us. No matter what else we try to substitute Him for, it will only bring passing pleasure and instant gratification. You could familiarize yourself with the initial days of knowing God as the honeymoon phase. The wonderful and spirit-filled honeymoon phase will pass, but he will always remain loyal to you no matter how you feel. It’s up to us to determine how we will eat, thereafter. Whether it’s an annual date, such as Thanksgiving, or in your daily meals. Calories are everywhere. We need to determine how we will approach the process and prioritize.
Which calories will you chase? How are you going to fill your hunger? When your stomach grumbles, give it what it needs, not what it wants.
Don’t grow stale once you start building up your hunger for Him. We shouldn’t settle with failure.