Heavenly Hunger & Spiritual Lessons

IMG_2630 I’ve learned this lesson many times: Heavenly hunger is different from physical hunger. But this is a spiritual lesson, and I feel like those (lessons about God) are kind of unique. Why is it that we only have to learn the same lesson once, or maybe twice if we’re hard-headed… but when it comes to lessons from and about God specifically, about heavenly things, we sometimes learn the lesson a dozen times without it ever sticking? Why is it so easy to forget?

For Example:

  • We’ve all learned not to touch fire/stoves. You either took your parents’ word for it, or you had to touch it a couple times to see for yourself how dangerous it is, but after that, you never purposefully do it again. Such is the nature of physical lessons.
  • On the other hand, in the Old Testament we see the Jews utterly amazed at God’s power. Yet some time later, they just forget. Again and again God shows them miracles and wonders, and we read it and ask ourselves how anyone could ever doubt after seeing the things those people saw. The parting of the Red Sea? Hello?! Spiritual lessons just don’t seem to stick!

And I do the same thing in my own life. Again and again I learn how much peace and joy increase when I’m walking closely with God, and again and again I forget and let that relationship be neglected.

Hunger

Hungering after God is very different than hungering physically (after food).

I had a low-calorie day on Monday. I do that sometimes to either make up for some high calorie days or to try to trick my body into moving past a plateau in my weight-loss. It was a struggle on Monday, as it usually is, because the less I eat, the more I crave food! When I don’t eat, I get HUNGRY.

Besides physical hunger, there’s another kind. But hungering after God is not the same. It isn’t triggered as much by distance from God. When you haven’t read your Bible recently, you don’t have increasing hunger pangs as the days pass. Actually, you have fewer. Unlike physical hunger, this kind of hunger seems to decrease when you abstain. In fact, you have more hunger pangs when you’re consuming the spiritual things that you hunger after.

When you’re praying every day, you long for more time – more closeness – more of God. The hunger is greatest when you’re indulging, rather than when abstaining.

Don’t Eat Till You’re Hungry

It’s a shame how I sabotage my relationship with God sometimes by saying “I don’t feel like… (fill in the blank).”  Reading my Bible. Praying. Basically, I’m saying, “I’m not hungry right now.” I forget what I’ve learned over and over through the years – which is that often the hunger isn’t there until I start eating.

Don’t eat until you feel hungry may work for your body, but it won’t work for your spirit. So I guess I just want to encourage myself and others to remember. (And believe me, sometimes remembering requires a lot of effort.)

There are so many reasons to keep up your close relationship with your Lord. First and foremost, he loves you, and he longs to have you close. Secondly, when you’re faithful, blessings come. Third, peace and comfort and joy come from that close walk with God.

There are many things that can come between us and the Lord. Distractions, responsibilities… lack of hunger. Don’t let them. Force yourself to remember, and enjoy the benefits of that loving relationship. The hunger will come, but don’t wait for it. Don’t wait to “feel like it.”

The Other Big D

Depression

Every time I come up against bloggers-block (ha :P) it’s because there is something on my heart that I feel I can’t share, for whatever reason. I usually start blogging again when I realize that the best way past it is to blog about it, and afterwards I’m able to move on to other topics. So I’m going to try that now.

I tell myself, privately, that my struggle with depression will one day be a great testimony for the Lord. How he brought me through. Once I finally reach the other side. And, in the meantime, I tell myself, it must be secret. I have to push through on God’s strength, keep quiet, and one day I’ll be able to look back on these times and explain to others how God brought me through.

And you’re reading that, going, “Michy, that’s dumb. That’s not how it should work.” And I’d agree with you.

Why do I feel the need to keep my struggles secret? It’s not for God’s glory. It doesn’t make God appear any stronger or do anything to prove his power. It neither helps me nor does it help my friends. It’s pride. If I’m honest, the only reason for my secrecy is that I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed that I’m weak, that I struggle, that I have a problem that my friends don’t have, and I hide it to protect myself, pride-fully trying to appear unflawed.

The other option is, of course, to open up and let my loved ones in – to help, to listen, or even just to pray. I would have to trust God enough to be vulnerable, to humbly admit that I’m not Super Michy. Just Michy. And that definitely goes against the grain.

Some Truths

IMG_2331So here’s the truth. I cry more than … anyone. I cry more than anyone should, more than anyone else does, as far as I can tell. I get depressed, and miserable, and it makes me feel utterly alone. Because I know that there is no way anyone else can understand. I know that really, only God can truly be there with me – understand me – and I feel alone. I feel helpless to explain, and I usually don’t even bother.

In fact, I usually scoff at people who ask “What’s wrong?” I decide that they don’t have, or care to have, the next twelve hours free for me to really make myself understood. And it seems so meaningless to just say I’m sad. I’m depressed. I’m going through some stuff. I’m having a hard time. Those phrases don’t even BEGIN to cover it, and even if they did, someone would then ask me, “Why?” A million reasons! I can list a handful off the top of my head, but to you they will seem like nothing, and the truth is, they are nothing. Except that they are piled on top of a lifetime of other STUFF and they are viewed through my messed-up, depressed mind.

And the truth is I hate that I’m depressed. I see myself as weak and lazy when my depression interferes with my life, and I tend to feel like I need to protect myself from being seen that way by others. So act strong. Get mad, not sad. Crying is weakness. Smile. Pretend. Be there for others, but never make them be there for you. Because chances are they’ll fail, or even if they don’t, they won’t be ENOUGH.

Best not to try. And best not to be a burden, because if you are a burden you’re likely not to have ANY friends.

This is why I feel unknown: I don’t let anyone know me. I might as well tell God that He made me wrong. He shouldn’t have given me this flaw. It’s ugly; it’s meant to be hidden.

And as I try to hide, I lose something. I grow hard and harsh and lose my inner beauty and gentleness and… I can’t be genuine with people. And without that genuineness and openness, my relationships become shallow. I wonder if my impact on people, on the world… how different would it be if I were open? Vulnerable? Would people see God more clearly? Would they feel love more fully? Would my words and actions be more meaningful?

The truth is, I live with the chronic pain of depression. I struggle THROUGH it, constantly. And God helps me. He’s with me every moment, he gets me through each day. He’s the reason I don’t become self-destructive, the reason I can still love others, the reason I can still find joy (sometimes). I think my friends deserve to know that NOW. Because who knows if there ever will be an “other side” that I’ll reach, where it won’t hurt so much? If I keep waiting for that, I may never get to share my testimony.

Just some thoughts…