Recently I was convicted in the area of making time for daily Bible study and prayer. As Christians, most of us claim to desire this daily 'quiet time'. I even posted about a practical way I try to get mine. I'm sure you pray and read the Word daily. So why do I have so much trouble keeping up with it?
I began to think about all the other things I do in my day. There are certain things I always do I always dress my kids. I always change diapers. And I never, ever skip eating. I often plan my day around it. You'll never hear me say, "Ya know, today was really hectic and I just don't think I have the time or energy to feed my family tonight." I always make time. Even if I truly don't have time to cook, I make sure we eat. Leftovers and drive-thrus aren't nearly as satisfying but they'll do the trick.
Why then, if I can place such importance on feeding my body, do I ignore the food my soul craves?
You might say, "It's easy to remember to eat! Your body tells you when it's hungry. It's hard to ignore a growling stomach. Plus if you don't eat you'll feel sick and weak." Yes. And trust me, 5 hungry kids aren't going to let you forget it.
But doesn't my soul hunger for the things of God? Then why doesn't my soul cramp and complain when it doesn't get fed?
Have you ever seen documentaries or infomercials about starving children in Africa or South America? Those children haven't had enough to eat for weeks or months. Their eyes are sunken, their cheeks hollow, their bellies distended. They stand or sit without moving much; they have no energy. They are clearly malnourished. What they are not is demanding or insistent. They have become so accustomed to their hunger that it is no longer a sharp pain three times a day. It's a constant, dull ache that has become so familiar to them they no longer heed it's voice. They eat when food happens along but they have learned that no amount of asking, pleading or tears will make food appear, so they've given up.
Our souls are like that, I think. They long for the nourishment of an intimate, familiar, converastional relationship with a living God. But when they're denied long enough, they stop crying out. They sit, still and silent, cheeks hollow and limbs lifeless, just waiting for whatever food might happen by.
I can shut up my healthy soul, too. When it does cry out within me, I can feed it food that doesn't satisfy, but quiet it for a while. When my kids are bugging me for dinner and it'll still be a while, sometimes I give them a snack. In my house it's usually fruit, but it could easily be Cheetos or fruit snacks. Foods that fill the mouth but not the stomach, that don't do our bodies any actual good. These snack foods keep my kids quiet long enough for me to get dinner on the table, but they don't satisfy.
I can feed my soul this way, too. When I'm feeling lonely I can turn to Facebook. When I'm depressed I can watch TV. When I'm confused or angry or need guidance I can talk to friends or play online games or read books. None of these things is bad in itself, but none of these things satisfy like time with the Lord. They only distract me from my need.
So I'm making a change. I'm putting my God at the top of my priorities, not just in word but in deed. If the dishes don't get washed, so be it. If I miss out on my 'personal time' blogging or reading, I'll just have to learn to live with that. Because my beautiful, compelling, wise, affectionate friend, Jesus is inviting me to spend some time with Him. And I'm not going to turn down that invitation.