Food, Hunger, and God

Satisfy: to gratify the expectations, needs or desires of. To fulfill a need or desire. To free from doubt or question.

As a recovered anorexic and bulimic, I pay attention to my body in order to live a healthy lifestyle without struggle or relapse. I take care of my emotional and spiritual health so I don’t use unhealthy behaviors to satisfy longings in my spirit when things are out of whack. Hunger, food, and physical activity need to be kept in delicate balance in my life.  Therefore, I listen to my body.

Macro of bamboo fountainOne side affect of being bulimic for many years is excessive thirst. When I’m not hydrated properly with water and other life-giving fluids, thirst distracts me from tasks at hand. I crave water and am not satisfied until I receive the replenishment it gives me.

That thirst is satisfied only with good things.

It’s the same with food. I eat minimal fried or processed foods and my body receives that well. Over the holidays, it’s harder to eat pristinely when eating out more and attending gatherings with a plethora of fat-induced foods. The other night I felt sick to my stomach from eating foods I normally stay away from. I was full but not satisfied.

Unwholesome foods did not satisfy, though they looked and tasted fabulous.

I’ve thought about our spiritual condition recently in instances of being thirsty and full with food, but not satisfied. How often are we hungry and thirsty for God but replace it with other things that aren’t good for us? We get our fill of them, but they don’t satisfy.

What do you satisfy your emotional and spiritual hungers with? For a period in my life it was food. Is it relationships? Success? Your partner? Control? Your kids? Material things? Technology? Beauty? Sports? A good reputation? Jobs well done? Enabling others? Food? Alcohol? Sex? Self-harm? Medication?

In my quest to live a healthy life physically, spiritually and emotionally, I’ve learned only an imitate relationship with the God who knows everything about me satisfies. Psalm 103 says He satisfies our desires with good things. I know this. He has taken the inner parts of my life and has filled them with himself in ways that draws me back to Him, His word, and His presence.

Nothing compares to Him and the way He satisfies.

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This hasn’t happened overnight. It took years of slowly releasing things to Him. But as I’ve traded insecurity, selfishness, fear and hurt with trust and obedience, old patterns have become like a Diet Coke to a parched mouth.

As much as it momentarily satisfies, it doesn’t quench, doesn’t replenish, doesn’t satisfy.

As you take time to reflect this holiday season, and approach a new year, will you reflect on your present hunger for God? Are there things in your life that satisfy more than Him? What do you run to when you are needy? What do you fill your mind, body, and spirit with that pulls you away from the goodness God wants to satisfy you with?

Receive this element of God’s character today as His gift to you. He wants to satisfy your soul with good things.

Try it. You’ll like it.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5 NIV

5 comments

  1. Amen..this was my prayer over my adult children this morning…I am seeing some of them fill their thirst in wrong ways. As I read to Benjamin Ps 23 this morning and about shepherds, it focused on the good shepherd leading us to clean clear water, yet we will stop and eat from the dirty water. I pray that my family and I will thirst for His water that fulfills us and not the water the world presents.

  2. Beautiful Psalm and reminder to be satisfied with Him this season. I wonder how many of us satisfy a longing and emptiness with stuff and busyness. It’s such an easy trap this time of year, especially when aches and loneliness seem more acute. Thanks for the great post!

  3. This is an excellent thought-provoking post and I’m so grateful I found and read it. My prayers and encouragement are with you as you are overcoming your addiction. With God’s help you’ll conquer mountains!

    I pray you don’t mind some unsolicited advice, but as a nutritionist, I posted and advised my blog followers and patients to stay away from the Splenda and artificial sweeteners. It does change your body’s chemistry for the worse and I know you want to honor God with your body. But sitting over coffee that is what I’d share with a Christian sister. God bless you in yor Christian walk.

    • Ellie,

      Thank you for your kind words and for the ministry you have in helping people honor God with their bodies. It has been a twenty-year journey for me in balancing choices I make with every day with food. Thank you for your suggestions and input.

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