Posted by: karanoel | February 15, 2020

Oh to be satisfied

When I was in my 20’s, I had the privilege of spending six months in Central and South America with a group called Youth With a Mission. I toted along my then-four-year-old son, Cole, and lived, learned and served with a group of other young folks from several different states and countries. Rita, who hailed from Colorado and was the only other mom in the group (one brave enough to bring a toddler and three-month-old on our adventure), quickly became a close and lasting friend. Her humor entertained me nonstop and her loyalty made me feel secure. [Except, perhaps, for the night she pushed me toward the alligator lurking on the swampy hotel grounds to save herself. Fortunately it turned out to be a statue, but I made a mental note to avoid wild animals in her company – or to be quicker on the draw, and no damage was done to the friendship.]

One day, when I verbalized an intense craving for fruit, it became clear how well Rita had come to know me. She looked me in the eyes and said “Kara, you’re thirsty. Drink some water.” Apparently, I had regularly tried to quench my thirst by eating fruit. Probably because I like to eat. It’s more fun than drinking. And also probably because my body and I have always had issues communicating with each other, making it extremely difficult for me to identify actual needs and offer relevant solutions. We are still working out the kinks. Anyway, Rita perceived what I couldn’t. Per her suggestion, I drank and was satisfied…. far more than I would have been with the moisture squeezed out of some cantaloupe.

waterIn addition to the misunderstandings I’ve had with my body, I have also been known to misinterpret emotional needs as physical ones. This explains my misguided choices to put things in my body – food, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, etc. – to make myself feel better… without much success, as you might imagine, because emotional needs cannot be met with physical solutions. I’ve had similar results with my attempts to control or distract my way into feeling better, once again misunderstanding what would meet the actual need.

With the Holy Spirit acting as my Rita, I have been getting better at identifying and addressing these things. I am trying to make sure my body has food when it’s hungry and water when it’s thirsty (Rita would be so proud!). I have been earnestly acknowledging my emotions, bringing them to the Lord and trusted friends, getting feedback and prayer as needed. I’ve even scheduled a counseling appointment to make sure that this process is moving forward in a healthy way. And since the soul is comprised of the mind and will in addition to emotions, I have been continuing to take thoughts captive that don’t line up with what God says is true and to humble myself before Him by yielding my (very strong) will.

And yet, I’ve been hungry lately. A restless, insatiable kind of hunger that is not responding to the physical or soul-related solutions I’ve proffered. This is, I believe, because it’s a spiritual need; one that can only be satisfied with a spiritual solution. I got a clue to this in a book called Becoming Mama, given to me by my dear friend, Sue. The author, Yvrose, ends up finding a very apparent and deep satisfaction in the most unlikely of places (poverty-stricken Haiti) and the most unlikely of roles (as a mom to 30+ adopted children, founder of multiple schools for local children and all-around helper for people in need). The satisfaction came because she sought, found and followed God’s will for her life. It was the only thing that could fulfill her spiritual hunger… a hunger that trumped all others.

When the disciples tried to give a hungry, tired Jesus some food, He said “My food is to do what the one who sent me wants me to do and to finish the work he has given me.” That is the kind of food I need right now. I haven’t always felt this hunger or maybe just didn’t recognize it since all my appetites were such a jumble, but it’s now starting to gnaw at my belly. So I’m seeking, knowing that I’ll find God as I do. He promises this. And in finding who He is, I always find more of who I am. Wrapped up in this relational connectedness, driven by need and desire, a “becoming” happens. Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. Simon became Peter. Yvrose became Mama. And from this becoming, born of the Spirit, purpose emerges. Like stirrings of a rumbling tummy that demand to be satisfied, this spiritual hunger will continue until is produces something of eternal value. And I’m pretty sure we can never be fully satisfied until it does.

I’m not talking about searching for significance – yuck to that – or any level of striving. I’m talking about a simple response to spiritual hunger by feeding on spiritual food… spending time with the Lord, talking with Him and hearing His heart, filling up on His truth; letting Him lead us forward. We can thank God for our hunger and thirst because, much like a baby’s cry, they provoke a response to satisfy needs that will cause us to thrive and grow into the fullness of what we’ve been created for. We may worry that He will ask us to do something impossible like move to Haiti and adopt dozens of children or just give up the comfort we are clinging to (is that just me?), but assurance is growing every day that He can and will bridge the gap between our fear and limitations and the amazing plans He has for us. Nothing less will satisfy because it’s what we were made for.

So I’m pressing in and joining the many who have gone before me. If you’re not already on this journey, I warmly invite you to come. Let’s feast together on His goodness and “do the good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10)

A couple questions to leave with you: Has there been any confusion in the way you are identifying or addressing your needs? Is it possible that a hunger you haven’t been able to satisfy is a spiritual need gnawing inside, beckoning you to come and feast?

Food

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live. Isaiah 55:1-3

If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:37

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. John 7:7-8


Responses

  1. I enjoyed this post immensely. Wonderfully expressed in such an engaging way, easy to understand and digest. Blessings to you, Kara!

    • Thank you Jennifer! Can’t tell you how much encouragement and truth I‘m getting from your blog.

      • Aw, I’m SO very glad, Kara! That puts a smile on my face and Holy Spirit joy in my heart. Much love to you, my sister! ❤

  2. […] light of my recent post about waiting for our potential puppy, as well as another about trying to satisfy a need with an ill-fitting solution, I’d like to share a story from a […]


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