I’m starving, but my belly is full. Have you ever felt that way? It’s a familiar pang I feel at the end of the holidays, because, truth be told, I tend to ration the good food so I’ll have enough “room” for dessert.
And then I eat dessert for breakfast. I have to polish it off right? Pecan pie has been my breakfast of choice for a week.
At some point, my body starts to feel it–in sluggishness, fatigue, the endless addiction to return to the leftover cookies and fudge. But soon I learn it doesn’t satisfy. I have to change my eating habits to get on a healthier track and feel more like myself again.
I’ve also realized this whole “full but starving” scenario has been the case in my spiritual life as well.
It all started the day after Thanksgiving, when I had to move my comfy chair to a place that didn’t have a lamp. My comfy chair is where I have my quiet time each morning–where I read my Bible, study, journal, and pray. But when I moved my comfy chair to make room for the Christmas tree, I didn’t have room for a lamp beside it. I wouldn’t turn on the overhead lights because that might wake the kids up prematurely.
So instead, I abandoned my Bible reading, study, and journaling, in favor of three devotionals each day–each that I could read from my tablet so the kids could continue snoozing late on these dark winter mornings.
I was eating spiritually, of course. Two of these three devotionals I have been doing all year. One starts off with a Bible verse. The other has me reading a short passage, which I also read on my tablet, before the devotional. Both have been great for me throughout the year as a primer for my Bible reading. But they were more like appetizers.
I realized devotionals are great for appetizers or desserts, but when they’re substituted for the main meal of the Word itself, I end up spiritually starving.
I am meant to study the Bible, just God, me, and His Word. It doesn’t have to be long study, or even a long passage. But it needs to be focused. Focused study of God’s Word is the place where He meets me, time and again.
Just like a great appetizer might hit the spot on occasion, there are times when someone’s words give me exactly what I need to hear. But more often than not, drawing near to God happens most frequently – and most preciously – when it’s just God, His Word, and me.
I still enjoy devotionals, and I still use them. But they’ll have their rightful place – as appetizers and desserts. Not the main course.
Now that the Christmas parties are over, I can start managing my food intake a little better (once I finish off that pecan pie!). And since I took down the Christmas tree and moved my comfy chair back near my lamp, I can resume my study of Acts. I look forward to a healthier New Year – in body and spirit.