Sunday, February 3, 2013

How to feed a soul

It is so hot here in South Africa that mostly all I can do when I get home at night is change into light clothing, turn the fan directly on me and lay as still as possible, waiting for the cool of night.

It's too hot to even move, let alone turn on an oven and cook. So most of my eating consists of half-melted protein bars and pre-packaged junk food which, when I am rational and sane, I swear I would never eat. 

But hunger and laziness and the heat make us do funny things. 

I've been thinking lately that it is the same with our soul. Sometimes our soul gets dry and empty and hungry. In the absence of beauty and goodness and truth, it begins to crave other things, unhealthy things, things that in our right mind we would disregard as rubbish.

I suppose the junk food of our soul, like that of our stomachs, varies per person. We all know our personal favorite guilty pleasures. Those things we make excuses for when our hunger begins to speak louder than our convictions. I am not talking about the really bad things, although I know your mind is going there. Junk food isn't all bad. Sometimes it's just listening to that music we know makes us depressed, reading books and magazines that waste our minds rather than inspire them, feeding our soul with lesser things, small things. Succumbing to the lazy cries of our tired and empty souls, we can resort to any number of junk foods that serve to drag us further into discontent, indulge our emotions, and give us the type of pleasure that, like a sugar high, fills us for a moment and then leaves us oh so hungry for more.

I think most of the evil in this world can be chalked up not to bad intentions but to hungry souls, souls hungry for power, for acceptance, for something or someone they can't have, for selfish things which only contented and satisfied souls have the strength and reason to deny.
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." - Philippians 4:8
The only antidote for a hungry soul, I believe, is to feed it with good things, noble things, true things. For me, that is a good book by a hero of the faith, a moment to linger at a beautiful view, an encouraging song first thing in the morning when I don't want to get out of bed, time spent with good friends in the type of conversation that stimulates my intellect and stirs my soul to aspire to excellence, a good long run at sunset, an hour behind the piano, and time cultivating those talents which my daily job doesn't always afford me the opportunity to develop. 

It's views like this one that feed my soul. How can you sit and stare at that without wondering at the beauty and the heart of this great Creator God who lives in us? 

Sometimes it's not a view. Sometimes it's something simple like a cup of coffee with good friends.

Maybe it's a hug from the chubby arms of a little person who loves me. 

And sometimes it's just stopping in the midst of all the day-to-day chaos of my job to soak in the wonder of where I am, the privilege of what God has asked me to do, and the amazing gift of the people He has placed in my life. 

What is your favorite soul food, dear reader?

*Pics by Dony Sang Dan Lee :)

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