Thanksgiving and Christmas are the times of the year that we might we joke about overeating and getting stuffed on turkey, hams, and pies. While it is a festive time of year with all the lights, colors, presents, gatherings, music, and let’s be honest “baby Yoda” on Disney +’s Mandalorian there is still a large population of people struggling with depression.
This is usually due to feeling empty on the inside. When our stomachs are empty and we need energy, we eat….sometimes a little too much. Just like our stomach, our souls need to be feed, but not just on anything, but something wholesome and good. I’m not going to blame videogames, Netflix and social media for all of our problems, but just like our stomachs, we can’t live on Pepsi and Ice-cream alone. So how do we fill our soul? Below are 6 ways to feed your soul during this season.
Not really trying to hit you over the head or guilt your about eating. Fasting does not simply mean giving up food. Today we might fast from social media, television, or other distracting activities. The goal of fasting is to clear out space and set a feeling of expectation. We set aside distractions or other things in expectation that God will speak a sense of nourishment and satisfaction into us. It’s hard to hit a target if we keep allowing things to get in the way.
Fasting and prayer may sound intimidating to many. And while fasting is meant to be a bit more of a challenge, prayer is not. Prayer is simply speaking to and listening to God. It could take the form of an internal conversation. This is also most that requesting stuff. God is not some cosmic vending machine to grant every order you plugin. Sure God wants to know your heart’s desires, but He also wants your praise. He wants a relationship with you, and like every relationship, you should listen to what the other has to say.
The theologian John Wesley, said, “all who desire the grace of God are to wait for it in searching the Scriptures.” What Wesley means is learning about and experiencing God’s greatness is in the stories of the Bible. The Bible is God’s history, and love letters to us. It reveals himself to us. Reading the Bible brings us into contact with God’s story. His life! Reading other spiritually-based books provides nourishment for the soul, too. Just in general, reading more is just overall good for you, so take time to even read some of your favorite fiction stories.
Serving others like visiting prisons and hospitals, feeding the hungry, and standing up for the oppressed, and other such works, uplift our souls. Identify the needs around you and look for a way in which you can interrupt the cycles of brokenness. You feel you when you do good things for those who can never repay the kindness. Many churches and organizations have a lot of opportunities to serve others, but you can also help out with the Red Cross, your local food bank, or Salvation Army are a few needing help this time of the year.
We complain that, at times, people around us drain our souls dry. Yes, there are drainers, but in reality, people feed our souls even more. In gathering with others we get inspired by their stories and in witnessing the acts of God in their lives. Their ideas shine a light and provide nourishment for our own souls. We are especially affected by others when we join them in some of the above-mentioned activities. Give it a try! If you need some help finding some people to connect with, check out http://www.churchfinder.com.
We are always in a rush to get to one place or another, or bouncing from task to task. This is daunting on the soul. While the other things on the list are things you can consume, slowing down is more about the pace of how you consume. The theologian Dallas Willard once said, “You need to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” The about things on this list are really good, but if you are not slowing things down and trying to cram these into the mix of your already busy life, you will crash. Take little steps and you will see big results.
Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with a little snack or seeing what Baby Yoda and Mando will do next. But it is in moderations that we must enjoy these, and not while sacrificing a relationship with God and others.
Help us to slow down and experience your presence. Help us to draw closer to you, to speak to you and study your word. Help us to gather with other believers during this season and every season in our lives. Teach us how to be the hands and feet for your kingdom. Let us share your wonderful story, with so many people.
We ask of this in your Son Jesus’ name