Friday, July 18, 2014

Changing Our Cravings

(photo from Classroom 2.0)
What do you crave or cling to when stress, loneliness or hard times come your way?  Food?  Sleep?  Media?  Busyness?  Exercise? Or maybe even something else?   I often crave a nice cold glass of coke with lemon, a fluff book, or maybe a TV show marathon with my kids.  Okay, maybe I should add dark chocolate in there too.  This summer via Skype,  a friend and I have been bible study on the Psalms together.  This week our topic was Psalm 63 and clinging to God.  In this Psalm, David cried out to God.  He was thirsty for God.  He knew that only God can satisfy his deepest longings.  He clung to God during the hard times.  This was not just a one time thing.  The Psalms reflect the words of a man who turned to God and worshipped His God.  He craved God.   Did he always do that?  No, he wasn't perfect, but there is a reason he was called a man after God's own heart.

This spring we had a lot of crazy things going on which resulted in the kids and I leaving Central Asia for the summer.  I found myself clinging to God like I never had before.  I can't take any credit for it.  All I did was take the first step.  Before all the craziness happened, I had established the habit of spending time with God each day.   So when things were tough,  I kept on doing what I did everyday.   Some days it was hard to concentrate.  Other days I had to force myself to do it telling myself that I couldn't do this or that until I had spent time with God.  Many days the worship was sweet and the words seemed penned just for me.  Everyday I was able to pour out my heart and what I was going through at the feet of Jesus.  I had a peace that I can not explain.  The promise is true that when we seek God, we will find Him.   In the process, I found God changing me.  I no longer felt I needed to seek comfort from books, TV shows or food.   I still read, still watched TV, and still fixed and ate fun food, but my motive for doing so had changed.  It was not an immediate transformation.  My appetite for books that were not fluff grew.  Reading books in the evening before bed became more common.  I didn't feel like watching TV as much.  It did help that when we came back to the states that there was nothing good to watch, and there was too many commercials.  Even my children were more interested in other things.  Through the summer, we have had a mini marathon or two but our TV watching was much improved over previous summers.  

My last hold out or craving was Coca Cola.  I was still drinking more coke than I thought was healthy.  Okay, maybe I had a slight obsession with coke especially if it was the fountain variety with a slice of lemon in it.   So I decided not drink any soda for a month.  It will be a month at the end of next week.  I have been surprised that I have not missed it more.  Will I give up Coca Cola permanently? Probably not, but I will hopefully use more moderation. The hard part will be when I start back to school where I always liked to have a Coke with my lunch.  Once again, the why I am drinking Coke is important?  Is it a fun drink to have once in a while, or is it something I think will make me feel better?

As my friend and I talked about Psalm 63, we talked about how easy it is to turn to TV or other things instead of God.   Satan likes to tempt us with things that distract us from God.  Many of them are good things, but when they are used as comfort instead of seeking God, they come up empty.  The amazing thing is that when we take that first step of seeking God, of clinging to God, He hears and answers our prayer.  He will give us a peace that passes all understanding, and our lives will never be the same.  If we let Him,  He will begin to change our habits and bring us to a healthy place where we can better serve Him.

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