I don’t mean to start this post with a complaint, but if there is one thing I hate in life, it’s being sick. It’s not just the physical aspects either. I hate getting off schedule, getting out of rhythm, feeling stagnant, feeling bored, and after staying home for several days – feeling like a hermit.
Last week I felt all of this and more. My son got sick, I got sick, and my wife got sick — all with a nasty stomach virus. I finally reached my breaking point after finally recovering and discovering Courtney was sick.
I wasn’t ready to do anything crazy. I just had finally reached the point that I didn’t want to try to be positive anymore. I didn’t want to act like everything was going to be ok. I wanted to embrace the awfulness of my situation. And embrace it I did. As I changed another dirty diaper and picked up yet another random toy from the floor, I had a silent pity party with God.
But after voicing my complaints, the cloud of heaviness I had chosen to embrace wasn’t just hovering above me any longer, it was smothering me.
I finally stopped my parade of complaints and asked God a simple question — “Why do I feel so empty and frustrated right now?”
I had been sick before, I had had bad weeks before, but I had never felt such a suffocating cloud of heaviness.
After asking the question, it didn’t take long for an answer to come — and it actually came as a question. I felt as if God was asking — “What have you been consuming?”
As I attempted to answer the question a holy conviction came over me. I began trying to think of the last time I had devoted time to draw closer to God and let me just say, it had been way too long. Sure, I had thrown up some half-hearted prayers. I had made some practical requests. I had marked off Bible reading from my checklist. But I hadn’t been investing my whole heart into it.
As I thought about it further I realized that it wasn’t because of a lack of consumption. I had been consuming plenty – plenty of social media, plenty of Netflix, plenty of sports… I had just been consuming too much of the wrong things. Not that Netflix or sports are wrong — I love binge watching Friends as much as anyone — but too much of it can cause a good thing to become the wrong thing.
Something doesn’t have to be bad in order to have bad side effects. Taco Bell isn’t necessarily bad, it actually tastes great, but if your main source of nutrition comes from Chalupas and Gorditas then you can imagine the undesirable side effects that will occur.
Entertainment, like junk food, can be enjoyed, but it doesn’t have the capability to sustain you. Entertainment can’t provide what your soul needs. It can provide a relaxing escape, but when you’re on your last straw emotionally, when your family has been sick all week, when you begin to feel like a failure – entertainment can only serve as an escape.
Your soul craves fulfillment and the only way to fill that void is by consuming something with staying power.
As your soul craves for more, don’t buy into the lie that you need to consume more. It isn’t a consumption problem; it’s a contentment problem. You aren’t in need of more; you’re in need of more of what lasts. As Isaiah 58:11 promises – the Lord will be faithful to guide and satisfy your soul – you just have to be willing to receive it.
“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11 ESV