I almost never skip meals. If I do I get tired, grumpy, and uninspired and even my girlfriend and my mother don’t want to be around me.
This need to be fed physically is something that we can only fight for so long until it has an adverse affect on us, and for most American’s it’s a need we can’t seem to fight for very long. The feeding of the human soul, however, is a different story. In a culture of busy, busy, busy, I find more and more that while our physical bodies are getting fatter, our spirit is growing gaunt. We are aware of the issues surrounding world hunger, but I’m not so sure how aware we are of the soul starvation epidemic that is sweeping the nation.
If my spirit is not fed in certain ways throughout the day, I become stuck, living my life tired, grumpy, and uninspired. The neglect of a stomach leads to a tired body, the neglect of the soul leads to a wasted life. And if we were to take a good look around, we would see that this is happening everywhere, and it’s happening to everyone.
I spent so much time in college wondering, “Why am I in a bad mood? Why am I so tired all the time? Why does it seem like everyone around me is so fired up and getting so much done, and I don’t want to do anything?” After years of struggling with these thoughts, I finally realized that my spirit simply was not being fed by furiously sweeping through my “busy tasks” for the day, then watching Two and a Half Men, and going to bed. There were certain activities, certain practices that I needed to engage in each day in order to allow my soul to flourish. We all have these activities and practices. I found that my list came down to three areas that require intentional engagement each day in order to keep me fueled, physical, creative, and spiritual.
Physical activity has always fed my soul, I just never thought of it as physical activity until I stopped playing organized sports. Because organized sports are like undercover exercise, you don’t really realize it’s happening once you get into the game. In a football or basketball game, I would burn hundreds of calories without even breaking a sweat. Once I stopped playing sports however, I’ll be honest, I got fat. It’s probably not “politically correct” to say that, but I got the point where I wasn’t happy with how I looked. That is when I took up “working out”, which couldn’t be less under cover for most people. But I have really grown to crave a good workout. I don’t know all the correct terms for what happens to me chemically when my muscles are worked and my heart rate is raised, but I do know that after I have gone for a good run, I feel better, my head feels clear and my heart feels open. So I would be a fool to not engage in some type of physical activity every single day.
People always talk about creativity as an outlet of some sort. This metaphor always has confused me. I understand that when someone engages in something creative, they are pouring out something from their heart, but I find that the more I pour out creatively, the more I become filled up. Creativity may be an outlet, but it is also a fountain and a funnel of inspiration, joy, and life. To take part in creative work means that I have been a part of moving our world forward somehow. My spirit is not just kept in a bottle, but it is poured out into a symphony of newness. And for some reason, the more I pour out, the more I find myself filled up.
This last section, for some of you, may not be your thing, and that’s fine. For others of you, it may be your thing, and I can guarantee you don’t do it enough, because I don’t do it enough, and more importantly, I have never met anybody who does it enough, save for one person, but He only hangs around in Spirit now, so it’s hard to catch Him. To be fed spiritually bring immeasurable fruit to the life I live. It sets a firm foundation for me, it serves as a reminder of what is most important in this life, and that this life is so much bigger than this world. And since God formed me physically before I was in my mother’s womb, and He is the original creative being, by connecting with Him and being fed spiritually, I am inspired to find different ways that I can feed myself in those other areas. Engaging with God each day frees my spirit to open up and pour into the dark places of this world.
Please note: This is a very personal list that changes from individual to individual. Just as one person may enjoy grapes and another person enjoys carrots and I enjoy cookies. None of us have been created to be the same, so we have different areas that need to be fed daily, but they do need to be fed.
If we desire for our lives to have an impact on the world, then we need to begin pursuing fatter spirits. To feed my spirit each day not only will help me live a happier life, but also a life a greater influence and servanthood. You cannot draw from a well that has run dry. You don’t eat bacon from an anorexic pig. God calls us to be “living sacrifices” in Romans, and each day I want to make a nice, fat sacrifice of my spirit pouring out into the world physically, creatively, and spiritually, so that perhaps someone else might be fed by what has already fed me. I know it sounds like sloppy seconds, but I think, like cheese and wine, it can just get better with age.