You're Not You When You're Hungry

You’re not you when you’re hungry” are the words of a candy bar commercial that keeps going over and over in my head. The commercial, played mostly during football season, shows a cranky, whiny, Betty White-type personality displayed in a football player who is not himself because he is trying to play the game on an empty stomach.

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His teammates point out that he is not himself and offer the player a sugary, chocolate-covered candy bar as the solution to his hunger. Betty White disappears, the player’s strength is rejuvenated, and the player’s real self comes back in full force.

Many of us - or others we know - can be cranky when physically hungry or exhausted. A cup of coffee first thing in the morning, an apple in the middle of the day or even a brief nap can serve to energize a physical body temporarily out of crankiness or “out of puff”, as my grandson used to say.

Our souls were designed to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, we can give a racing mind a nap, and even satisfy the heart’s desires with either entertainment or relaxing with friends but, the Bible testifies that sugary food beverages are not the best solution for physical, mental or social fatigue.

In Deuteronomy 6:5, the basic Jewish creed is to declare there is one “Lord our God” and then, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength.” Jesus added to this greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37), “and with all your mind.”

I can “feed” my heart’s desire to be significant, through using my talents and gifts shared in His Name and for His Glory. I can feed my thirst to know God and His love through my mind as I study His Word and know His commands. But, what about the soul? How do I love God with my soul? Or, how do I feed my empty soul when it is hungry?

When the Holy Spirit is in my soul, His spirit will flow out of me...

I am pretty sure that is why the candy bar commercial keeps playing in my head. I can’t help but think that just as our behavior is “off” when we are hungry, our souls are “off” when they are empty: “you’re not you when... your soul is hungry.” Our souls were designed to have a hunger that only the God of the universe can satisfy.

When a soul is hungry, we can search for love and meaning in the wrong places or “feed” on the things of this world that were never meant to fill our souls. Our souls were designed to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

When my soul is empty of the Holy Spirit, I end up feeding on myself, those around me, or what I think I need to make me happy. A body that cannot thrive on a sugar diet is like a soul that cannot live without a Holy, Loving, Omniscient, Merciful, All-Powerful, Just Father - God. When the Holy Spirit is in my soul, His spirit will flow out of me and I won’t even have time to consider all those things I think I should be, do, or say.

I must acknowledge that my neediness is my soul’s hunger...apart from God, it is not “well with my soul.” Jesus addressed the need of our souls in Matthew 11:28-30 saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened...and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus knows that life is not easy but, His yoke is there when we accept His Love and ask Him to fill our soul with His presence, to be with us every moment of every day.

John Ortberg, in his book You Have A Soul, lists the “sustaining grace” Jesus practiced and is our model as well, for keeping our souls filled in God:

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“Jesus prayed…. He talked to His Father constantly.
He had a circle of close friends... He was not alone and engaged in community.
He engaged in regular corporate worship at synagogue... He took time to praise His Heavenly Father.
He fed his mind with Scripture… He kept God’s Laws and words of Love close to Him.
He enjoyed God’s creation - mountain, garden and lake.
He took long walks... He exercised his earthly body
He welcomed and blessed little children... He reached out to the innocent and vulnerable
He enjoyed partying with non-religious types... He loved all people and made it a point to reach out to all people.”

These are spiritual practices that are not hard, and they are there for the you and me to choose.

Easy yoke in a tough world.

I want to be me...the one and only me God created. But, I can’t be me when my soul is hungry. I am grateful for a Father who thought enough of His creation to not leave us alone in this world. He created our souls to seek and find Him and be satisfied in Him alone.