Craving God is easy to miss. Everything else tries to look like this holy craving so that we constantly miss seeking out God, and instead seek out false satisfactions.
I’ve already eaten breakfast and had my coffee so why am I thinking about needing more? I think I’m craving coffee or chocolate, but when I honestly check in with myself, I’m not hungry or thirsty.
What’s going on?
I’m craving God. I have a deep need for God that I keep mistaking for other false substitutes. Some counterfeits to God I’ve noticed are good food, treats like chocolate, staying busy, social media, work, socializing, thrill seeking, etc.
“Restless heart” sounds like an 80’s country or pop rock song doesn’t it? But we all have one, me especially, I think. I get restless and then start up the heat seeking radar for what will calm this need and quiet this heart. What I find is often and usually obscuring what my heart truly needs and wants. If I’m physically hungry then that is a valid need and I know its “ok” to eat. But, if I’m emotionally hungry or needy, then only God or His emissaries of love, like my family or friends, can fill that need.
Not Pop Psychology
With life experience and developing faith comes the self-awareness that we need. “Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:5). It makes one think of Socrates’ great line of “know thyself.” The more one allows the light of the Holy Spirit in to one’s mind and heart, the more one can recognize in himself or herself the desires that can either derail one’s path, or, set one on an even more sure path to God. If we are honest and let the light of God’s Truth guide our introspections, we will see that maybe we are going after counterfeits in some areas. What’s an example of this?
How to spot a counterfeit!
Perhaps I am in need of time with the Lord spent in a quiet church just sitting before His physical presence in the tabernacle. I may not recognize this deep need, and instead turn to my phone to start looking for friends to text, or delve into Facebook to see what others are doing in my quest for connection of the heart. I may start texting or Facebooking but then realize, “This is not what I want!” If I am courageous and honest and dig a tiny bit deeper I will then see that I’m really looking for God right now. If, on the other hand, I’m just lonely and in need of a friend, a phone call or a brief visit with someone just might be the antidote to the pain of feeling alone and unsatisfied. Its valid and justified to want and to seek human connection. We are made in the image of a Triune God that lives in constant loving connection. We are built on this model. We are made to connect. But, if the need is not just some friend time but something deeper, I need God’s light to shine in me so I can see this and recognize it for what it is.
Time out or time in?
Recently, I took a walk on a break from work. I needed sunshine, quiet, birds, fresh air and flowers to clear my head and invigorate my body. Instead of a long walk, I found myself instead drawn inexplicably into the chapel a couple blocks away. I was so pleasantly surprised to find myself going along with this desire to sit in the chapel when what I thought that what my restless self wanted was a walk in the sunshine! As I sat alone in the tiny wooden church so dim in comparison to the jolly sunlight outside, I felt that all my needs were met and all things were settled and right. There was a sweet and perceptible satisfaction in my body and in my soul to just sit there and have a smile dawn on my face. This was not what I expected! I did not want to leave the chapel or go back to work. I had to drag myself away. It turned out that I was thirsting for God. So surprising was this soul quenching bliss that I had to ponder it for weeks this summer. I realized that I do not always know what I want or what I need. But God, my heavenly Daddy, always knows! He satisfies me perfectly.
King David wrote this song just for me! Psalm 63. It goes like this:
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
Thank you, King David, I can’t wait to meet you in heaven because you always say perfectly what I want to say to God or about God.
The flesh versus the Spirit
Some people turn to buying things to satisfy themselves when they are actually craving God. Others think pursuing physical relationships and feeling mere physical affection will satisfy, but it never does, and they spin on in an endless cycle of empty gratifications. If I make ketogenic chocolate brownie “fat bombs” I may have one or two but then find myself wanting several. Why? It’s that deep flaw of original sin combined with our actual holy desire for God. The flaw is concupiscence, our fallen nature. Craving God is holy and not flawed. But the two can get awfully messy and bound up if we do not know about them or how to recognize them.
Scripture tells us to overcome our fallen nature and to go the way of the Spirit. St. Paul teaches us, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Gal 5:16 ESV And what do I want to do? God’s will!
My fallen nature wants more and more keto fat bombs when my soul just wants God. The fat bombs often win out, sadly. But in those moments of decision, I have the chance to pray and ask God to help me conquer the temptations of the flesh.
A way out of the chocolate labyrinth!
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor 10:13 ESV
God will not let me be tempted beyond my ability. Thanks be to God for that! Frodo had The Ring, I have chocolate.
What do you struggle with?
You don’t have to share in the comments boxes, but do let yourself think about it. Is it internet porn? That is one chain of fake satisfactions you will need God to break for you in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), and with a counselor and a priestly spiritual director along with an accountability group and maybe even a free membership to Sex Addicts Anonymous.
Do you struggle with overwork? Maybe you are afraid of intimacy with your wife and kids or husband and kids. That and any misplaced filler for the God-shaped hole in our hearts can all be healed and sealed with God’s grace via the Sacraments of His Church.
Whatever you use to fill the God shaped hole in your heart and quench the God craving you can give over to God. Ask Him to help you choose Him more often until you are consistently choosing Him. You’ll be amazed at what His grace can do for you. For when we are weak – then we are strong! Why? Because of His grace.
“And He has said to me, ‘“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” Amen? Amen!
Hallelujah brothers and sisters! Let’s go out confidently now and when we are craving God, choose Him.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Frances Peterson, McCloud Falls, McCloud, California.
Bible Quotes from: https://www.biblegateway.com
All Sons & Daughters – Rest In You (Lyric Video)
Psalm 63: My Soul Is Thirsting (As Morning Breaks)
Possible blog link-to: