Friday, July 11, 2014

Connecting with God: Longing for Everything Else

My heart is silly. It gets fluttery and excited about strange things. An idea surfaces and I attach to it predicting, "That will make me feel ----." I've always thought this way, but only recently am I one - noticing it, two - thinking it odd, and three - deciding to think something else, something true. I recently did a five day raw foods cleanse. Partly because I could never face a juice cleanse and partly because I felt like I needed a fresh start. We'd just returned from a romantic weekend away (aka Dr. Pepper every day!) and worry over my typical summer weight gain had raised its ugly head. 

The cleanse worked a lot like the No Spend month in that it drastically changed my way of addressing part of life for a short time, which gave me space to see my habits as well as other options. This is the best launch pad I've found for intentional living. It's like cleaning the slate of how you usually do thus-and-such and saying, How would I like to do it?" During my cleanse I thought about food with a new set of criteria. What wasn't cooked? What would my body like having inside it? What would keep me a step ahead of my hunger? What would satisfy my actual hunger but not various other longings? This was a big change from, "How can I pamper myself in this stressful moment? Dark chocolate!" and "I know that's healthy, but it's a lot of calories." 

I'd read if you're in the habit of granting your heart's desires, to learn to sit with the "wanting" and see what it tells you. I'd never succeeded at this. I just walked to the kitchen and got the chocolate out while I "sat with" my craving. During the cleanse I focused on food's primary purpose as our bodies' fuel and realized I'd been asking much more of it. Things like, "Make me feel good again...This will satisfy me...I'll feel taken care of and at peace if I eat this...This is the most exciting thing that'll happen to me today, so it better be tasty!" My kids learned to use the word, "inappropriate" at school and I think it's apt in describing my demands on food. Did I think food was a person?!

The lady who presented about raw food reminded me about true statements. She said, "You may be saying, 'I can't live without cheese!' But that's not a true statement. You wouldn't die from a lack of cheese." When I thought about the difference between what I hope to get from my food indulgences and what actually happens, I was surprised. You see, sometimes I eat a chocolate after the kids go to bed and imagine I'll feel relaxed and luxurious and relieved. And weirdly, some days it tastes way better than other days. Some days, I eat five pieces waiting for it to feel good. I'm hoping for some major serotonin to release in my brain, but most of the time, I think it just goes to my tummy, does whatever it does there and gets pooped out. Why I think this little exchange will be life-changing or even evening-changing, I don't know. 

Other things that make my heart skip a beat:
  • the idea of a new scarf
  • taking the family out for fast food at this from-scratch Mexican fast food place 
  • a new dining room table
  • napping with my cat

The idea sneaks up on me that THIS MIGHT BE THE KEY! The one that unlocks lasting happiness. The reason I'll finally feel full and satisfied. I feel momentarily giddy, much like I did when I'd recognize a certain intern's walk coming down the hall to see me. And while he was the real deal when it came to a soul mate, I still find myself next to him on my couch, gobbling chocolate. I guess I get thirsty again, which Jesus knew and told that lady by the well so she could stop being disappointed. Drink me, he said. I'm what you're looking for.

Well I don't know how to drink him exactly and I'm not going to pretend I do, but I've decided this: I'll start telling myself the truth I do know. That this piece of goodness that's brought me joy before only brought it because it was a well-timed zinger of a blessing straight from the Lover of my soul. I can keep going back to the THING that she gave me or I can go back to her. God knows I like to be in charge and in my fear his goodness might run out, I try to reduce our relationship to a system where I feel good when I ----. So when I'm trying to make love to a blessing, I'm going to stop and say, "Oh. Hi, God. Sorry for my misplaced affections. You're the one that I want." And I think that might make her think of a song so she'll chime in with the "Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo..." And then we'll sing together, "You're the one that I want!" because the good thing about him is, he doesn't hold it against me when my silly heart does something stupid. It's nothing he can't fix.

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  1. Amazing post, Kendra! This hits the whole box of nails on the head. I have so many vices that I'm just sure will make me feel better, when I simply need to sit with God and let him fill me.

  2. Great post, as always. I'm the same way, always thinking, "Ooooh, if I do/have that then I'll live in magical happy-land for all my days!" Of course, that new excitement always fades. Thanks for the reminder today.