Food…we're sort of obsessed with this subject in our western culture. We plan dates around meals…we even plan trips around exotic cuisine. We want to be full. But our bodies aren’t the only piece of us that needs nourishment; we also need to feed our souls. Jesus said, “Man cannot live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). Bread (i.e. Food) won't last forever. It'll leave us hungry for more. And for many of us, it's not our bodies that are truly starving, it's our souls; our souls are crying out for food, for nourishment.
How long could one meal sustain you? One day? Two days? You could probably make it a few days without another meal, but you would become grumpy and tired and weak as your body cried out for more nourishment.
Even if you’re a church person and you go every single Sunday, that’s good…do that! Keep it up! Go every single week. But the truth is that one sermon or lesson you hear isn’t enough “food” to feed your soul for very long. Within a day or two you’ll begin feeling the grumblings inside yourself that are crying out for more. Pastor & author Erwin McManus call those grumblings our “soul cravings.” Our souls cry out for more.
When Brad and I were about to get married, my Dad offered Brad great advice about me. He said, “Brad, don’t put your hand in the cage if she’s hungry or tired.” You know why? Because when I’m hungry I’m grumpy, I’m snappy, I’m negative, I’m tired, I’m weak, I don’t feel good and I might just bite your hand off. The same is true of our souls. We can’t live on one good sermon every week. We have to continue feeding our souls or we’ll become weak, tired and we’ll wear out from the stress and weight of life.
So how do we feed our souls?
Here’s 3 simple steps to feed your soul:
This is where you taste the food. There are a couple of easy ways I “receive” soul food…I read and I listen to podcasts. I know that not everyone enjoys reading, but if you do, then read every single day, even if it’s for twenty or thirty minutes. Feed your soul some truth about where you are in life – read about parenting or marriage or singleness or grief. I love reading about leadership and church growth right now. Wherever you are at, there’s a book that will offer help and encouragement.
The second way I “receive” soul food is through podcasts. I love to listen to “Your Move” with Andy Stanley. I also love the “LifeChurch.TV” podcast. These podcasts are lessons given by pastors who apply Biblical principles in practical ways. Another of my favorite learning/listening tools is TED talks. It’s a place where I can hear about new ideas, inventions, cultures – it stretches me and grows me every time I listen to a TED talk. I also love the Catalyst podcast – it’s a way for me to learn from leaders in my industry.
Everyone has time for a podcast. I play my podcasts while I shower and put on my makeup. It doesn’t require “more” time, it’s time I’ll be spending doing those tasks anyway, so I might as well add value to myself while I get those things done.
I will be listing several of my favorite books and podcasts on my website and also on the Studio7 facebook page this week!
Here’s where you chew on it. After you read or listen to a podcast, take some time and internalize what you’ve learned. Meditate on it. Listen to it again. Read it again. Let it turn over and over in your thoughts.
Once you’ve meditated on it, respond to it. I encourage everyone to write a response. Get a journal and write down what the book or podcast made you think about. Write down what it challenged you to do or to think. When we write it down, we can look back at our lives and see places and times when we grew. And we can share that with other people, helping others on their journey.
I will list some of my favorite books and podcasts, but I would be untrue to myself if I didn't say that the Word of God (the Bible) is the best nourishment you could possibly offer your soul. God's Word will never leave you empty. If you feast on His Word, you will leave satisfied, full and ready to face your day with the fuel to make right choices. Open the Bible. Start in Proverbs. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs and there are 31 days (in most months). Start by reading one chapter a day. There is a great return on God's Word; it never returns void! Get in the Word and keep going!
Jesus said, “I am the living bread…Anyone who eats this bread will live forever.”
“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink— even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—it’s all free!
Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food."