How to feed a starving soul

First slide

I have shepherded three books into the world this year. A fourth sits poised, ready and waiting, until its season arrives. Those spines stacked one atop the other, staring at me unblinking from my dining room table, tell me that I have been disciplined enough to do the work of publishing: the research, the writing, the editing, even the attention to design. I have shown up, day after day, to do whatever task the careful stewardship of these words held on that particular day.

 

And all the while, my children are growing, my father is fading and my marriage is showing the patina of 30 years of grief and joy. These are days so full of work and of emotion that they split me wide open, swollen with the humanity of it all. If I’m not careful, I quickly lose my sense of rootedness and I begin to feel as if I have no control at all over the forces sweeping my split-open self into the wideness of turbulence.

How do I anchor myself?

I cannot truly live for very long without conversation with God. That is, the energy I need to be fully alive is quickly snuffed out of me and I feel dull and senseless and utterly unable to cope on the days when I have neglected to speak and to listen to the Lord of my life. I think that I am not alone in this. I look into tired eyes of people who travel with me in each dimension of my life and I see: we are a people too busy to access our life source, wandering and wondering why we are exhausted and depressed and anxious.

When was the last time you read the Word of God before scrolling through headlines in the morning? When did you last open your Bible and leave it on the kitchen counter so that you could read just a few lines at a time throughout the day? When did you close your office door, pull a Bible from your desk and give God 10 minutes of your uninterrupted attention so that He could speak life into your soul?

“God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord” (1 Cor 1:9). It isn’t magic, but it feels miraculous. If I take the time to seek His fellowship, I find that He is faithful. We are all plagued with anxious thoughts: Am I enough? Am I safe? Am I loved? How can I can carry this (whatever burden “this” is today)? How can I fix it?

Some of us look for the answers on the internet, in the refrigerator, at the gym, or in more and more work. Those answers will never fully satisfy. We will always be restless, always feel lacking, always be striving, until we rest in the full knowledge that God is enough and that He holds us in the palm of His hand.

This is not a math fact. We don’t learn it once and move on, never to forget it. God has made us to need Him. He has made us so that we come back to Him. The sure sense of His presence and provision in our lives is only possible if we ponder His Word at least as often as we nourish our bodies. Our souls are starving.

You have time. You do. You can take five minutes a few times a day and allow your Maker to hold you together. You can give Him a few moments to speak strength into your soul. You’ll find that time is restored to you in its purest form and you will be able to go about your day and meet your challenges more fully recollected and more wide-awake to the world for having first rested in Him.

Foss, whose website is takeupandread.org, is a freelance writer from Northern Virginia.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

@elizabethfoss