I have a confession: I love donuts. I will never say no to a donut, at any time for any reason. If I had the opportunity to eat donuts every day, I probably would.
It’s no secret that donuts aren’t the most nutritious food. In fact, they could probably be listed among the least nutritious foods. They’re deep fried, full of refined sugar, and oh so delicious.
There’s nothing wrong with eating a donut on occasion, but I know better than to seek out opportunities to eat donuts every day just because I love them. I know that this would damage my physical health in the long run, and I would very quickly start to feel the negative effects of my choices.
We often think about what we are feeding our bodies, but how often do we think about what we are feeding our souls? That innermost part of our being needs to be nourished, but how often are we feeding it a consistent diet of spiritual junk food? We try to find our satisfaction in entertainment, relationships, and possessions, but in the end we just feel empty. In order to be filled, we may need to change what we are hungry for. I want to share with you some practical steps for developing a healthy spiritual diet.
PUT SPIRITUAL JUNK FOOD IN ITS PROPER PLACE
If I told myself I was never allowed to have another donut ever again, I can guarantee you that would not help me to have a healthy relationship with donuts. In fact, it would likely make me crave them more. We’re not talking about sinful behaviors; we’re talking about things that can be completely pure and innocent. The problem comes in when we start trying to satisfy our souls with these things.
For me, it’s scrolling on social media. There’s nothing wrong with this in and of itself, but when I start to reach for my phone in moments of anxiety to soothe my soul, it then becomes a problem. Any form of entertainment can become a problem in this way. With the invention of wireless earbuds came the ability to easily plug into another world and drown out our unpleasant emotions. I enjoy podcasts as much as the next person, but I have to be careful about constant consumption. If I drown out every moment of silence to avoid unpleasant feelings, I’ll miss the opportunity to fellowship with God through prayer and receive the comfort of His still small voice in my moments of need.
So how do we put spiritual junk food in its proper place?
SET DEFINITE BOUNDARIES
How much time each day is reasonable for you to spend consuming spiritual junk food? This boundary is between you and the Lord, but if you pray about it, He will make it clear what the boundary should be.
Maybe you should limit your consumption to a certain time of day. Since I know social media is a problem for me, I limit my time on social media to my daughter’s nap time after I’ve spent time in God’s Word.
As with all life changes, it’s easier to be consistent when you have accountability. The best person to keep you accountable is probably someone you live with. For me, it’s my husband. Do I like it when he asks me if I really need to be on my phone right now? Not at all. Am I thankful that he cares enough about me to help me stay accountable to the boundaries I have set for myself? Absolutely.
START GIVING YOUR SOUL THE NOURISHMENT IT NEEDS
I can reduce my intake of donuts all I want, but if I don’t consume enough nourishing food in their place, I’ll still have uncontrollable cravings. We don’t put spiritual junk food in its proper place just for the sake of consuming less, but for the sake of making more room for the food that will satisfy our soul’s deepest longings.
True satisfaction can be found in God alone. How do we develop a relationship with God? By spending time in the pages of His Word and by talking to Him through prayer. When I have the urge to pick up my phone in moments of anxiety, how much better would I actually feel if I turned to the Lord in prayer? Rather than sitting down with a novel when I have some time to myself, what if I opened the pages of God’s Word and received the hope that He has to offer?
These changes won’t take place overnight. Just like changing our diets physically takes time and effort, developing an appetite for God’s Word isn’t an instant change. But if we learn to put spiritual junk food in its proper place and start giving our souls the spiritual nourishment they need one day at a time, we will find the true satisfaction that only God can give.