Starving the Soul

Starving the Soul

Ignoring mental and spiritual health leads to poor physical health.
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John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

Reflecting back on the past year of my life, a lot has changed. I struggled heavily with anxiety, and on that end, my year was not so great, but some amazing things happened as well.

This past year my relationship with God grew and thrived, and I can honestly say it was coming to God that helped save my life. It was when I started my feeding my spiritual side that I learned how to finally start feeding my physical side.

By diving into God's word and filling up on his message, I began to realize that God gifted me this body, shaped it in his image, and made it for so much more than just looking good. Striving for thinness would never leave me satisfied. Each time I hit a goal weight, I set a new one. I strived for something unattainable, something that would never bring me true happiness.

By focusing on something so physical, material and superficial, I ignored by mental and spiritual well-being, leaving me malnourished, weak, and unhappy. But then one day a friend in treatment dealing with many of the same issues showed me a daily devotional book she had, Sarah Young's Jesus Calling, and opened up about how reading from it and soaking up it's positive message each day helped distract her from her bad body image and anxious thoughts. Desperate to start healing my mind, I started doing devotionals, too.

I really love the message of Jesus being the bread of life. When we fill our souls up with his wisdom, dealing with all the other issues in our hearts becomes so much easier. When we feed our soul with what it truly needs, we begin to see past the superficial and material goals. We find our identity in Christ, not in the number on the scale, our bank account, or GPA.

I'm not saying I'm perfect. I still struggle with my anxiety each and every day. But still, God's wisdom gives me the strength to not give in to my anxiety and to keep fighting disordered thoughts. It wasn't until I opened my mind up to God that I began to truly feel more comfortable with eating physical food and began to accept and take care of myself. Feeding my soul aligned with feeding my physical self, because it was with Jesus's love that I learned I should love and physically nourish this body that He created and gifted me.

Seeking God's wisdom first makes tackling issues in this world all the easier, and I am so thankful for my friend who introduced me to the power of daily devotionals.

Cover Image Credit: Creative Homekeepr

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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You Ain’t Waiting For God To Bring You Your Dinner, You Get Up And Go Cook It

My words often get jumbled and don't make sense, so I figured writing it would help me come across clearly.

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Dear guy friends of mine,

I want you to know how grateful I am for your friendship. Having close guy friends has helped me better understand men and learn how the male species operates. I've been able to ask you so many questions and you've responded with thoughtfulness, kindness, grace, and honesty. I appreciate your willingness to talk to me.

I want to encourage you in something, and with some of you I have tried, but I think I came across as a little crazy. From what I've been told by married women, guys are very afraid of actual crazy. You want your girl to have some crazy (because all women have at least a little bit of crazy), but you don't want her to be, like, crazy. I get that and respect that.

I want to encourage you to ask girls out. It's scary. You're afraid of rejection. I know this because several of you have told me so. I recently spoke with a guy who's been married for a few years and has a baby daughter. He told me that you guys are scared, you don't want to put your heart on the line and have it crushed. That's a good reason not to pursue girls: you'll remain safe and free from hurt if you don't put your feelings out there.

But here's the other side of it: You'll never find that girl if you never search for her. Now, I know that all things happen in God's timing and as imperfect humans, we can't force things to happen outside of God's timeline. However, Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas said this in a sermon several years ago:

"But something's happened in evangelical circles where if you're single you're supposed to not want to be married, but be content in a spot and that's somehow more glorifying than following God's wiring of you to want a mate. And so in the end what happens is that you walk around like a liar. I mean, poor young ladies! Almost all of them have been told, "As soon as you're content, God will send you a man." So you've got hundreds of thousands of women running around acting content! "I'm content, where is he?" You've got other guys going, "You know, I'm just gonna wait for God to bring me the right one." Well, you ain't waiting for God to bring you your dinner, alright? You get up and go cook it."

Pastor Chandler goes on to say that he's not telling the guys to go on the hunt and prowl. No! He's telling guys that they have a role to play in pursuing a woman to marry. Girls have a role to play, too. Girls can't just hang out with their girlfriends in hopes that they'll lock eyes with Prince Charming while in the grocery store or walking their dog in the park. No, girls need to build up the guys in their lives and respect them by letting the guys be guys and giving them opportunities to be gentlemen. That's what I appreciate about you guys, my guy friends. You are such gentlemen and I love that. Don't be afraid to ask out the girl that you think is sweet, cute, pretty, funny, kind, silly, honest, loyal, and the right amount of crazy. You've got this!

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