How To Grow Hungry For God's Word, When All You Want Are Tacos
I live in a moderately sized town outside of Milwaukee, WI, and every Tuesday, the local Mexican restaurant sells dollar tacos. Do you have something like this in your town? Here, they call it Taco Tuesday. I can’t even write about Taco Tuesday without growing hungry for tacos. Mmmmmmm, tacos. I hope you like tacos, because I don’t know if we can be friends unless you do.
My favorite are the shrimp tacos with pineapple coleslaw stuffed inside of a soft corn tortilla with a dollop of freshly made guacamole. I hope I don’t need to mention that my second favorite part about Taco Tuesday are the endless chips and salsa. Are you hungry yet?
I think I can agree with most taco enthusiasts, that there’s rarely a time that I’m not hungry for tacos. I will gladly go out for tacos on any day of the week, not just Tuesdays. This got me wondering, what if we as women of faith, had the same hunger for God’s word that we do for tacos (or insert your food of choice here)? What if we sought to hear from Him more than just on Sundays? What would that look like, and how do we get there?
I’ve been a Christian for well over 13 years now, and I’m at a point in my walk where I truly love sitting down and reading God’s Word. If I miss a day or two, I actually hunger for more of what He has to say. But, it wasn’t always like this. I have gone through several seasons where reading the Bible felt so stale and honestly just boring. I got lost in the words on the page, and struggled to have the motivation to understand what was going on. I would have rather been at Taco Tuesday than sitting in the presence of the Lord, reading His word. Can you relate?
So you might be wondering how I grew to hunger for God’s Word, and how you can too. Before we get started, I want to touch a little on what hunger is both physically and spiritually so we can set the foundation for practical application.
As a nutrition coach and health educator, I have the opportunity to teach a lot on hunger. This concept can be one of the driving factors in how, why and when we choose to eat the foods we do. At the most basic level, hunger is controlled by 2 hormones called ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin is a hunger hormone that is secreted from the lining of your stomach and signals your brain when it’s time to eat. Its main function is to increase your appetite. When your stomach is empty, ghrelin levels rise and then usually proceed to lower after you’ve eaten a meal.
Leptin is the satiety hormone. It signals your body when it’s full and time to stop eating. It’s secreted from fat cells and serves to decrease hunger.
When our bodies are functioning properly, these 2 hunger hormones function as they should. But, when we carry excess fat, have a hormone imbalance, or are chronically dieting, both ghrelin and leptin can actually have a negative effect on our ability to tell when we are truly hungry or not.
Phew…..how’s that for a super short physiology refresher? This info will come into play a bit later.
Now, let’s walk through 3 things I did to grow a hunger for God’s Word that is currently growing stronger than my hunger for tacos.
1. I removed other things that were feeding my soul
Have you ever felt your soul ache? It’s that deep ache that feels almost impossible to reach. It’s a level beyond sadness that feels completely unfulfilled. It’s the ache you may feel in the middle of a panic attack, or the ache that comes with sudden grief. It might present as emptiness, loneliness, or even hopelessness. It’s the ache that I feel as I’m walking through divorce.
God’s Word should be the first thing we turn to when our soul aches. But, I’m totally human just like you and many (if not most) of the times I’m in a difficult situation, I turn to other things for immediate comfort instead. I have used wine, food, tacos (because they deserve their own category), tv, social media, exercise, and avoidance. I’m sure I used many other things too, but these were just a few of my top spiritual comfort foods.
Now, on their own, none of these things are necessarily bad. But, when our soul truly needs to be fed with the Word of God, and we feed it with something completely void of any nutrients, it will throw off our spiritual hunger signals. And, when we repeat this over, and over again, it will become a habit, and the Word of God will no longer serve to nourish our hearts, minds, and souls.
You can read more about my struggle with using wine to cope with anxiety right HERE.
I get that it may not be realistic to always gravitate towards the Bible, but when we create space in between a strong emotion and a choice, it allows an opportunity to choose what we’re going to use to feed our spiritual hunger. And what we choose to use to feed our hunger, is highly likely what we will crave the next time we need to “eat.”
2. I slowed down, and focused on quality over quantity
I’m unashamedly Type A. I like lists. I like checking things off my list. I like feeling accomplished. When I schedule in my Bible study time, I like to know that I got a lot done. My scholarly personality and desire for knowledge would rather know that I’ve read 5 chapters quickly over 1 verse slowly. But, I also know that this isn’t the way to be nourished by the Word.
Have you ever scarfed down a meal so quickly that you don’t even remember what it tasted like? This might be the way you eat lunch, or maybe it’s how you comfort yourself after a long day with your kids. This method of eating doesn’t allow our bodies enough time for the hormone leptin to do it’s job and signal our brain that we aren’t hungry any longer. The same concept applies when we are reading the Bible.
I eventually had to take a step back and really look at how I was taking in scripture. Was I inhaling it without even knowing what it tasted like? Or, was I choosing to digest it slowly so that the nutrients of God’s Word could nourish my soul?
On most days, I was just reading to read. I wasn’t reading to be nourished, or even to be fed. I was just reading to check it off my list and go on with my day without even remembering what God’s word “tasted” like. If we truly want to know how much scripture can transform our lives, we need to consume it slowly, with purpose and intention, while letting it feed every cell in our body.
3. I prayed before I ate
The Bible talks a lot about praying. However, there are no steadfast “rules” per se about praying before you eat. Instead I like to think of mealtime prayers as an opportunity to check the posture of our heart, give thanks to the Lord, and invite Him into the time that we spend sharing a meal with each other. Many nights I struggle to remember to do this especially if we are in a hurry, eating quickly and rushing out the door. And, even though the meal still happens and we consume the food our bodies need, this time lacks purpose and intention when we don’t begin with God.
Now what if we took this same concept before we approached scripture. What if we intentionally began our Bible reading time by thanking God for His word, asking Him to check the posture of our heart, and truly inviting Him into our time together.
I know for some this may seem like a natural suggestion and something that you do regularly. But, I remember during my spiritually dry seasons, I would rush through scripture reading so quickly (if I even did it at all) and I completely forgot to acknowledge the one who wrote it in the first place.
Ultimately, I want to encourage you to truly learn how to enjoy God’s word and make it such an integral part of your life that you crave it like you do your favorite comfort food. I know this may take time for many women. I totally understand the eye rolls at scripture when your life is completely falling apart. I get how opening the Bible can feel like a chore instead of an opportunity for life transformation. I also get how confusing it can be to really dig into God’s word which leaves you feeling defeated and moving on to the next best thing to comfort your aching soul.
I’m in it with you sister. I’ve avoided the Bible. I’ve rolled my eyes at the Bible teacher who just tells me to pray more and meditate on a verse that’s supposed to change my life. I’ve also been that Bible teacher who flippantly tells other women the same thing. And, I don’t want to do that any longer. I want to be the Bible teacher who you trust to tell when you haven’t opened your Bible in 6 months or longer while I stand next to you and help you dust off the cover. I want to be the one who gives you small practical spiritual snacks, instead of trying to force you to overeat when you’re not ready. I’m here to be the one to remind you that you are enough in Christ.
I encourage you to take some time to meditate on this post and use the challenge questions below to dig a bit deeper and create a plan for moving forward in your hunger for God’s Word.
Answer these in the comments to start a discussion, or journal about them during your devotion time.
- What are you using in replace of God’s Word, to fulfill your spiritual hunger?
- Where can you increase the quality of your time in scripture?
- How can you approach your time in the Word differently?
In His Strength,
Kristen Ekiss is a Navy Veteran, speaker, coach, and adoptive mama of 4. She gracefully merges her Biblical counseling training and 15 years of health and fitness experience to teach women how to grow a stronger faith, raise a stronger family, and build a stronger body.