Habits of a Transforming Heart: Stopping
This article is part of a larger series called Habits of a Transforming Heart. You can see the other articles in the series here:
- Part 1: How CanI Really Change? – Surrender
- Part 2: How Will God React to My Mess? – Staring
- Part 3: Why Can’t I Stop Myself? – Stopping
- Part 4: Why Can’t I Keep Going? – Stepping
- Part 5: Why Is There Never Enough? – Sabbath
“Why Can’t I Stop Myself?”
The thought blips onto my radar, but I push it down, along with another oat bar. I call them oat bars, but they’re really chocolate bars with a few oats in them. Multiple oat bars disappear every evening, even after a huge, healthy supper. I don’t even think when I eat them; I just feel the feeling they give me. But somehow, it’s never enough. The feeling goes away, and the emptiness returns.
In my evening quiet time, God nudged me to examine the oat bar in my hand I was munching. Jesus knows a thing or two about oat bars, or any other food and drink.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” – John 4:13-14
Reading this makes me hunger for never hungering again. To become a fresh, bubbling person brimming with life. To be completely full on the inside. To be satisfied.
I realized I was trying to get this fresh, eternal life from chocolate-covered oats. That the craving was craving something food could never give. And oat bars weren’t the only thing I consumed to fill the emptiness. I could think of lots of big and little “oat bar” fillers.
But how can I stop myself? Oat bars are still very delicious.
God seemed to say to me in John 4, “Drink the water Jesus gives. Eat the food Jesus gives and you’ll have no room for oat bars.”
A habit I’m trying to encourage in myself these days is stopping. But not in the way you might first think. I don’t force myself to stop eating the proverbial oat bars through sheer willpower. The habit is the stop and notice where I’m “overeating” in an area of my life. I stop and tell God that I’m trying to feed with something else what only He can satisfy. I stop and ask God to fill me with his love and truth. To transform my appetite to hunger after Him.
Another really important part is I try to stop and notice what He’s already given me, and revel in those things. Often I’m overeating because my brain hasn’t registered how full I am in Christ already.
The emptiness in my heart is not meant to be filled with quick fixes but with the living God. Only He can truly satisfy the ever-hungry human heart.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” ― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
Further reading: Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller