Food for My Soul

Hi guys!  So as you already know, my blog chronicles my journey to living a healthier and more fulfilling life.  I’ve been sharing a lot of recipes, my life as a wife, student, friend, etc, but it’s been awhile, or maybe more accurately…I’ve never really opened up about my spiritual life.  You see, to me healthy living encompasses not only how I feed my body but also how I nourish my mind and soul.  For those of you who may not know, I am a Christian.  I grew up in a Christian household, and in 7th grade at a winter retreat, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Although He’s been present my entire life, my walk with my Father has been anything but steady.  It’s a constant roller coaster ride that I am on.  I think it’s time that I grow out of this phase and seek a more age-appropriate kind of ride – one that’s slow and steady…

Ever since I got back from my recent California trip, I’ve had a lot to think about.  It all spurred from a simple conversation that I shared with my aunt and uncle.  I hadn’t seen them in over 10 years, so we obviously had a lot to catch up on.  My uncle asked me about my church, spiritual life, etc, and I just answered.  I did not premeditate or think about what I wanted to say, but the words just flew out of my mouth…and I could not believe the things that I said.  “So that’s how I’ve been feeling,” I came to a gripping realization.

For over a year now, I’ve been praying fervently for one thing and that is to become a mother.  “Well, clearly he’s not answering my prayer.”  Then came the bottomless bitterness, frustration, and anger that continue to multiply and spread in me like poison.  So it was no surprise when I bluntly laid out to my uncle all the negative emotions I was feeling, how I cannot get myself to really get into the Word, pray, find joy and peace…  Then something very confusing happened.  He started to evangelize to me.  I thought, “I know all this!  Why is he telling me this?  Is he questioning my salvation?”

On our drive back to the hotel, I asked Tim what that was all about.  As he is pretty discerning, he told me that from what I was saying, I sounded like a lost soul.  If I was walking with and living for the Lord, during this year of struggles, I would have found peace at some point through faith.  However, I’ve only been harboring negative, destructive feelings.  How did I get to this point?

From the simple conversation that I had with my uncle, I came to this realization..and believe me it hit me hard! – I am so far away from my Savior…I cannot continue on this lonely journey anymore.  How can I expect Him to answer my prayers when my personal relationship with Him is so fragile?  I am a Christian…are these just empty words?  No!  I don’t want to be a hypocrite.  I want my actions to reflect my words and my thoughts.

I read a lot of Christian self-help books, but when it comes to sitting down and reading the Bible, now that just hasn’t been happening.  Yes, I read verses here and there, but I don’t actually dig into the Word, like I would with one of my school textbooks, and really try to understand the juicy stuff.

Well, I’ve decided that it’s time that my quality time with the Lord gets bumped up to the #1 spot on my to-do-list rather than dead last (more often than not, I don’t even get to it).  A year ago, my church did a 4+1 Bible reading plan together.  What this means is that everyday specific chapters from 2 Old Testament books and 2 New Testament books are read along with a Psalm as the +1.  I will tell you right now that I did not get very far, not to mention that I just skimmed through the verses most of the time.  This time around, though, I shall read the verses word for word and really try to understand their meaning and purpose.  What is God trying to tell me?  I’ve had a Study Bible since college that’s just been collecting dust.  It’s time I put that bad boy to use!  I’m finding that reading the commentaries and explanations as I go along is extremely helpful!  I say, let the dissection begin!

To start, I’ll be reading Genesis, 1 Chronicles, John, James, and Psalms.  I am definitely more familiar with the New Testament than the Old Testament.  All the names, history, and law in the latter were too hard to comprehend, and rather than try to decipher it all, I merely picked and chose certain sections.  For instance, 1 Chronicles is inundated with just names.  Tim challenged me to read them all to realize how God does not clump all of us together!  He remembers every single person by name!  It also supports the Old Testament promise that Jesus would be a descendant of Abraham and David.  I have to remember that every word that’s written in the Bible is there for a reason and that I must not pick and choose.  I love this reading plan because I think it’ll really help me to see the Bible as one epic story.

From this, my goal is not to merely know the Bible inside and out.  Rather, I long to understand God as He is revealed in the Bible.  There’s no question about it that I have faith.  However, I desire to actively obey and respond in such a way that my actions demonstrate the kind of faith that is genuine.  No more empty words.

From the first day, God slapped me in the face with James 1.  It was just what I needed to hear.  Can it be that all the answers that I’ve been searching high and low for are all right here in the Bible?  Of course they are!

I want to share with you James 1:2-6 —

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt…

James here doesn’t say if you face trials, but rather he says whenever!  We are for sure going to encounter many bumps on the road, but we should consider them a blessing rather than misery and anguish.  For this is how we grow and mature.  I feel very convicted here that I should stop complaining about my circumstances but rather see them as opportunities for growth.  God is trying to shape me right now.  Thank you Lord, for giving me this time of trials and turmoil.  I shall persevere…persevere…persevere.

As a way to chronicle my spiritual journey, I’m planning to dedicate a post every week on what God is teaching me through my 4+1 reading plan and how He is speaking to me through my times of prayer.  I share recipes and my frolicking through life, so why not delicious and satisfying food for my soul?  I warn you in advance, as it may get quite wordy and overwhelming at times, but I hope that it may feed your soul as well!

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17 Responses to Food for My Soul

  1. Iris says:

    Thanks for being so open and honest, Min. I LOVE the verse that you shared – I know that often, when I face a difficulty, my first instinct is to question God and demand to know why He is putting me through it. But like you (and James) say, we should be thankful for the trials because they strengthen us and deepen our relationship with God. Sometimes it’s hard to remember this when we’re upset, but it’s something I strive to do as well!

    • Min says:

      Yes, that’s exactly right…easier said than done but I must try to embrace the trying times. God loves me and he does not give me more than I can handle (although that, too, seems hard to believe at times). If I depend and remain faithful to him, anything is possible!

  2. I love this post! I have been there… and still am in some degree. It is hard during the trials, but I’m learning that God wants to love me and to help me through them. We become stronger and more in tune to the Lord during these trials IF we trust him!

    • Min says:

      Yes yes…we talk all the time about being strong physically, but I’m definitely not strengthening my spiritual life, I say that I trust him with my mouth, but my thoughts and actions tell me otherwise. It’s time to change…

  3. Lauren says:

    Hi Min! While I understand everything you are saying and am happy you’re feeling better, you shouldn’t beat yourself up. God made you and knows you. Don’t feel like you have to be a ball of sunshine and that you can’t complain or mess up. I do it ALL the time, but I’m sorry for it, I try not to dwell on it, and I’m genuine in that I want to do better. I yell, I swear, I get jealous, I’m envious, I have thoughts I shouldn’t, etc. (and there is a lot of etc.)….but deep down I really love God and want to do my best. I just don’t want you to feel like you can’t have bad times. Tell God, ‘hey dude, I know you’re there, but I’m not in the mood to talk’ or ‘hey God, I’m pissed I’m not pregnant’. He knows you already feel that way…why hide it? I don’t think He wants us to robotically do something out of guilt or because ‘that’s what mom taught me’….I think He wants us to be REAL. I hope this helps on some level. I could definitely be wrong about all of this, but when I think of how I want someone to be with me, that’s what I want. I miss you girl! I feel like we haven’t ‘blogged’ like we used to, and I hope it changes. 🙂

    • Min says:

      Hi, Lauren! I miss you too! Oh, trust me, God’s definitely heard my complaints and all the “why me, how could you, when will you…” However, I can’t just keep on complaining like this like a child. I want to grow spiritually so that I can learn to trust and find comfort in him through the good times and the bad. In him, all things are possible, right? 😉

  4. I love this post Min! 🙂 I haven’t read the Bible yet, but I want to. I want to know more about the Bible and Christianity. Love from me

    • Min says:

      Oh, Leanne! I wish we lived closer so that we can read together! Holland is quite far from here, I believe 😉 But perhaps we still can! Would you want to?

      • That’s a lovely idea Min, but I just started a new study (sports nutrition) and together with a full time job I can hardly manage to do anything these days… I hope in a year from now I’ll have graduated with this second degree in nutrition and I’ll have more time and focus to study the Bible 🙂 If I do I’ll let you know, because we could share our thoughts 🙂

  5. Corrie Anne says:

    I’ve rededicated myself to a reading plan as well… and we just had a sermon in our church that talked about how God loves each one of us INDIVIDUALLY not just corporately as believers. Love that!! So happy to see your motivation to keep digging into the word!

    • Min says:

      I know right! By reading Chronicles, I can clearly see how God remembers and knows us all so intimately as individuals! Let’s keep each other in our prayers and really encourage one another in seeking our Lord!

  6. This post has filled my heart with joy! Not only am I excited to follow you on your journey, but I’m excited to JOIN you as well. My faith is in a very delicate place right now too; over the past year or so I’ve devoted more and more time to school, career development and blogging, and as a result, less time is being spent with God. Sure, I go to church (but even this has become intermittent, as I’ve allowed school projects or friends visiting to become priorities), and I’m part of a small group, but the time I spend with God in those two environments isn’t nearly as authentic as time spent in the Word alone. I’m going to follow your lead on this one, Min, and commit to reading every day. I want to get into the nitty gritty; I want to dig for answers that I’ve been searching for elsewhere because I *know* that they’re there. That’s been promised to us!

    I’m so grateful that you shared James 1:2-6; it’s what I needed to read tonight! I’ve had a bit of a rough week, and was still feeling unsettled until I read this. There is a REASON for our trials–it’s all part of a perfect plan, and we have *nothing* to fear! I have that faith that God will provide you with both answers and blessings. ❤ All we're asked to do is continue seeking, praying and living in the Word–persevering. 🙂

    I hope you don't mind, but that passage resonated so much with me, that I might share it on my blog tomorrow too!

    Love you tons!! xoxo ❤

  7. Min says:

    Sara, my beautiful friend….I’m so sorry that you’re going through some trying times right now. These past couple of months have been really tough for me as well..I feel so overwhelmed, confused, and unsettled constantly. I’m like this big stress bomb ready to explode at any moment. Instead of turning to God, I’ve been pushing him away..he was def not on my priority list..However, ever since I started spending some quite, uninterrupted time with the Lord, I feel much more liberated, refreshed, and calm. Isn’t James 1:2-6 just so powerful? Wow…
    I am assured bc I am not alone…I am going to start running this race with the Almighty!
    I def will be praying for you, Sara, as you walk hand in hand with God! May you find comfort in Him like I’m starting to… 😉 LOVE you to pieces!

  8. eatpraytri says:

    Min- I read this a little while ago and have been itching to comment. Finally got time. I loved reading this. I am glad you talked a little more about your spirituality and faith. It something I’ve been wanting to do more on my blog as well and intend to in the near future. I think all the points you hit on are so true. I have found so much joy and comfort from reading my bible more intimately these past few months. Its really amazing what it does for us when we stay close to the word. It has a HUGE impact on daily life. Its all so beautiful to me how God works in each of our lives so closely. Blows my mind every time I think about it. What a wonderful, loving and amazing God and we dont deserve a second of it. I will continue to keep you in my prayers and I know God has amazing plans for your life!! 😉

  9. I love this! I couldn’t agree with you more that having a strong faith is one of the keys to being happy & healthy.
    Currently, I’m trying to read the Bible in one year. I have an app on my phone and iPad {I know…that’s a lot of technology}, so it helps me keep track of how many and what chapters to read each day. I try to read out of my actual Bible, but sometimes, it’s nice to have the Bible at my fingertips. I also love that the app reads the Bible to me. It helps keep me a little more interested at times. The app I use is the Bible.is {Faith Coomes by Hearing} app; I really like their narrating. I also use You Version and they have really good Bible studies & devotionals {in case you’re looking for some supplements to what you’re doing now}. Also, if you haven’t already, you should check out SheReadsTruth.com – they have Bible studies & a forum for you to connect with other women about the verses & topic each day. I’ve found that really helpful, especially since it’s hard to find & organize a consistent Bible study with friends.
    I can’t wait to read about what you are learning throughout your journey, and I’ll be praying for you 🙂

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