A Craving Worth Satisfying

It only takes a few weeks overseas for the cravings to begin. It depends on where you live and what is unavailable, but it’s easy to come up with a list of things we crave.

The cravings usually begin with foods that aren’t really accessible. Here, it’s things like good pizza, Mexican food, tasty ice cream, a variety of cheeses, bacon, and cereal.

Then the cravings turn more external: comfortable furniture, clean living space, clear information about your job/role, quiet places and personal space.

Then after a while the cravings are more inward focused again and more intense. You crave to be known. You want to know what in the world is going on around you. You crave deep connections with people where you live.

If you are single, you may crave a relationship. If you are a mom, you may crave alone time with a side of peace and quiet.

The act of craving isn’t actually a bad thing. It simply means to long for something or to desire something eagerly. It’s what we are craving that determines if it is good or not.

In the New Living Translation, 1 John 2:16 says, “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”

A craving for physical pleasure. That’s a pretty broad category. On the negative side those cravings might include things like emotional eating or inappropriate relationships. But even a craving for physical comforts and conveniences can turn our focus toward the world and not the Father if we let it.

There are positive sides to this craving too though. I’ll never understand it, but I’ve heard plenty of people talk about how going for a good, long run really helps them connect with the Father and turns their heart toward Him. That is physical trauma for me, not pleasure. But I’ll try to believe them. Living downtown in a city of 8 million people, I crave to go out and sit in nature. I can breathe in clean air and bask in natural beauty. It’s good for my soul but it’s also just good for me physically and it turns my heart toward the Father.

A craving for everything we see. There has been a lot more talk over the last year or so about how social media can lead to serious envy and depression for people if they don’t remember that people mostly post about the positive parts of their life. With the interconnectivity of the world today, we have access to see way more than anyone before us. It definitely stirs up cravings in us that pull us toward the world and not toward the Father at times. Someone else has a better living situation. Someone else’s relationship seems way better than yours. Someone else is in the best shape of her life and your shape could be described with several unflattering food metaphors.

But sometimes the things we see can inspire us to serve better or give us an idea for something great we could be part of. I see someone else’s picture of how much they love serving where they are and it motivates me to love the place where I am too. I hear someone’s story of what the Father is doing in local people’s lives around them and I desire for the Father to bring that to be true around me as well.

So I’ve been asking myself a simple question lately when I feel a craving stirring inside of me. Does this craving point me toward the Father or is it pulling me towards the world? Pretty simple way to assess whether I should feed that craving or not.

When I feel the strong desire for Mexican food welling up in my belly, I know that’s a craving to feed because my gratitude for what I’ll consume definitely goes to the Father for His creativity in creating diverse cultures and amazing flavors.

When I crave to escape from a situation I’m in, it’s getting easier to discern if it’s because of the Father’s leading or if it’s some fear or selfishness within me.

Even though our circumstances in life are all different, we are all full of cravings that can either point us toward the Father and glorify him or pull us toward the world and glorify ourselves. We just have to figure out which cravings to nourish and which ones to starve.

~~~

What are some lighthearted and/or deeper cravings you have?
Do you have any positive cravings you want to nourish?
If you have some cravings you need to starve, who could hold you accountable and walk alongside you in that process?

10 Comments

  1. Elizabeth April 6, 2016

    Love this!! Reminds me of our Wild in the Hollow book club that talked about how our longings always point to the kingdom we’re serving. Another question I ask myself is “whose kingdom am I building?” It helps me align my choices with truth better.

    Also I love your bio!

    1. Valerie April 6, 2016

      Elizabeth that is a GREAT question to ask! I’ll add that to my list!

      1. Jonathan Trotter April 6, 2016

        P.S. It didn’t originate with me. I adapted it from the excellent ideas in Paul Tripp’s book Dangerous Calling. But the question does happen to be taped on the wall next to my computer. 🙂

        1. Elizabeth April 7, 2016

          Sorry my computer was in the shop, and I used my husband’s without realizing I was signed in under his name. That comment really was me. Sorry!

  2. Shelly Miller April 6, 2016

    Enjoyed your thoughts Valerie. We’ve just arrived at one year here in London and as I walked home last night with the hubs we shared a conversation about being a bit homesick. We love where we are so it seems a bit out of place for us but we both realized our longing isn’t about a place as much as it is about longing for connection with people with whom we have deep relationships. You put some words to my inner ponderings today. Thank you.

    1. Valerie April 6, 2016

      It often seems for me too that there is a deeper longing to be discovered the more I talk through something and the place where the conversation started is just a symptom. Longing for connection is something we can probably all identify with! The enemy loves to use isolation or feeling “unknown” to get at us. Will be asking for some sweet new connections in y’alls lives!

  3. T April 7, 2016

    For me, an interesting thing about my cravings is also, “Is this something that will actually be best fulfilled/I need to save for heaven/the new earth?”  Not in relation to, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, but maybe with wanting our own lasting home and the security that brings (or not…we are thinking of buying a house in the USA sometime for us to use when we are there and when our kids are in college, etc).  I was really encouraged when I read Heaven by Randy Alcorn…he really thinks that the new earth will be similar to this one, but perfect, and I might get to ski the Alps then, and go white water rafting and see the beauty of New Zealand…those are definite cravings I have.

    1. Valerie April 8, 2016

      Yeah sometimes I also wonder if some of my cravings are better left for later too. What an interesting idea too about what the new earth will be like and what kind of things we will be able to do. I could make a pretty long list for that kind of thing!

  4. Katie April 7, 2016

    Valerie, this is such a good reminder! As someone who has been living in one country for 8 months for language learning, about to return to her home country for 2 months, and then off to her host country for 2+ years, I have and will continue to experience craving on different levels. Not all cravings are bad and not all are good, but sometimes in the moment it’s difficult to remember that. Thanks again!

  5. Valerie April 8, 2016

    Katie that is definitely a lot of transition! And transition often brings a pretty mixed bag of cravings on its own. Hopefully the 2 months at home will be what you need to kick off a longer term return to your host country!

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