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?