Sunday, July 17, 2011

Revisiting ... I'm Cranky because I'm Hungry

Every now and then I like to look back at where I was a year ago and read a little bit about what life was like then. I needed to read this again today because the grumblings have become more pronounced during last week's chaos. Here's to a filling week, for you and me both.

Originally posted July, 1, 2010
I've noticed the meltdowns are a whole lot hotter at our house when my boys are hungry.

Sometimes none of us realize that their hunger manifests itself in general crankiness and the whining drives me to run for the front door, much like Heather today, and search for just a few minutes of solitude, an escape from the noise.

When I finally realize it's as easy as giving them a snack, something to fill up their stomachs and mellow their hunger, I breath a sigh of relief and load their little hands up with nutritious, satiating foods like apples and cheese instead of candy and cookies. I don't want them to sugar buzz and then crash and burn all over again, you know.

And the meltdowns quickly mellow, like a pot of boiling water, from large, bursting water bubbles to a gentle simmer and finally to cool, still water.

You know, I'm a lot like my boys.

I have moments where I just totally lose my cool and become completely irrational, groaning, stomping and throwing a general unattractive adult temper tantrum in the face of minor inconveniences and offenses.

Sometimes I lose it when the whining persists; sometimes the things that send me into a fury of grumbling are as simple as picking up yet another dirty dish from the living room or finding half-full-of-milk cereal bowls inches away from an empty dishwasher.

I didn't realize it until this morning, but, my meltdowns are a whole lot hotter when I'm hungry, too. In these moments, I'm cranky because I'm hungry. I'm not physically hungry, like my boys; rather my soul is hungry; it's growling for spiritual food.

As I was reading a chapter on satisfaction in Beth Moore's book, Breaking Free {which I'm reading with my good friend Stephanie, who is such an encouragement and blessing. Do you know her?}, I had this epiphany, lovingly handed to me in just a few simple, yet so complex paragraphs.

Moore says: "We can learn several truths about satisfied souls by drawing parallels between the soul and the physical body ....The soul can manifest physical symptoms of need. I like to think of it this way: Just like my stomach growls when I'm hungry for physical food, my spirit tends to growl when I'm in need of spiritual food."

When I'm snapping at my kids, barking at my husband, stomping my feet over life's spilled milk, I need to do the same thing for my soul that I do for my kids when their bellies are hungry: I need to feed it.

For me, I feed my soul in so many ways: reading God's Word, praying, spending moments in solitude and silence, writing here in this space about the ideas He's layed on my heart, creating.

Of course, I'm filled the most and am the most satiated when I'm finding my fulfillment, my satisfaction in Him. But, admittedly, I also feed my soul by tending to the desires He's laid on my heart. Writing, painting, photographing, in short, creating, also feeds my soul.

This ephiphany, for me, was so freeing of the guilt that ususally attaches itself to me after I've had a hot temper tantrum.

I'm not a bad mom.

I'm not failing.

I'm just hungry. And in my quest to feed everyone else, I've forgotten or neglected to feed myself.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." Psalm 23

So when your spirit grumbles, what do you do? What feeds your soul? And does what your feeding it fuel you for an entire day or does it, like candy, cause you to go strong for an hour and then crash from the sugar buzz?