You must give yourself what you’re hungry for.
Not only is that truth, not only is that good advice, but it’s a non-negotiable law of the universe, no different than the law of gravity. You ignore it to your peril.
Give yourself what you’re hungry for, and you will live and heal and grow.
Deprive yourself of what you’re hungry for, and you will get sick and die.
This applies equally to our body (food, exercise, rest) and to our souls (people, activities, environment, experiences).
But most of us inwardly react when told about this law, thinking, no, that’s not really true, if I followed that I would be in trouble. And when we think that, we’re actually thinking of two reasons:
1- I’ve done that before, and what I was hungry for hurt me
2- It’s selfish or sinful to focus on my own needs
The first reason, “but what I was hungry for hurt me” happens because often we don’t know what we are truly hungry for, what truly is nourishing to us.
Let’s look at food first. We have all been conditioned to eat fast food and processed food and too much food, and all our internal signals for what tastes good and when we are hungry are all messed up, and it takes a conscious effort to clear out old habits and help our bodies re-learn what they are truly hungry for, to start feeding them healthy food that truly tastes good. We’ve been so used to bland store-bought tomatoes that we forget how different fresh tomatoes taste. The first time I bit into a stalk of fresh organic celery I thought “whoa, this doesn’t taste like celery at all”– I could taste the natural saltiness and minerals in it that helps make celery so nutritious for our body.
The same goes for relationships and experiences. All of us have experienced attracting people who initially seem good for us but turn out to be nightmares. Likewise, sometimes the healthy people who will truly love and support us for who we are seem nowhere to be found.
We fall into experiences and addictions and habits that at a superficial level we crave, but down deep rot our souls. Just like with unhealthy food, unhealthy people and experiences can come from unhealthy conditioning, often stemming from our childhood. These unhealthy patterns can take a long time to sort out and heal from, but just knowing they exist is a start, acknowledging that some of our attractions and desires are not healthy and need to be cleaned out and replaced is the first step.
The second reason we get this truth wrong, that we must give ourselves what we are hungry for, is that we feel that it’s selfish or unloving to say that we’re needy and that we need to be fed. We feel that we always need to be the ones sacrificing and giving and that if we do it will all work out. We see it as more noble or more godly, and feel that’s what we’re here for, that’s what pleases God. But giving and giving and never receiving is not God’s recipe for life, but for sickness and death.
Look at Christ’s example while He was on this earth— He said that he was the good shepherd, and that meant that he wanted us to be good sheep. And a good sheep allows the shepherd to lead it into a place of safety and abundance so that it can live and grow. A shepherd would never say to his sheep, “You evil and selfish sheep, eating this good grass and drinking this pure brook water, what do you think you are doing?”
Christ gave physical food to his disciples when they were hungry. Christ said he was a spiritual fountain of life that we could drink freely from. The apostles taught that we were His body, and that all of us were here to freely support each other, freely giving and receiving to help heal and build each other up.
So, please, today, give yourself permission to be a good sheep. Don’t starve yourself. Begin the process of healing your conditioning and desires. Let Spirit guide you into what you’re truly hungry for, what He truly longs to give you, both body and soul, and live the life you were meant to live.