Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Created to Crave: Part 1

Craving is Natural

We all crave things.  Some of our cravings can drive us to become better people or to sacrifice for the benefit of another person. We have other cravings which put the focus squarely on us and we hope that no one will try to prevent us from satisfying our longing.

We crave small things and we crave large things.  From coffee to cars to careers we find desires inside of us that compel us to live in a certain way and to do certain things.  Some cravings we are not very aware of and other cravings become the driving force of our lives.  I have grown to understand: to live is to crave.

Pause for a moment and ponder this question: What are the desires that drive your life?

The most noticeable cravings that we have are physical cravings.  We have them everyday, and sometimes we don’t even recognize that we desire these things until we go without them, and then our bodies make clear what it desires.

Our need for food is possibly the most obvious craving we have.  Several times a day our body will remind us that it is time for food.  For many of us our bodies don’t just crave food, but they crave certain foods.  We will crave chocolate, fried chicken, apple pie, pizza, or ice cream.  Sometimes we will even crave weird things.

I remember a couple of years ago I had been sick for nearly a week and had hardly felt like eating. I knew I was starting to feel better when I developed this huge craving for Macaroni and Cheese.  Because I am a little weird, or a lot weird depending on who you talk to, I like to eat Macaroni and Cheese with peas mixed in.  So I went and bought a couple of boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and frozen peas and gave into my craving.  Some cravings just have to be met. 

Another physical craving that we have, and one I doubt that we think much about is air.  If you are ever in a room and you see someone not breathing make sure you call 911 because our bodies crave air. We don’t know how much our bodies crave oxygen until we go without for a while.  

One of the things I enjoy when I go swimming is to see how long I can stay underwater.  I have never been able to last very long.  I don’t think I have managed much more than 10 seconds.  Yet at the end of those ten seconds my lungs are on fire, crying out for the oxygen that I need to survive.  Some craving are essential to survival.

A third physical craving I have experienced is sleep.  Because of electricity many of us get less sleep than we should.  We stay up late into the night watching TV, surfing the World Wide Web, or even reading.  Because of alarm clocks we can make sure we can get up early so we can go to work, to school, or get to Walmart.  We are a sleep deprived nation and rather than giving into the craving to sleep we try to medicate ourselves with caffeine: soda, coffee, and the increasingly popular energy drinks.

I don’t know about you but I have had my share of nights where I stayed up all night.  Several years ago I got a new game for my Playstation 2Star Wars Battlefront 2.  I quickly became addicted to the game I had playing it for hours and before I knew it it was 5:00AM. I faced a dilemma: do I go to bed for a couple of hours or just stay up and try to manage the day without sleep.  I decided that going to bed wasn’t worth it and continued to stay up.  I went through the next day and with each passing hour my body seemed to cry out for sleep.  It was so good to fall into bed the next evening and give into what my body was desperately craving.  It feels good to succumb to cravings.

Our bodies were created to crave.  Cravings don’t have to be about indulgences like chocolate or coffee, but can be about the basic necessities of life.  I think when it comes to our soul cravings, the deepest longings of our hearts, they are often about the abundant life Jesus offers.  We may try to meet these cravings through indulgences like sex, money, or partying.  What we discover is that a life of indulgence does not satisfies our cravings, they only numb us to the presence of those cravings.  

If we are going to live the full life that God has created us to live then we need to know the soul cravings of our lives. Take moment and  examine your life.  Ask yourself this question: What is your heart crying out for?

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