Okay, I’m going to let you in on some of the excitement that my wife, Roxann, and I have in our private conversations. Here’s a common conversation of ours. “Where do you want to eat?” “I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?” “I don’t know. You decide.” Yes, we’re boring. But, I bet you can you relate! Right?!
Inevitably, as we repeat that mind-numbing conversation, one of us mentions how we wish we could go to Chick-fil-a or the Cheesecake Factory…two restaurants that we’re always hungering for because there isn’t one near us. When we travel, we’ll actually go out of our way to eat at one of those “heavenly places.”
However, the same use to be true of Carrabba’s, P.F.Chang’s, and even Baha Fresh. But, not any more. They came to our area. We ate at them frequently…too frequently. And now, they’ve just become like every other restaurant in our area. BORING! We go once in a while. They still have decent food. But, they’re old hat. We can have them any time. We want something different.
And, there we have it. The interesting truth about appetite. We tend to hunger and long for what we can’t have rather than what we can have. It tends to be a huge problem in our lives…in every area. Relationally…we tend to get bored being with the person we once would have given anything to spend a day with. Vocationally…we tend to get bored with the job we once would have given anything to have a shot at. And, tragically…the same thing happens spiritually.
Of course, when it comes to restaurants, who cares if we get bored and move on to other ones. It makes no difference. But, when it comes to our relational, vocational, and, more importantly, spiritual lives, we all need to care. It’s a big deal. If we get bored in our spiritual lives, we can (and will) get our minds on the wrong things and make messed up choices. (e.g. Peter in Matthew 16:23 – Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”)
The question is: what can we do? Here’s a suggestion…we can intentionally do new things to keep our spiritual lives fresh without changing the underlying appetite. We can’t stop hungering for God and His Word. But, we can try new recipes for filling and fulfilling the hunger.
Here’s one example from my life. I used to read the Bible through every year…year after year. To be honest, it got boring. It became a bit formulaic and even ritualistic for me. So, I began doing alternative things every other year. (e.g. Having read through the Bible last year…this year I’m taking a deep dive into the life and teaching of Jesus in the Gospels and reading as many books as possible focused on Jesus Himself.)
Point: I didn’t stop hungering for God and His Word. On the contrary, I’ve actually increased my hunger by intentionally doing “new things” that keep me growing in and longing for the right things. (I’ve done the same thing by getting involved in new areas and ways of serving.)