Confession: While I deeply want to be loved for who I am (and fear that I might not be), I settle for admiration. It feels like love. But that’s like eating a hot dog when what I need is rich soul food.
It’s easier, feeding off admiration. Admiration is more accessible. It’s more within my control to seek out the praise of others than it is to lay myself bare before them and hope I am enough in myself. I pour my energy into dazzling others with my gifts and tell myself I’m satisfied while my true hunger lies under the surface, unmet.
We all have our hot dogs.
Our hot dogs are those easy, cheap, artificial substitutes for what our hearts deeply crave. We eat the worldly foods we hope will bring us life. Because we don’t believe our true needs will be met, we settle for less.
We all settle for something lesser to satisfy our souls.
We want to be wanted, but we settle for being needed.
Our souls need true connection, but we settle for false peace, fueled by a fear of confrontation.
We want intimacy, but we settle for staying in control, hiding our weaknesses where they cannot be touched.
We feed on competence, reputation, usefulness, perfectionism, security, self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, busy schedules and so much more.
A few years ago, the taste of success began to sour for me.
Oh, don’t get me wrong-I love the feeling that I have accomplished something. I never fail to appreciate admiration. But I could feed off success all day long and twice on Sunday and never satisfy the deep hunger of my soul to be known and loved for who I am. That is a desire for which admiration is a pale substitute.
It’s like I woke one day and realized I have been feeding myself bread made from sawdust. Worse than a hot dog. That is the act of a person who is starving and must feed herself any way she can. It is the act of a person who doesn’t believe there is manna for her to eat instead.
God in his mercy keeps showing me ways I am trying to find life and love where it is not meant to be found. He keeps drawing my eyes back to Him and His provisions. God loves me too much to let me go hungry.
He calls me to drop the hot dogs.
He tells me to stop trying to feed myself something that isn’t going to satisfy. (We can have a pretty tight grip on our hot dogs. Sometimes He has to outright smack them out of our hands. Word to the wise-just let go. It’s easier).
Instead of our hot dogs, God is offering us a feast.
When we stop scrambling to feed ourselves, we see how He is providing rich food all around us. We see the manna of His presence, peace, joy, and love in all the ordinary moments He gives us throughout the day. He is constantly trying to feed us.
As I step back from seeking admiration, the deeper hunger of my heart has come to the surface. I am learning to own the hunger, to feel it more deeply rather than ignore it. I hear His invitation to the feast. The call to feast on Him alone is more satisfying than anything I could feed myself.
Don’t believe the lie that the hot dog will satisfy.
It’s not what you need. What He offers is better. Ask Him to show you what you are settling for, and how you are trying to feed yourself. What you hunger for is found best in Him. He is the source of love, the bread of life. Be satisfied in Him.