Author: Kimberley Mulder
Thrive is such an invigorating, exciting word, bursting with promise and exuberance! Within it is abundance, life, fullness, robustness, and joy. We all want to thrive. If it could be bottled and sold it would make billions. The self-help industry has tried, but thriving is not for sale. Thriving is not owned or bought.
Thriving is a state of being, a description of living. It is life with Jesus: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Our culture has co-opted the phrase “having it to the full” to mean we must fill every nook and cranny of our lives with activity, experience, and stuff. Instead of it reflecting our being in Jesus it is now a grasping and striving. It was never meant to be something we achieve or accomplish. We can only thrive when we stop straining to do so. In American culture, stopping the strain is frowned upon as a sign of weakness, or, at best, impatiently tolerated. But stop we must to attend to the meal Jesus is offering our spirits.
Our spirits are born hungry, just as our bodies are. Just as the hungry person will eat almost anything to satisfy, we are tempted to put anything into our spirit to sate it. The babe is given mother’s milk, slowly introduced to new foods and warned sternly away from those things that will injure or kill. Yet our spirits often lack that training, so we fill it with dissatisfying things much like a malnourished child.
A child given highly refined foods and lacking fresh produce is nourished but very poorly. His body is deceived into feeling full while still not getting what it needs. His body adapts the best it can, but he is unhealthy—so it is with our spirit.
A spiritual diet rich in deception will bloat and sicken the soul. Our spirits need to feed on truth, love, joy, peace, and hope. Our spirits need Jesus. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” -John 6:35 “Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the Father.”- Matthew 4:4
Failure to thrive is a failure to grow. Like doctors and parents everywhere we affix the label “failure to thrive” to problems we cannot figure out the cause. It can strike terror into our hearts.
We may very well be living under that label, unsure of what is causing our “failure to thrive”. Sometimes we don’t even notice it until we stop long enough to take inventory of our feelings, thoughts, and ways.
So, this January day, when the rivers of holiday busy-ness have run their course, and you find yourself on a lonely sandbar, consider whether you are thriving.
Have you been more irritable of late?
Have you noticed a “deadpan” feeling running through your days?
Take some time to notice and then walk into Jesus’ presence with it. As Lord of all, He knows if it stems from a spirit undernourishment, or a physical depletion, or both. It is okay, nay, necessary, to stop and say: “Lord, I am empty. I don’t even know what I need, but I ask you for it.”
He, the Bread of Life, desires to fill you.