Food for the Soul
As we grow up, we absorb all kinds of information from our parents. Some is about survival: look both ways before you cross the street. Some deals with gender roles: good girls/boys do/don't ______. And some is about scarcity and abundance. My favorite belief absorbed this way comes straight from my father: there will always be enough. For as long as I can remember, I have always been certain that I would have enough. I may never be outrageously rich, but I will never go hungry or be without shelter. This is a knowing so deep that, growing up, I never even questioned it – it was simply the way the world worked. As I grew older, I discovered people in my life who did not share this belief. I still find them. They continue to amaze me, and I continue to confound them.
I once had an argument with a friend who was worried about money. I told him he shouldn’t worry – that his current financial problems would all work out, because, I explained, the Universe always provides for us. He looked at me with a rather pained expression and moaned, "Yes, but the Universe likes you!" He went on to explain that he didn’t think it was particularly fond of him.
Protected by this belief, I always felt a bit smug about the whole topic of abundance. This lasted until I went to church one Sunday and discovered that I only applied all those lessons I learned from my father about abundance, about always having enough, to my physical reality. The sermon that day was about communicating with the God of Your Heart. By the end of the service I was in a mild state of shock. I’d had a revelation about the way I thought about and communicated with God. I was rationing my communication – using only as much as strictly necessary – just in case there wasn’t enough. What if I went to talk to God and I’d already used up the time allocated to me for the month? What would I do? Of course, looking at it that way makes it appear very silly.
I did a quick mental review of the parts of the bible I think of in relation to abundance. While these passages all make it clear that God will provide, the assurances appear only refer to our physical (or body) reality. The intent was to calm fears about not having food, cloths, or shelter. I took out my bible to see if I could find anything more: something to bolster my new awareness. Finally I found what I was looking for, a passage about physical and spiritual abundance. From Acts 14:17, "...he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."
What an odd phrase, filling our hearts with food. What kind of food, I asked myself, does a heart – a soul – require? At last, an easy question in my internal dialog. Food for the soul is spiritual freedom. It includes a personal connection with God and the clear understanding that God provides, for the asking, spiritual as well as physical abundance.
Now when I talk to God I no longer worry about "using up" all of my time. I know that abundance, always having enough, means enough for my physical survival, but also enough for my spiritual sustenance. How much is enough? That’s another easy question: as much as I want.