Urban Dictionary defines “hangry” as: When you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both. So what does it mean to be “spiritually hangry?”
Although you may not be familiar with the term (because I just made it up) I suspect that most of us have been there before. Other terms for this experience are “spiritual dryness,” “a crisis of belief” or “a dark night of the soul.” When you are wanting to hear from God about a given topic, or even to feel acknowledged by him at all, but just can’t seem to get anything back from him, and you become frustrated and you feel isolated…you become spiritually hangry.
After I graduated from my masters program, I felt like I was supposed to move to Baton Rouge from New Orleans, rather than return to St. Louis, MO, where I’m from. I had a place to stay for free but no job and no good contacts in my profession to speak of. I sent out resumes to anyone that sparked my interests at all. I got the most frustrating feedback on the planet, “your resume and references are literally the best we’ve ever seen, but we don’t have any spots available at this time.” I finished school in May and it was a long seven months of little to no income before I finally had a full-time job offer. During that time, I questioned if I had heard correctly from God in moving to Baton Rouge or even in choosing the vocation of counseling. I even experienced an earth-shattering loss during that season. And to boot, I watched my car get hit one morning while eating my breakfast. I couldn’t win for losing and there was little light in the darkness. On lots of days, it was the best I could do to find enough structure in my life to keep depression at bay.
Have you ever been so hungry for hearing something from God for so long that you start to get angry about it? If you were just regular hangry, you could just hurry up and go get something to eat. But there’s not a lot of room for “hurry up” when it comes to God. So what is it that we are supposed to do when we get spiritually hangry?
When you start to feel moody about your relationship with God, it can complicate things in your head pretty quickly. You can start to over-analyze, shut down, doubt yourself and doubt God. You doubt if God exists…if he’s on your team…if he sees what’s going on…if he cares about what is unfolding in your life…if he has the answers and he’s just not telling you for some reason. The list could go on and on! You can see how someone might get in a bad place pretty quickly if they feel like they really need something from God but can’t get to it for whatever reason.
So what should you do if you find yourself in a place of being “spiritually hangry”?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself that may bring you some clarity, fresh perspective, but most of all…Hope.
- Besides the topic that is frustrating you, what else is really working in your life? Make a list.
- What credit can you give yourself that you’re hungry for hearing from God at all? What does that say about you?
- Have you written out your request or concern to God? This is no magic trick, it can sometimes provide clarity about your own desires when you slow down and have to put pen to paper.
- Is there anyone you feel like you should “bring into the loop” to pray with you regarding your experience or request?
- What’s the last thing you heard clearly from God?
- Follow up question: did you walk that out? (If the answer is no, that’s the place to pick up).
- In 20 years, what do you think you’ll look back and understand about God’s silence on the matter?
- What if you never hear back from God on this topic? What’s the next logical thing you could do?
- What does God’s (perceived) non-communication say about your value to God?
- If there’s anything on that list that you suspect your best friend or God wouldn’t say about you, it’s probably not true.
- What does God’s (perceived) non-communication say about God’s power and involvement in your life?
- If there’s anything on that list that you suspect someone you trust and respect wouldn’t say about God, it’s probably not true.
This list is not meant to frustrate you further but to hopefully get your gears turning about new perspectives on your season of “spiritual hanger’. If this post stirs up more questions than it answers, please feel free to contact me here.