Hangry: adj. (han-gree) a state of emotional angst caused by lack of sufficient nourishment, an increasingly negative outlook as a result of increased hunger.
Have you ever been hangry? I have.
Usually, I don’t realize the cause though the symptoms are pretty obvious (to others):
It’s a family member that usually helps me out. They start out with kind words. “Hey, you okay?” or questions, “Wow, rough day?” and they move toward mirroring, “You don’t seem yourself. What’s up?”
If I get defensive they help me see that my words or actions are not reflecting who they know me to be. If they are really on their game they just offer me something, like my favorite: a well crafted Starbucks Chai Latte (grande, 9 pumps, nonfat, no foam – just in case you were wondering).
What I don’t like is that my hunger has affected my sense of well being. My lack of sufficient nourishment has impeded my ability to be my best self.
The Snickers people have this down pat. Remember those commercials where the raging lunatic is doing something crazy till his friend gives him a Snickers and he changes back to his normal self?
So, why are we talking about food, Cindy? I’m glad you asked!
What if there is a spiritual hangry that’s even more important to be aware of than the physical one?!
When we are spiritually hangry the symptoms are pretty obvious (to others).
We need to be filled spiritually as much or more than we need to be filled physically. (John 4:32) When we are nourished we are centered on and connected with God. We are aware of His goodness, grace and kindness. We have hope. We are more patient and we have a growing sense of trust that God has good in store for us and others. As coaches, leaders, or caregivers of any sort, our first responsibility is to be filled and nourished ourselves.
Then we can be kind enough to call out spiritual hanger in others. When we see them not being themselves we can ask kind and direct questions like “Hey, you okay?”, “Wow, rough day?” or “You don’t seem yourself. What’s up?”
We can help take the edge off by offering the spiritual equivalent of a favorite drink or a Snickers. That might be sending an encouraging text, a song that suits their situation, a verse that calls out God’s faithfulness, or whatever God prompts you to do.
But let’s not stop at taking the edge off, that’s just the start.
We all need to be filled spiritually to avoid the skewed view that being hangry brings.
What fills you? What fills your people?
Here are some nourishment options I have seen fill people, connect them with God, fuel their faith and help them grow.
And there are many more. If you were hoping to see one listed that wasn’t there you can feel free to add it in! Your heart may be yearning for it!
So, the question is: Are you hangry? Even a little?
How can you help those around you to be filled and nourished?
Enjoy your journey – God made it special for you!
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