Hibernation and Soul Hunger

I have that urge again.  That urge to quit my job and pull up shop and live an easy life where parents of students don’t accuse and students know you through community work and not as a teacher and I go home alone with no texts or calls from people who need my help.  That urge to run.  To hibernate.

A friend texted me last night and told me I should write a post about hibernation.  I laughed it off.  I knew what she meant.  That innate desire to live where it is warm and read books at night and venture outside to celebrate God’s beautiful creation.  The life that doesn’t have errands or hard days or IEPs (individualized education plans) or crazy holidays.  That place where you don’t jump at phone calls coming in through the classroom line that you know are just a parent about to yell at you or blame you…because let’s be honest…you’ve never had a parent call and thank you in the eight years you’ve taught school.  And I laughed off my friend’s text and went to bed.

I wake up early on Tuesdays to teach yoga to students before school.  I love these kids!  They are the ones who laugh at my jokes and seek me out in the hallway to talk about their day.  But I hit snooze anyway (…4 times).  After yoga and a returned parent phone call and two snarky emails, I sit in my freezing cold, silent classroom.  And I realize how badly I want to hibernate.

I’m not sure why it always comes around this time of year.  If it’s the cold, short days that lend themselves to being inside too much and a need to travel to a warmer climate.  If it’s the end of the grading period and parents finally taking a look at their child’s grade and then asking them about it and amidst the chaos, the teacher getting blamed for work not turned in and less than satisfactory grades.  If it’s being single and a leader and an introvert all at once that contributes to just wanting one person to step up and lift the days pressures off my shoulders, walk away with them, and not ask any questions.

Ultimately it’s a soul hunger.  We weren’t meant to live in this broken world with harsh words and insecurities.  We were made to live with God and be fully known and loved.  These days are the hardest.  There isn’t anything inherently wrong.  There’s just an urge.  A soul hunger.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.  Philippians 3:20-21

So what do you do with that soul hunger?  I want to surf the internet for a new job.  I want to hand out worksheets and not bother with teaching today.  I want to go home right when the bell rings and curl up on my couch and not move until it’s time for bed.  But if my soul is really hungry, then the only thing that will truly satisfy it is God.  Our life is just a whole bunch of moments and how we handle each of those moments can determine whether we cross the finish line whole…satisfied… limping, but with our eyes on the prize.  So I prayed.  I told God exactly how I felt.

Today is the 23rd birthday of an old student.  He commented on his “Happy Birthday” facebook post that he still knew all of his amendments…”like a boss.”  I looked to the right hand side of my desk at my stacks of graded papers and I saw the six-year old faded post-it-note from that student that said, “Have a nice day Ms. Robb.”  The bell rang for class and an upset student that I’ve fought to reach this semester came up and confided in me how badly their morning was going.  A senior came and showed me her completed senior project.  My heart rate slowed.  God had come through.

I will still go home and hibernate.  I need to be alone to recharge.  But my hibernation no longer has a negative tinge coloring the choice.  And my urge isn’t completely gone, but it’s not in the forefront of my mind.  And next week or tomorrow or in an hour I will have another bout of soul hunger.  And I will have that moment where I choose to satisfy myself with God or with perishable things that feel good at the time and then leave me feeling empty.

And hibernation is nice.  Sometimes it’s even necessary so you can fight harder battles on the other side.  But God doesn’t call us to a life of comfort.  To a life anxiety-free complete with yoga pants, UGG boots, and an old sweatshirt.  God calls us into a battle.  And sometimes the mundane and the feeling insignificant and the wanting to be alone is part of the battle.

“Sometimes the hardest times to consent to the Spirit’s vibrant life within are days marked by no special grief or joy, days like most days, “every day” days. Fill me.”
~Jean Fleming

So I pray that God reminds me how to fight.  That He reminds me who I am.  That He shows me I am cherished.  And I pray for soul satisfaction from God and from the purposes He has laid on my life so far.  And I pray for the time to hibernate and also the strength to come out of hibernation and begin again.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:12



10 thoughts on “Hibernation and Soul Hunger

  1. This was so beautifully written, that I can’t even think of anything to say. I just sat here for 5 minutes soaking it all in and then re-reading it. It also describes a lot of the way I feel this time of year, and I suspect it describes the way many others feel. The difference is that I don’t have the students, the parents, the calls, etc. You are a very strong peson Elizabeth and sometimes we have to hibernate, to get ready for the battle God has in store. Much love to a special person that God put in all our lives!

  2. I cried as I read this Liz because this is my life this year with my students. They are almost all special needs in a regular education classroom and I have no parent support this year….just all the complaints. It has been hard. Thank you so much for this post and the feeling that I am not alone in the human world even though I am constantly reminded that if God is for me who can be against me. Love you! I will pray that your upcoming semester will the most blessed of your career so far!

    • Girl! You. Are. Not. Alone. I’m glad this touched you. You have a support system! So do I! We can cry about this or we can cry out to our Father! It’s not easy either way! We need to get lunch/coffee sometime…for real.

      • That would be wonderful Liz. I so need that. Let’s try to get together over Christmas break at some point.

  3. This is a really hard time of year I think for everyone. Having a loving Father to lean on certainly makes it bearable and better to go through. I think of falling off the map all the time, but always ask what satisfaction will it bring? And I always end up staying the path I am on. Lovely post for sure, and definitely accurate!

  4. Yes, yes, and yes! You know, soul hunger has been quite a theme for me the past couple weeks… and usually that’s a sign that God is trying to tell me something. It’s all been about rest, and margin, and receiving Jesus, and not just loving the idea of [joy/Christmas/insert spiritual concept here], but loving Christ, finding joy in him. How real satisfaction comes from Him, and how attempting to find it from anything else leaves me wanting. I am about to publish a post related to this, too! Have you read thenester.com blog? She talks about “undecorating” for Christmas… Anyhow, it’s all related. Now, I’m babbling… Have some coffee, new friend. (Or tea, if you must… coffee takes me to substantially happier place than tea most of the time.) And maybe we can hibernate- just a little- each day (week?) this winter. 😀

    • mmmm coffee…and tea! I headed over to thenester.com and checked out her stuff. I love her idea of “undecorating.” I think I’ve been slowly trying to teach myself this in all aspects of my life. That desire to be perfect and then beating myself up for not actually succeeding. The letting go. The resting in God. Sometimes even the resting can be hard. Now, off to drink more coffee 🙂

  5. Pingback: Reclaiming Abundance: He Will Be Our Sanctuary (week 14!) |

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