I’ve never been a huge fan of chicken soup. I like it if it’s homemade—actual chunks of meat, rice, herbs, and tons of vegetables— but the canned stuff is kind of limply nasty.
Thus, the term “chicken soup of the soul” (which seems to mean something inspirational that is soothing, healthful, and restoring to the spirit and heart) doesn’t mean much to me. I don’t find the ingredients on the Campbell’s label very restoring. We need a new comparison: something dense, rich, and sustaining.
Metaphorically, what is this soup? It is the things we fill ourselves with: music we love, books we read, websites we visit, movies we watch, quotes we remember, and voices we choose to trust. When we’re in pain— physically, emotionally— all too often we drown ourselves in these pain-numbing voices that we trust. We choose to see ourselves as sickly, weak creatures who need to be spoon-fed the chicken soup that will restore our wellness.
Okay, let’s admit it. We’ve all been there: physically or metaphorically lying prostrate on the couch in complete misery and having to be spoon-fed kindness and soup by incredibly patient human beings.
But we’re not always in that place, and we shouldn’t try to go back after we’ve been restored. We’re not doing anyone— including ourselves— any good by lying on the couch and slurping chicken soup. It’s very easy to only listen to and digest the things we hear all the time (chicken soup). But there’s nothing inspiring or life-changing to an old tune. Stop listening to that same old tune over and over again; listen to a new song
If we’re actually restored, we need to stand up and move on. We need to stop filling ourselves with self-pitying songs, words, and complaints— things that encourage us to stay where we are. We must surround ourselves with things that will challenge and inspired us. We have to straighten up and remember that we’re called to be warriors.
Warriors need to hear different ideas, perspectives from a variety of people, words that challenge and confirm their beliefs. We desperately need input from others, to keep our eyes focused on what’s important, and inspiration to spur us on in the journey. I’ll be the first to admit that I stubbornly wedge myself in a rut in relation to the voices I desire to hear: the music I listen to, the opinions I trust, and the leaders I follow. And I’ll be the first to admit that in the past few months input— through discussions, music, books, and ultimatums— from a few warriors I deeply trust has radically changed my perspective about life as a warrior.
The point of all this? Peanut butter— unlike chicken soup—is good for the warrior’s soul.
(Metaphorically speaking, of course) it is dense, rich, nutritious, and satisfying.
I want to give you a spoonful of peanut butter.
Yeah, I know. That doesn’t make much sense, and even the mention of chicken soup and peanut butter together is perfectly nauseating. So let me explain.
Essentially, I want to share with you other peoples’ words that have filled and inspired me; the kind of words that I think about every day, and that gradually change my life.
When something impacts our lives, if we share it, then in turn it impacts someone else, and then someone else. As warriors, we need to hear new thoughts, and be willing to simply listen to them. If they don’t grab our hearts with their inky fingers, fine; then move on, and forget. But if they somehow capture us, let’s not push past them and start guzzling chicken soup. Let’s face the things we’ve never heard before. Who knows? They may lead us down unplanned paths.
That being said, here’s the plan: on the last day of every month, I’ll post a small collection of words that have impressed themselves on me that month: things that have inspired me, knocked the chicken soup out of my hands and given me a shove out the door. They are songs, quotes, stories, and verses that have stopped me in my tracks and made me think.
Hopefully this all makes sense! 🙂 We’ll see where it goes in the next few months. Bear with me, and hopefully these words will impact you like they’ve impacted me. Hopefully, we’ll become warriors filled with hope, joy, conviction, brokenness, and willingness to change; warriors satisfied with deeper things than chicken soup.
This song is beautiful. It’s honest about life being a heavy weight and the traveler’s path being hard, but it’s also honest about hope and the freedom of letting go of the past, and the things that weigh us down.”
Words of fellow humans:
“To the end of his days, Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out… “I’m awfully sorry,” said Bilbo, “but I have come without my hat, and I have left my pocket-handkerchief behind and I haven’t got any money. I didn’t get your note until after 10:45 to be precise.”
“Don’t be precise,’ said Dwalin, “and don’t worry! You will have to manage without pocket-handkerchiefs, and a good many other things, before you get to the journey’s end.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The Challenge: Pack Light
We have a tendency to carry unnecessary things, just in case we need them. Just in case we’re weak, just in case we’re tired, empty, scared, or lonely. For a change, try going somewhere, while bringing a minimal amount of things with you. You may be surprised that releasing physical burdens helps you let go of invisible ones.
So, there you have it. Peanut butter. Even though that had absolutely nothing to do with peanut butter. By the way, if this post has made you hungry and you’d like a good peanut butter recipe, this PB and J oatmeal is delicious! 🙂