Since finishing the Belfast Half Marathon two days ago I have felt lousy. Tired, shivery and a headache that just won’t shift. I’ve self diagnosed (as ever) and concluded that I must be suffering the effects of post race dehydration. I took on board water and energy drinks at regular intervals during the race itself but must confess that I neglected myself after the event. 

You see, my numero uno vice is Diet Coke. I drink gallons of the stuff. And yes, I know it isn’t good in such amounts. And yes, I equally know that it’s not going to remotely hydrate you like H2O would after running 13.1 miles. Never forget the .1. That’s the most important bit. So after I collected my medal and t-shirt upon crossing the finish line on Sunday I celebrated by cracking open a DC as opposed to water. 

And then another. And then another. By the end of the day I had polished off a six pack. I woke up the next morning feeling awful. It was akin to a hangover from my drinking days. A horrible, groggy feeling that I thought I would never experience again after I stopped drinking alcohol four years ago. I spent most of yesterday feeling sorry for myself. Why me? Instead of basking in sporting glory I was wallowing in self pity. I felt dire.

Today has been better. I have forced copious amounts of water into me and am gradually feeling more human. Diet Coke is evil. I don’t need this grief. A dehydrated Stephen is a grumpy Stephen. It’s a mistake that I won’t make again. Future race days will be fuelled by water and nothing else. I don’t want to repeat this listless sensation ever again.

There are days too where I feel spiritually dehydrated. Flat. Empty. Devoid of anything even remotely resembling the Christian spirit. These days usually follow periods where I have neglected my Bible study, prayer life and church attendance. It’s so easy to lose your spiritual discipline. There are so many earthly distractions which are capable of dragging us off in any number of directions except the one that matters. Towards God.

Spiritual dehydration can be fatal. A parched, arid soul will eventually transform into a hellish scenario. A desert wasteland of broken dreams and ruined hopes. Where anger, frustration and unforgiveness reign unopposed. But freely available prayer, study and worship can unleash floods of living waters and torrents of unlimited grace.

The choice is yours. All I know is that it works for me. I need to remain spiritually hydrated. My sanity and quality of life depend on it. Literally. Without it I wilt quickly. I lose my focus and find myself lapsing into old patterns of sinful behaviour. I choose hydration. I choose life. I choose Jesus.

John 4:14 – ‘but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I give him will become in him a well of water springing up in eternal life’.

Have you ever been physically hydrated?

How do you stay spiritually hydrated?

22 thoughts on “Dehydration 

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  1. I just want you to know you crack me up. Never forget the .1 😂😂 I’m glad Jesus is a better thirst quencher than Diet Coke. Don’t think we could get along without Him ❤️ Great post


  2. Oh been there with the Diet Coke. Know exactly how difficult it is to get off it. I always drank those big bottles, two or three a day. Through “thick and thin” or rather through health and illness.
    Have you ever tried a fruit juicer? Fresh juice replenishes your mineral reserves. Just thinking it may not be only the water. Coke has water in it but lacks the other stuff.
    Maybe one day I will also understand how to get spiritually hydrated, too…


  3. This reminded me of Jeremiah 2:13 (probably because I just read it yesterday): “…for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

    Fountain of Living Water, may we never continue to forsake You but saturate ourselves in You instead!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know drinking pop (as us Northerners say in the U.S.) or soda leaves me feeling with a heavy feeling. It’s like during the moment it’s a treat, but afterward it isn’t so much a treat anymore. The effect is like a bad aftertaste. I relate to not staying consistent with Christ, like you mentioned. Even going through the motions isn’t enough. Our heart and our desire to be want to be involved with Christ must be there. Things to think about definitely. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  5. I think that when we quit an addiction we pick up other vices that are less harmful but still not wonderful. When I stopped drinking, I increased my intake of caffeine significantly. Then, when I stopped smoking, I started eating ice cream every night. I have tried to level out, but I think my tendency is to overdo things, like many alcoholics, so I have to stay pretty vigilant.
    I like your term “spiritually hydrated”. I often forget to stay spiritually hydrated because life seems so busy that there’s no time (forgetting that spiritual hydration comes before everything else).
    I feel spiritually hydrated when I take the time to meditate and pray. I also feel connected to a higher power when I engage in artistic endeavors, like writing or painting. Especially painting. When I paint, it is like I’m channeling something else. Sometimes I don’t even know what it is going to look like until I am finished with it. My favorite “God moments” come when I feel like what I am creating looks like crap, and I want to stop, but I keep going and when I am done it turns out amazing.
    Much like what a half marathon is like, I imagine! 🙂


  6. I drink E-lyte to stay physically hydrated. And read my bible to stay spiritually hydrated. I also go out and and find joy in God’s creation every day for at least an hour and that is what really helps me the most to stay hydrated


  7. Yes, Diet Coke is evil! Like a false kind of spiritual hydration. The world’s hydration makes us weak and unable to feel God. The Word, prayer and talking with God help me to stay connected to the real thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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