Oh my goodness, I’m full!!
I woke up this way.
The fact is, I’ve just had a fantastic week. Spent it on the seven seas – a cruise to Alaska with my entire family. My parents, siblings and our spouses had the chance to minister to the nearly 300 people that joined us for a 7-day conference. It was a delightful time listening to God’s Word and delighting in His work.
Seriously, His work was on full display.
Never in my life have I seen such a lavish presentation of God’s glory in creation. He was seriously showing off for all of us . . and we just smiled and let Him. All the while wondering how anyone – anyone – could possibly see scenery like this and think there is not a perfect, powerful God.
When we weren’t looking at the scenery or watching humpback whales skim the water’s surface, we were eating. Apparently, that’s what you are supposed to do when you take a cruise.
All day long.
. . .and night.
After the first day, I’m not really sure I felt one hunger pain. For seven straight days, I was full.
Not one single growl nor rumble.
Felt satisfying for the first day and even into the second. But as the third and fourth day approached, that sense of being stuffed got a bit annoying. Then, when we rounded the corner (corner = hips and belly) toward the last few days, we just got plain ol’ uncomfortable; adjusting our sitting positions and our belt loops to try and accommodate the gluttony.
And when I unbuttoned my own jeans (under the white table cloth mind you) in the middle of dinner on the 6th day, a thought occurred to me that I just couldn’t shake: the impeccable meals we’d relished at the beginning of the cruise were less appetizing now. The meals hadn’t changed. They were still decadent and delightful. But we just weren’t as interested anymore. Our stomachs were too full to allow us to appreciate them as much. Without a gnawing sense of hunger – an emptiness waiting to be filled – food, no matter how good, wasn’t as inviting.
By overindulging during the first few days, we’d actual robbed ourselves of some of the fun reserved for the last ones.
Self control. Should have exercised some. Sure, it would have been hard with all of those 24-hour-a-day mouthwatering options but it also would have enabled us to stay balanced enough to enjoy the spread over the long haul – to feel the hunger that is meant to invite you into another delicious experience.
Hind sight’s always 20/20.
A lesson learned. . . in my stomach. . and in my life.
Self-control keeps us balanced and not over-inundated with things that keep us from enjoying every bit of tasty excitement God wants us to have in our lives. When we eat too much, spend too much, hoard too much, work too much, exercise too much or control too much, we get out of balance and the taste buds of our lives are desensitized to the flavors God wants to give. That full feeling we get might be nice the first day, or even the first month, but after a while we’ll just feel uncomfortable.. . wishing we’d maintained more balance along the way.
Self-control isn’t some rigid spiritual discipline meant to keep us from enjoying life. Turns out, self-control is the only way we can have the room required to enjoy it.
Trust me on this one, ok?
. . .Or come take a peek at my elastic, waste-band pants and they’ll tell you the real story.