Over-indulgence. Definition: the action or fact of having too much of something enjoyable; excessive gratification of a person’s wishes. Or how about my definition: too much of something too good. Over-indulgence– a new word I have added to my vocabulary that I intend on using often. It smacked me in the face early on this year as I found myself in these scenarios:
Have you ever opened your refrigerator, had a load of food stare you in the face, shut the door and say, “I don’t know what I want to eat. Nothing looks good”?
Or you head to your closet to pick out something to wear and after thumbing through 25 dresses, 16 pairs of jeans, and 47 blouses, you declare, “I don’t have a thing to wear!”
The truth hurts, I know.
Sitting in a fast food restaurant (after it took me and my daughter 10 minutes to look over the dozens of menu options: regular, medium or super-sized choices of food, grilled, fried, whole wheat buns, bun-less, chicken or beef, veggies, no veggies, waffle, natural-cut, or curly fries, spicy or regular ketchup…..AND. ON. AND. ON…..), we finally made our choices and sat to eat. Within my first 3 bites of food the mother and 2 children next to our table erupted into a heated conversation something like this:
Mom: “You said a cheeseburger so I ordered you a cheeseburger!”
3 year old: “I want chicken!”
Mom: “No. Eat what you have. That’s what you chose.”
3 year old: “I hate cheeseburgers! I want chicken!” (folds arms across chest and begins to wail.)
Older sibling: “Just get him chicken, Mom so he’ll shut up. You know he won’t eat now.”
Mom: “Fine. But you have to eat every bite of your chicken if I get it!” (She tosses $5 in the direction of the older child and he goes and orders the younger sibling’s chicken. 3 year old immediately stops crying.
GRACIOUS! Is this what we have done to ourselves and our children?? The mom was trying to shut her child up by giving him what he demanded after he had already chosen something else. I came to realize we are so very OVERWHELMED WITH CHOICES that we can’t even be happy with what we get, nor do we teach our children to be happy. (I won’t even touch the parenting side of this event!)
But I do want to point this out as I include myself in this scenario. I very often act like the 3 year old, only in a different manner. I can’t decide, can’t choose, can’t make a decision BECAUSE THERE ARE TOO MANY OPTIONS!! From clothes, to food, to entertainment, to varieties of churches and worship music, to couches and what color and texture we want them, to……oh, I could go on all day.
Confession: This is embarrassing but I have HUNDREDS of books (99.9% if them are downloaded for free) on my Kindle and if I decide to sit down and read I can’t decide what book to read!!! THAT IS RIDICULOUS! Too many choices…..
AN OVER-INDULGED LIFE LEADS TO AN UNFULFILLED LIFE.
In today’s society we are surrounded and bombarded with any manner of pleasures and desires we can conceive of. If not found in local stores, it can definitely be found online. Truly, SADLY, and to our great DETRIMENT, if you have the money, you can have IT.
If I had to write a slogan for today’s America, I would just borrow Burger King’s old adage: Have it your way!
The month of January usually leaves us feeling the results of “having it our way” after Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and parties are way behind us. Extra pounds, extra eating, over-indulging without a thought. And in January we wonder why doesn’t anything look or sound good? Why can’t I find satisfaction in a simple meal? Why do I feel so full?
Our passions and envies are doing us in! We binge-eat, binge-watch, binge-drink, binge-DO anything that brings us pleasure and fulfillment, though it is very, very brief….over and over, until one day we wonder why we aren’t even HUNGRY
for good, healthy foods….
for simple times and simple ways….
for God and His word.
Over time we stuff ourselves on the delicacies of life,
until we are so full of this world we have no room for anything else.
NOT EVEN THE GOOD THINGS WE ONCE CHERISHED.
NOT EVEN GOD.
What has happened to us? Where have we gone wrong? Well for starters….just because it is available to us (TV shows, entertainment, food, drink, clothes, cars, trinkets, stuff, junk….) doesn’t mean we have to partake in it!! WHERE HAS OUR SELF-CONTROL GONE! It has disappeared with the HAVE IT YOUR WAY mentality we have adopted. (I am in no was bashing or blaming Burger King. I am just trying to make a point.)
Read with me from The Message Bible what Peter said:
Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want. (I Peter 4:1-2)
This describes many areas of my life.
We have turned our backs on self-denial and have instead
turned ourselves over to the tyranny of our desires.
And then we walk away from a binge-experience wondering why we aren’t satisfied!!
Remember (or at least imagine) with me the simpler days….no cellphones, no computers, work stayed at work because you couldn’t bring it home with you, no fast food restaurants, no over-demanding after-school over-the-top children’s sports schedules….(add your own simple imaginings here)….
You sat at the dinner table AS A FAMILY, ALL OF YOU, you LOOKED AT EACH OTHER, you TALKED, you laughed, sat on the porch or by the fire afterwards, you ate ONE piece of pie and loved it no matter the flavor, you played games, you read books with real pages, you colored with waxy crayons not with your finger on a screen, you did life TOGETHER as a family…..
Remember those times? Maybe you lived them or saw them in movies. Maybe I am a hopeless romantic and nothing I described really appeals to you….BUT DOWN DEEP….we all long for the simplicity of life, the face-to-face talks, the unbusy-ness of that time frame, the satisfaction in the simple, the peace and tranquility and rest.
Today we are hardly EXCELLENT at one thing because we dabble in too many things. Today we can’t find pleasure in one thing (or in anything for that matter) because we grasp too many things. Today…
Today, we can change this!! Yes, even in our crazy, out-spoken, over-opinionated world, we can.
I can and will change this in my own personal world and family. I choose to read my PAPER Bible and hear the thin pages rustle between my fingers. I choose to eat one piece of chocolate, drink one glass of wine, do one thing well, pick up a pen and paper and shut off the computer or tablet, choose ONE GOOD GODLY CHURCH to attend and commit there, find a few good friends and not a thousand to do life with, and I choose to look for approval from above and not from facebook…..
I CHOOSE TO ENJOY THE MOMENT, THE ONE, THE “IT” and find great satisfaction in self-denial and simplicity. And I choose to teach my children and grandchildren to do the same.
So here’s an idea, if you are on board with me….CREATE A QUIET ZONE in your home. I live in the country so I have access to 11 acres to find a quiet, simple spot to sit and just be. If you don’t, then MAKE ONE! Designate a room or at the very least a chair and table and lamp that is the QUIET ZONE anyone can use. Make an appointment to be THERE for 30 minutes a day. Encourage your children to do the same. In this zone, there is nothing electronic allowed (except light), nothing distracting, so you can choose ONE THING to do, be it rest, read a paper book, read the BIBLE for crying out loud, draw, plan, dream, scheme, crochet, sleep, eat a simple meal, enjoy coffee or tea in the moment and drink the whole cup because your phone or other device doesn’t draw you away….
For years, my husband’s “zone” was a deer blind. GET CREATIVE! It is not impossible. Get the drift? The purpose is to unplug, detox, unwind, settle, still yourself. Enjoy the moment and a simple, quiet life.
Start here, with this promise from Matthew chapter 11:
See what can be yours….then take hold of it. Find the joy and beauty of a simple, quiet life, free from over-indulgence and dissatisfaction. Make it your goal.
Feel free to comment below on ways you plan on changing some areas of over-indulgence. How and where will you create your QUIET ZONE?
FOR FURTHER READING ON THIS TOPIC, CHECK THESE LINKS OUT TO SOME OF MY OTHER BLOG POSTS:
Have you joined?
Receive Rest and Shade for your Soul - Directly in your inbox!