When I Want It All (the deadly sin of gluttony)

I want it all.

Sound familiar? It sure does to me! I want all the fun, all the good, all the opportunities, all the growth, all the accomplishments, all the chocolate, all the get-togethers, all the respect, all the praise…

Yesterday my extended family all got together, shared a meal and played games. Everyone was there.

Except me. I sat at home with my girls, just 20 minutes away, feeling sorry for myself. I could imagine them playing cards and laughing, talking, eating and bonding. Without me.

Per doctor’s orders, we’re home for the cold &  flu season (which, by the way, is so much longer than I ever realized! Six months to be exact.). With our youngest having respiratory complications from being born premature, we’re supposed to stay home and away from other people to protect her lungs, give her the chance to grow strong and healthy, and keep her out of the hospital.

When it comes to the health and well-being of your child, of course it’s an easy choice. We stay in. We stay away.

But yesterday, I found myself wanting to protect my daughter and have fun with family. I wanted both. I wanted it all. I didn’t want to have to choose one or the other.

Today I want to be healthy and take my kids out for pizza. And maybe ice cream, too. And maybe get a latte from Starbucks later, because I don’t want to choose one splurge…I want them all.

This afternoon, I want to finish this blog post, write on my Bible study, finish another chapter on the book I’m writing, and play at the park with my girls. Is there any way I can accomplish all that in the next few hours? No way. But I’m probably going to try anyway. Why? Because I don’t want to choose. I want it all.

I don’t want to miss out on one opportunity to have fun with friends and family. I don’t want to miss out on one yummy meal or chance to go out with my husband and kids and make a memory. I don’t want to miss out on one opportunity to write a book, speak at an event, get featured on someone’s blog, or grow my career. I don’t want to miss out on one thing I could pack into my day. I want everything. All of it. All the time.

This, my friends, is gluttony.

An online dictionary defines gluttony this way: Gluttony is characterized by a limitless appetite for food and drink and overindulgence to the point one is no longer eating to live, but rather living to eat.

Gluttony is wanting it all, today. And it’s a sin.

I think gluttony goes past food and drink. I think it applies to overindulgence – in work, in play, in food, in drink, in opportunity, in fun.

Gluttony is living void of self-discipline, and, most importantly, without trust in God. Gluttony says, “I want it all today because there may not be a later. And even if there is a later, I may not have enough, so I have to have all I can, today.” Trusting God says, “I trust God to provide for me what I need today, today, and what I need tomorrow, tomorrow.” Self-discipline causes us to live in a way that we limit
ourselves today for our own benefit tomorrow.

Limiting ourselves is counterculture in our world today. Our generation, our culture is characterized by overindulgence, a limitless appetite for more. More wealth, more success, more growth, more fun, more opportunity, more treats, more recognition, more accomplishments, more activities. Moderation is almost unheard of, and certainly not celebrated.

Can you imagine if a company or church held back its growth, wanting to grow at a slow, sustainable rate, rather than as fast as possible? Can you imagine if a family had the opportunity to make a large income, but chose instead one that was sufficient but not excessive? Can you imagine if you had a large home and chose to fill it only with what you truly needed? Can you imagine having the opportunity to
have a full social schedule, and yet limiting it to only the truly important engagements so you have time for your priorities? Can you imagine your employer bringing donuts and coffee to the office for everyone, and choosing not to have one because you know its not healthy?

Yesterday I missed out on an afternoon of games and food with my family. But I went for a walk and took my girls to the park, where we got fresh air and sunshine. I put together a chair for our back deck with my oldest. I wrote and hid a few little notes to my husband to let him know I love him and believe in him. I folded a week’s worth of laundry for my family of five, and got it all put away. I made a casserole and tossed a salad, instead of hitting a drive-thru. And we all got to bed on time, which started our week off well. And, most importantly, our sweet baby stayed safe and well.

I didn’t get both. I didn’t get all. I didn’t get everything. But what I got yesterday, was enough. It was good. And there will be other opportunities in the future.

What are you wanting all of today? What areas are you overindulging in, seeking the everything instead of the sufficient? What do you have a limitless appetite for today, because deep in your heart, you don’t trust that God will supply enough of it tomorrow? How are you living that satisfies you today, but hurts you later?

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does not run out. His perfect provision saves us from the need to overindulge. It’s our choice whether we trust Him enough to trust that provision, and live with self-discipline.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32

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