Saturday, October 5, 2013

Changing the Question


Sometimes I feel like a two year old.


My impulses drive my life, at times.  So many of them are under control until they are not.  Some are hidden.  Some are not.


I hate that life seems like a list of rules that grow longer each year as our lives pass quickly before us and we are older, our bodies and lives reflecting the years that are passing.  Our actions seem to have more noticeable consequences attached to them as the years go by.


Exactly.........why not me?  And I hear a voice saying..........well, you can.  You know that, right?  You can do all that, buy that, eat that, drink that, have that.  Go ahead.

"Everything is permissible for me - but not everything is beneficial.  Everything is permissible for me - but I will not be mastered by anything"
                         - 1 Corinthians 6:12-13




So the rules aren't really rules just because?



And in my mind there is this shift................and I have to think it's the shift that takes place in any child's mind when they realize that all those years their parents harassed them and made these "rules" and kept things out of their reach.........they were doing it out of love and not spite.  That part of growing up is learning to live in complete freedom, recognizing the boundaries that separate you from a life well-lived and life simply lived in the moment.  That boundaries are there to protect and enhance life not to keep out everything good and fun.

And for me food is the perfect example of this and has been a lifelong struggle.

I am a person that loves to look to the future and I love ideas and seeing the big picture but as I live out my life I am a very IN THE MOMENT type person.  Decision making is often done by looking to the next second, the next minute.  I am guided by emotions and can get carried away by the moment.  I have a hard time seeing the consequences of my actions and even when I do I can dismiss them in sight of my temporary satisfaction.  Instant gratification could be my middle name.

Can you see how this would hinder my relationship with food?

I am around food on a daily basis.  I cook, on average, 19-21 meals a week.  I am in the kitchen more than any other room in the house.......besides my bedroom......and even then some weeks I bet it is close.  I love food.

But for a long time I have had in my mind lists of rules concerning food.  What to eat, when to eat, how much to eat.  And I can get angry with the best of them about the unfairness of people being able to cram whatever they want down their throats and not see any evidence of it on their body.  I can feel shame at what I have eaten.  I can spend a lot of time thinking about food - what I want to eat, when I am going to eat, how much I am going to allow myself to eat.  It can be a battle, at times.

But this past week reading through 1 Corinthians I thought to myself..........oh my word, I have been asking the wrong dang questions!!!!  What is wrong with me?  Why have I allowed myself to be such a child about this?  Why have I not grown up, how could I have not recognized the freedom given to me?


Instead of WHY CAN'T I HAVE THIS? The question should be why do I WANT this?

I have the choice.

I have the freedom.

It is all permissible.

But it is not all beneficial.

And for much too long I have been a child......... staring at the boundaries that have been given not recognizing the freedom I have been granted.

For the past week I have been making decisions based on how will this feel, what will this look like 2 days from now, a week from now?  Will my temporary pleasure outweigh the long term consequences?

And weirdly enough the answer is no.

And then I look at whatever decision is before me......and almost in disbelief........think why do I WANT this?

I don't.

I want the temporary relief that it provides but when I think about the long range effects....I think no way.

And this attitude, this changing of the question from WHY CAN'T I? to WHY DO I WANT TO?, this shift can apply to so many decisions in life.  It's amazing the capacity we have to do harm to ourselves, to our lives because we WANT and we don't recognize that we deserve MORE than temporary, superficial pleasure that serves to do more damage than it serves to deliver pleasure.

"Lord, you have assigned to me my portion and cup; you have made my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."
                          - Psalms 16:5-6

And so I ask..........where are your boundary lines?

Where do you need to ask the question WHY DO I WANT THAT rather than WHY CAN'T I HAVE THAT?

Where do you need to recognize the freedom presented by the boundary lines rather than constantly pushing against them - allowing yourself to be mastered by something that is permissible but not beneficial?

And will you make the shift?

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