Saturday, November 19, 2011

Let the Gluttony Begin. Or Not.

Our lives have been super busy lately between the wedding, traveling back and forth to Arizona, visiting with old friends, making new ones (hi Syria!!), returning home and preparing for company and holidays. I love every minute of it, don't get me wrong, but somewhere deep inside me is a desire for a simple uncomplicated life.

A life that does not require caffeine to be enjoyed.

I jest.

Sort of.

The American culture and society is consumed, and I need a stronger word here...maybe obsessed???...need something still stronger, with stuff. Gotta have more, do more, be more, get more, and do it now, immediately, yesterday. I think that somehow we as a culture measure our success and derive our identity from our stuff.

I did that for years. It wasn't something I thought about, but that drive to obtain stuff became a motivating factor for much of what I did and decisions I made.

Recently I have swung in the opposite direction. This is partly based in the fact that I'm tired of shlepping unopened boxes of cr*p around the world every time we move. For example, for how many years is my grandmother's china going to sit unopened, unused, and unloved in my succession of garages? I have memories of her and photographs that I cherish. Her china is not something I particularly like or would use, but I've kept it out of guilt. My change in thinking is mostly based in a desire to focus on what's truly important and not be distracted. I believe that the days until Jesus' return for His church are short and we simply don't have time to faff around with pursuits that take us nowhere as far as eternity is concerned. The important things boil down, as I see it, to two issues:

1. Our personal relationship with Jesus. Is He our Lord and Savior? Are we on our way to Heaven? Is He pleased with our lives? (I am lumping in with this everything that flows out of relationship with Him: maintaining a good marriage, quality parenting, committed friendships, all starts with Jesus!)

2. Our effectiveness in leading others to Jesus. Are we more concerned with the needs of others than with making sure our own needs are met? Are we telling others about Jesus and showing them how to be saved? Truly, salvation is the greatest need in any of our lives.

The two go hand in hand. Our relationship with Jesus is enhanced as we look outside ourselves to the needs, physical and spiritual, of others, and as we are evangelistic our personal relationship with Jesus grows.

With this in mind, I have been cutting out the unnecessary from my life. This is not a minimalist blog, and the unnecessary looks different for everyone, but my journey begins with getting rid of physical things that are of no use or value to me, including my grandmother's china and also about 50 pounds of excess body weight! --our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit and we are responsible for our stewardship over our bodies...more on that in another post.

With all of that as a backdrop, I turn my attention today to food. Halloween always seems to be the beginning of the "food season." As my dad would say, "Let the gluttony begin!" Food is obviously necessary for our life and health, and of course it's a nice and often needed addition to any get together, but do we really need to junk out? I think not. Today I had coffee (with sugar), oatmeal (with sugar), more coffee (with sugar), lunch followed by a couple of brownies (with sugar) and you know what? I feel terrible. I'm not used to eating so much sugar and I seriously feel like I've been poisoned. At this moment I have acorn squash ready to bake and well seasoned chicken breasts in the oven. I'll steam some broccoli and we'll have a very tasty and healthy dinner. In the morning I'll probably have an egg on whole grain toast and more chicken breast with probably quinoa and black beans and veg for lunch. I know for a fact that this time tomorrow I will feel fantastic. (I also hope to get in a jog, but let's not get TOO ambitious! LOL)

Over the next several months to a year I hope to pare down my life in such a way that I am healthy, my home is a place of refuge and relaxation without clutter everywhere making anyone uptight (about breaking something, spilling something, or feeling overwhelmed by too much stuff), and my outlook and disposition are peaceful.

So! On that note, I am thankful today for healthy food that nourishes my body, not just feeds my sweet tooth.

Image credit

Written on 11/18/11, edited on 11/19/11 to add: I'm also thankful for being able to sleep in today. It's not often that I get to sleep until I wake up, no alarm clock. Yay! Of course the cat decided it was time for me to get up, but whatever. By the way, why do they just sit and stare at you while you are sleeping? Cats are weird.

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