My dog has issues. He prefers people food over his made-for-dogs kibble, hands (paws) down, every time. We’ve tried multiple top brand doggie foods, hoping to appeal to his finicky tastes, but he takes one whiff of his bowl and scampers away—until his belly is desperate enough to give in and eat.
Meanwhile we humans attempt to enjoy our own meals, be it burgers or tacos or mac and cheese (our dog’s favorite), and a furry 12-pound beggar scratches our legs under the dinner table, demanding fallout.
When we ignore him, he barks and barks and barks, drowning out the family conversation until we become so frustrated, we do the thing we all know we’re not supposed to do (hey, people have issues, too)—we feed him. A piece of grilled chicken, a sample of pizza, a few stray French fries here and there. Toss him a cracker or a couple of peanuts. Set a plate on the floor and invite him to lick it clean. These treats make him happy. They keep the peace.
Until he barfs them all onto the carpet the next morning, and we’re reminded why we shouldn’t indulge him in every craving.
You know this isn’t really a story about my dog, right?
Because we people do it, too. We indulge in our cravings at the expense of our health.
I know I should read my Bible but I’m going to watch Netflix instead—for the third night in a row.
I haven’t chatted with my mother in a while so I really ought to call her—but I’m busy, busy, busy as always, so I’ll just text her instead.
Surely God wants me to demonstrate patience toward my children right now, but I’m soooo tempted to blow up and yell.
We might know in theory what’s best for us and the people around us. But sometimes we choose what seems tastier in the moment. And as long as the choice isn’t explicitly sinful (like blowing up at the kids—or kicking the dog instead of feeding him a French fry), on occasion it’s okay. Just last week I bought a family size bag of peanut M&Ms and polished them off in six hours—with only a little help from the family. God gives us much to enjoy in this life.
But when we consistently choose what’s temporarily tasty over what is God’s best, we cheat ourselves of the healthiest sustenance. We give ourselves a belly ache.
Please understand, I’m not a legalist. We live under grace, not rules. Yet God’s Word is filled with admonishments to choose certain godly habits over temptations of the flesh. Why? Do those determine whether He accepts us? Of course not.
But they do determine whether we live the most abundant life. The best kind of life.
“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11, NLT)
I’ll tell you how this is playing out in my life. Lately I’m sensing God drawing me into a closer relationship—with Him and with other people. I believe He is asking me to choose people over productivity. For a gal who spent the last four years writing three books, productivity has been my focus.
To the point where it became my idol.
And do you know what God says about idols?
“All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.” (Isaiah 44:9)
Working for Jesus is a good thing, yet being like Jesus is the better thing. And God is inviting me to consider how I might serve Him through serving and loving and making time for people more than I make time for my computer. I’ll still be here, writing these blog posts and releasing another book into the world later this year, and keeping on with the ministry God has entrusted to me. But I won’t be hiding behind a screen. I believe God is giving me permission to enter a more balanced life, one where He calls the shots on how I spend my day, and with whom. It’s scary to let go of control. I’m a big fan of my agenda. But there’s nobody we can trust more—with our calendars, our to-do lists, our friends and families and our calling—than God.
Will you trust Him to take a hold of yours? Let’s allow Him to teach us what is best, and to crave it like my dog craves mac and cheese.
Many blessings to you and your loved ones, my friends. Remember I’m not just a post on a screen but a real, breathing person who prays for you and cares about you and your relationships. Reach out anytime to say hi. Drop me an email or a note on social media. I love hearing from you, because I know you’re a real, breathing person, too. And it’s high time we got to know each other better.
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