1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.
I watch a scoop of amaretto ice cream, the size of a soft ball, mix with sliced strawberries. A ribbon of hot fudge is added, then the whole mess is mashed, turned, flipped and scraped together into a crunchy waffle bowl. Soon the melded flavors fill my mouth, flowing over and around my tongue until they slide cooly down my throat. With closed eyes, I savor every spoonful.
Though the concoction is larger than my breakfast, I dig into the creamy dream until it stretches my stomach. Suddenly I realize that I no longer taste the fruit, chocolate or ice cream. My head urges me to eat the rest of the treat, but why, if I can’t taste it anymore? What is the hunger I seek to satisfy?
Ice cream gluttony brings to my attention other binges. I binge on information in the form of listening to strings of podcasts and reading four or five books at once. Book recommendations and essay ideas flash like neon signs throughout audio segments and book paragraphs. I respond to their lure by scrolling through podcast notes and replaying clips to scribble down more recommended titles. Looking up those books lead to others, and I jot those titles too. Podcast interviews refer to other podcasts, and my podcast library expands. Fascinating ideas, methods and stories stuff my brain until I can no longer sort or use my blizzard of thoughts, but I don’t want to pause my quests.
“Slow down,” the Spirit says. “Go back and replay one podcast. Choose one or two take aways and write them down. Think about them. Evaluate them. Discuss them with Me. Lastly, use what you learn before filling your bowl again.” I know this is not the end of His prodding, so I bring up the unanswered question.
“Spirit, why do I cram my head with all these ideas and keep cramming until I’ve forgotten most of them and still not stop? What drives me to finish a whopping helping of ice cream when I no longer taste it? What do I seek to satisfy, especially when I have You? ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing,’ right?”
Some possible answers bubble in my head. Is hungering for more a result of living in a fallen world, which is never complete or satisfying until Jesus returns? Is it a thirst for things to be right, to be answered and ordered this side of heaven? Do my insatiable desires arise from satan, who pushes me towards idolatry? Could the answer to my why, be all these reasons?
Learning or reading for pleasure are certainly not wrong, but gorging to obsession or to the point that they hijack other activities is wrong. Then, I sense the Spirit saying, “Whoa, Nellie. Savor limited flavors. Then, put them away to digest. Allow them to nourish your mind and enrich your living before you think of picking up your spoon again. Don’t forget to fill yourself with the infinite wonders of Your Heavenly Father. You could never come to the end of His mind or His work.”
Psalm 73:25-26 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!