Would Jesus eat cheesecake?
Yesterday was my birthday. If you're curious, I turned 39. I don't really like my birthday much, but it has little to do with growing older. My dislike of the celebration has more to do with the continuation of the holiday season than anything else. By January 7, I'm ready to get back to "normal", so another party is often hard for me to enjoy.
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm so amazingly thankful that I have family and friends who want to celebrate my life. It's a tremendous honor. It's just not realistic to have a birthday meal and serve low calorie options and tell the guests that you're going to skip the cake.
Many Americans view January 1st as the date to start fresh. They start new diets and sign up for gym memberships. Most have been sleeping irregularly, watching too much TV, and been consuming more of everything since the end of November. They have become painfully conscientious of the overindulgence that has been taking place for the last 5+ weeks.
It's not just our physical bodies that are affected. Why do all home organization products go on sale at the start of the year? It's because we've also accumulated too much "stuff" and we now have to clean it up.
This morning as I sat in the stillness of the day, I thought over my birthday celebration, the weeks leading up to it, and what comes next. I happen to be going through a daily devotional and today's suggested reading was Matthew 5. For those unfamiliar with this passage, it's referred to as "The Beatitudes" and comes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. When I came to verse 6, I had to pause once again to do some introspection. It reads: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
One thing I'm not, even after all these weeks of over doing it, is satisfied. If anything, this excess has made me dissatisfied. Again, I want to stress the difference between ungrateful, and dissatisfied. I am very aware that I have so much. I'm very thankful not to be in need. But, the stuff and the food and the time of lethargy doesn't lead to satisfaction. If anything, it makes me very aware that our bodies and minds are made for so much more. There is nothing wrong with enjoying some time off or celebrating special occasions. I think Jesus would have hung out and even enjoyed a piece of cheesecake were He over at my house yesterday. The difference is, he probably wouldn't spent hours in front of the TV or felt entitled to just "relax".
Maybe I'm being too dramatic, but the overstimulation of the last few months make me want to pull back and simplify just about everything. I want less food. I want less laziness. I want less aimlessness. I do want more purposeful relationships, thoughtful conversations and intentional times of hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
My days are numbered. Assuming I don't have an illness or accident that takes me sooner, I now have 364 days until I hit 40. I want to make them all count.