Saturday, August 13, 2011

Struggling with Indulgence

****  I wrote this post a little over a week ago.  I chose not to post it at that time.  I knew that by posting it some may misunderstand me.  I don't know....maybe it won't make sense to you....maybe you'll think that I am strange (I know that I am).  I guess I am just feeling convicted on my indulgences and how truly unGodly they can be.....******

When we were getting ready to "go" on vacation, I was having a really rough time.  I was seeing many people on Facebook "talk" about their vacations that they were taking across country doing really cool things.  In my head, I knew we couldn't afford a big vacation and was ok with that - really!  I was!  Then there was the other part of me that was like "I am a Full-time homemaker/SAHM/domestic engineer (whatever you want to title it) and taking a vacation at home feels like every other stinkin' day!".

And then I felt guilty!  We are a one income family that just spent oodles of money on our roof, windows and siding..... We don't have the money.

Oh, the inner battle that began. The word "angst" comes to mind....

Didn't I deserve a vacation from my routine?  Aren't I worth investing in?  You know - the whole "Take care of yourself so that you can then take better care of others" kinda thing.  Which is actually no where in the Bible that I know of.....

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how connected this whole thing is for me with how concerned I am about us Christians and how little different we look from non-Christians.  We as Christians have become caught up in indulging ourselves.  Many times it is in very innocent ways and some  are not innocent at all.

Let me give a personal example.

When Maggie was in the hospital (A LOT), I was the one who primarily stayed with her.  It was exhausting.  The "beds" that one hospital had were like plastic skinny recliners that would "almost" lie flat.  The other hospital actually had a cot for me - that was 3 inches thick.  I'd hear every beep that would come from Maggie's monitors and/or pumps.  I could tell when she was going to vomit and would be there (even at 3am) with the bucket to catch it all.  I got really good at placing the remote with the call button very close to me so that if anything started beeping in ways that it shouldn't (which it often did) I could call the nurse without REALLY (yeah right) waking up.  The showers were pathetic and tiny.  I was many times lucky to have warm water.  I often looked like a train had hit me and most of the time that is how I felt.  However....!!!  I could get really decadent wonderful food.  I could order out for this wonderful spinach and artichoke dip and bagel chips....ohh it was so good!  I could get cheesecake or some other wonderful desert with every meal.  I felt like I deserved it.

I. Deserved. IT.

Even now, I see how childish that sounds.  God's grace is more than I deserve - what else could I "need"?  Now I am stuck trying to lose all of that extra weight that I gained from all of the scrumptious but overly indulgent food.

Generations ago within the Church (see the big "C"), Christians didn't indulge in much of anything.  Very few COULD afford to indulge in High fashion.  Many didn't indulge in alcohol or excess food.  Many didn't indulge in many activities that took much of their time away from their home.  When indulging did occur many times it was with self-control.  May I tell you that those cheesecakes I got had nothing to do with self control...they were not a "take a couple of bites and save the rest for tomorrow".  No, it was a "scarf it down now while all is quiet and maybe we can go get another one later" type of thing.

"You deserve a break today..."
"And I'm worth it!"

We've been fed garbage into our minds and we all believe it so much.  Our culture is filled with addictions: from porn, to food, to alcohol, to electronics, to extracurricular activities, to expensive cars, to vacations, to purses and/or shoes, to lovely clothes that can't fit into our closet anymore.  And I am wondering what difference there is between the Church and the non-church......  Do I look any different?  Act any different

As I write this, I am really wanting to buy a new patio lounge chair (that we don't need) and some new clothes  (that do NOT fit anywhere into our monthly budget).

1 Corinthians 10 says:
 23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

So, how is living an indulgent lifestyle constructive or honoring to God?  How is being self-indulgent setting us apart?  As in Colossians 3:  1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b

So, do you convince yourself - like I have - that you deserve something that is way beyond the realm of "perfect" and into the realm of sin?  Again, I am not thinking that God says that this is wrong to do on occasion but many of us (me) are living lives where we live in a constant stream of indulgence in many many areas of our lives.

I don't know....just thinking out loud here.....


  1. Needed this...thanks rachel!

  2. Thanks for sharing this post! I know I can be really selfish and rationalize all kinds of time and things in place of relationship with others and God. I wonder if I spent more time and energy giving him of myself, if I wouldn't have less to worry about what I wanted next.


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