Last week I had some time off to rest and relax, and it didn’t take long for me to notice a certain theme to my thoughts:
Buy more things
You’ll be happier if you have/ do/ buy this
Cater to your every whim and you’ll be happy
Rest equals doing what you want
My desires weren’t even that creative or profound. (Those who know me won’t be surprised to hear that many of them revolved around food!)
There’s nothing wrong with a treat now and then
Now before you all email me saying “You need to relax Nim!” I know there is nothing wrong with blowing off steam, and treating yourself a bit whilst on holiday! (And don’t worry, I did!)
But what amazed me was the level of greed and selfishness underlying these thoughts, and particularly my subconscious (wrong) view of what would bring me rest, satisfaction, and happiness.
The sad thing is that even had I fulfilled every single one of these desires during that week, I wouldn’t have been much happier. It wouldn’t have satisfied for long.
Ecclesiastes 6:7 puts it like this: All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.
Jeremiah, 2:12–13 says: My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
We are all experts at forgetting and ignoring God’s offer of living (thirst-quenching) water, while we construct our own sub-standard solutions.
However, the Bible does encourage use to indulge in one area, and it happens to be what we really need to be satisfied.
We should indulge ourselves in our God!
Made to indulge in God
St. Augustine said “Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it rest in Thee.”
Matthew 5:6 promises: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Psalm 34:8 says: Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 90:14 adds: Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
And there are many other similar promises and invitations in the Bible.
When the temptation to indulge hits, I am reminding myself to truly indulge, by satisfying myself first in God.
It will require trust, to take God at his word on this. Sometimes earthly pleasures seem much more tangible and attractive than heavenly ones! But unlike food, shopping, entertainment, or other go-to pleasures, God doesn’t satisfy temporarily or make empty promises.
Taste and see!