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Portion management

There are so many people “watching their weight” these days. They are not eating this, cutting out that; substituting for this, selecting out that. We study and read “the latest” about what’s in and what’s not in nutrition. Everybody has got advice, and it’s for sale. We’re desperate. Billions of dollars desperate. And we know the answer is in there. We just have to figure it out. After all, 20 years ago, we didn’t have this problem, so something has changed. Is it us? We are voracious people, after all. Helping ourselves to heaping servings of life. Living large. Doing it all. Drinking it all in.

I’m not sure that’s the problem, at least not the whole problem. We are meant to live life abundantly, to embrace all we’ve been given. Not to be ashamed of it. Not to defer or go halfway. ‘Give it all you’ve got’ still works in all circumstances. ‘Be all you can be’ is still a great motto, Army.

I just think we have gotten out of touch with our portion. We grew up eating what was on our plates (because “children were starving in India”) and the plates have gotten larger. We’re still finishing, but now it’s more. But more is what we want, right? Because that means we are getting more for our money. This is a good value, we convince ourselves, so why not order the whole meal? Why not supersize it? Why not buy it in bulk?

And then when we have it we don’t want to waste it. Others are starving, after all. So we consume, and not only all that is on our plate. We

  • drink all in our cup
  • order dessert because it’s “included”
  • take the call because it’s coming in
  • check messages because they are blinking
  • access notifications because they are mounting

Just to clear things away and to leave nothing undone. But instead of feeling satisfied we feel sick. Because we have let circumstances speak to us about portion. We didn’t question whether all that needed eating, drinking, addressing or response. It said so, so we did. That way, we don’t miss anything and don’t miss out on anything.

We are operating on autopilot, but have we any idea we are heading straight for the mountain? 

Ah, this generation that is full of questions but doesn’t question their portion. Well, except to compare it in size to their neighbor’s portion.

What if our starting point was …

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. ~Psalm 16:5

“Chosen portion.” Choosing may require un-choosing. Will power may require ‘won’t power’. What if we knew our plate was just the right size? What if we were already assured that what we have and who we are is enough? How would we answer…

  • Am I hungry?
  • Am I thirsty?
  • Can that wait?
  • Do I really need to?

It may be as simple as shrinking the size of the plate on which I serve myself. If this is all the space I have, what belongs here? Then I could feel completely free to enjoy every last morsel.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~ Psalm 73:26

Praying with my mouthful may be an improvement

I made the mistake of taking a bite of my morning sweetbread (homemade zucchini at our house) just before diving into my Bible reading. All of a sudden I remembered the card I pray before reading my morning scripture.

I looked down to begin the prayer and there I was with my mouthful. What a great moment that was. Aha, it taunted me, can you pray with your mouth full? AKA, busy with all the rest you’re doing, can you really focus on Me? Maybe worse…is prayer really prayer if you can’t speak it? aren’t ready to respond to it? give an answer? Will the sound of my chewing drown out the prayer?

Disrespectful, yes. But, that great God of the wonderful sense of humor seemed to say, now that you’re mouth is full you’ll stop talking and listen.

Now I am not recommending the zucchini bread approach, but the close your mouth and chew quietly may be just what I was meant to hear.

The prayer I usually pray silently (mouth  normally empty) is:

“Holy Spirit, teach me what is true about these verses. What do you want me to understand? Direct my thoughts with every word I read. Protect and lead my mind.”

Some listening required.

Beats the old adage, “Open mouth, insert foot, chew quietly.” This form of humility tastes much better.

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