My husband and I have gone on Saturday morning breakfast dates for over a decade. Over that time we’ve explored just about every restaurant option in our area. So in search of a new adventure, we decided to try the all-you-can-eat buffet that had previously been on our do-not-ever-eat list.
We pulled into the already full parking lot and opened the door to the smell of hot grease, sugar, and more carbs than any person should have in a lifetime. We could have chocolate-covered-anything for breakfast. Fried whatever-you-can-dream-up for breakfast. An entire baked goods factory for breakfast.
I tried to keep my head down, avoid temptation, and create a modest plate of acceptable options. But somehow I felt guilty for skipping so much of what was available. Although it was only 8:00 in the morning, I still imagined people were staring disdainfully at me for bypassing the ice cream bar — complete with a row of toppings.
I thought: This is what our world feels like today. There is an endless buffet of options for all of us all the time. We can fill our days with almost anything we’d like. We can binge on television and movies. Dig into social media. Pile on the commitments and committees.
But just because we can have it all doesn’t mean we should. And here’s what I realized: Even if I had just stuck to the “good” options, putting everything possible on my plate still would have been too much. Our choices in life aren’t just about quality; they’re also about quantity.
And that’s where we as women seem to get tripped up most often. We generally know not to pick the fried-twinkies-covered-in-chocolate-lard. But when it comes to the rest, we can believe God expects us to take on everything that’s in front of us. We can even feel irresponsible, ungrateful, or downright guilty if we pass up a perfectly nice opportunity — especially a spiritual one.
As I sat down at our table, I noticed a little chart showing how to create a healthy meal. Clearly most patrons were ignoring the advice (and it was probably just a public image stunt for the restaurant) but in the middle of the madness there was suddenly a little voice saying, “Use discernment. Choose wisely. Remember the big picture.”
I think that’s what God says to us as well. He reminds us, “You don’t need to consume everything your culture offers. And you actually can have too much of a good thing. I’m not asking you to take on whatever is in front of you. I’m asking you to make the most of what I have prepared especially for your life.”
If we’ve been feeling overwhelmed and like our days are overstuffed maybe it’s time to pause and ask, “What’s on my plate that doesn’t belong? And what have I taken more of than God ever intended?”
When we make intentional choices and then stop when we’re “full” we’re not being wasteful — we’re being purposeful.
My husband and I finished our breakfast and then walked out the door. “Never again,” we both said with a laugh. We were ready to return to smaller, simpler meals (even if they didn’t have the undeniable excitement of a hot fudge fountain). It turns out there’s a big difference between everything we can have and what we truly want.