Last week, I was stopped at a light on the way to a pastor’s retreat. As I looked into the review mirror, I noticed the woman in the car behind me. She was an obese woman, and as I watched she methodically fed herself a single french fry. Each time raising to her mouth the next fry before having finished the current one. What caught my attention was the dull, dazed stare she had. There was no recognition about the food in front of her face. There seemed to be no conscious thought that she was eating but rather she was just acting out a rote behavior. There was no savoring. There was no joy.
As I drove off to the retreat, we were asked to consider which of the 7 deadly sins we struggled with (Sloth, Lust, Anger, Pride, Envy, Greed, Gluttony). While reflecting on my life, I was surprised that God highlighted “Gluttony” for my own life. As the fitness nut I had become, I struggled to accept my own gluttony. I had understood gluttony to be laziness and obsessive consumption of food. My mind always associated gluttony with that disgusting scene from the movie 7.
But further introspection led me to see how deadly gluttony can become in my own life.
I have an insatiable hunger for adventure, newness, & change. I move from one large project to the next. As my father modeled for me, I am always looking for a fire that needs to be put out.
And if things get stale, I move on to something different:
- Before finishing one book, I have already purchased the next one.
- I move on from one show on Netflix to another without finding folks to have that shared experience (Have you seen Comedians in Cars getting Coffee? great show!)
- I push through and past people to meet new people.
- I move past old challenges to find something more exhilarating.
- When I left First Presbyterian Church, the very next day we were on the road to Colorado at 6:30am; upon returning from CO, we immediately hit the mission field.
While just a subtle list for the worldwide web, the depth of this insatiableness can infiltrate some many areas of my life. The thing that struck me about that woman, and about my life is “Where is the Joy?”
For others who may have this insatiable void that they try to fill, a good book to consider is called Longing for Enough in a Culture of More.
A few quotes I take away are:
the more we indulge our appetites, the deeper our longings grow.
I tend to think that the urges that lead us to acquire more and more and more–purses, power tools, promotions–are at least partly urges for the very opposite, longings to shed some of these accretions and walk on through life less encumbered and more attentive, less self-absorbed, and more aware of the world around us, richer, finally, for what we have chosen to let alone.
So what are the deep longings you are chasing after? Where is the JOY?
Which of the 7 deadly sins are sneaking in on you?