I was recently at a buffet… I like to give my stomach a work out once in awhile… and I was amazed how much food people will eat. I’m not saying “can” eat for a reason. Sure people “can” eat a lot, but it’s amazing to me to see how much people “will” eat. I know when I’m at the buffet I’m thinking I want to get my money’s worth, but there comes a point when you need to stop eating. I’m thinking that point is 2 plates before throwing up. At this particular buffet an individual, fortunately not part of my group, was in line to get more food and they essentially exploded. His innards announced: “We’re done!” and then unloaded the excess cargo all over the floor. Within minutes two guys with mops were out and had the food – it didn’t have time to be digested, so it was literally food slightly chewed – cleaned up. It was like they were waiting on the sides for someone to orally discharge. It turns out this is in fact a regular occurrence at the buffet…exciting isn’t it? People are regularly overeating to the point of exploding. Fortunately, buffets have such efficient clean up services because that’s not what you want to see walking into the restaurant: “What did he have? That looks delicious.”
Fortunately, this person’s regurgitation didn’t spark the yawn effect (the yawn effect is where one person yawns and more and more people start to yawn). Fortunately, this explosion was contained to one person, so it could’ve been a lot worse. The worst fact about this story, however, is that after the guy was sick he went back in line for more food. Um, I think you’re done. What I don’t get is food stops tasting good after awhile because our bodies are telling us it’s time to stop. When you start to feel bloated from overeating our body is getting loader: Stop! When we throw up that’s STOPPPPP!!!!!! Not to this guy: “I just threw up; perfect, now I’ve got room for more. I’m so getting my money’s worth.”
Even at a buffet we need SELF CONTROL. We need to know when we’ve had enough without our bodies threatening us. Unfortunately, one of the strongest characteristics of our Western culture is a lack of self control. There is a serious lack of restraint. Our society is full of “I want it, and I want it now,” mentality. Whether it’s our number of alcoholics, workaholics, drug, porn and gambling addicts, the use of violence and verbal abuse, people who obsess about the past and stuck in negative thinking, our society is rampant with a lack of self control. The thing is self control doesn’t even have to be that hard.
Self control is knowing when to say no and following through with it as being no. It’s a parent not caving into his or her whiney child. When we’re angry, it’s biting our tongue and not yelling at our partner. It’s wanting to eat another piece of cake, but saying no to the desire. It’s accidentally having a negative thought, but then forcing myself to think of something else. It’s being hurt by someone, but then not letting that ruin my day. It’s responding thoughtfully instead of reacting angrily.
Self control looks a lot like good habits. When you fill your life with good habits you won’t have to force yourself to do good things; they’re just a habit. Plus, when you’re used to doing good things you won’t have time for unhealthy addictions. For instance, I don’t have time to be a junky because I have too many things I want to do. If I’m learning how to play guitar, I don’t have the time to be working insane overtime because I have something else I want to do. If I want to play with my kids (say 10 years from now when I’m mature enough to have kids) I won’t have time to completely over think something someone has said.
Ultimately, self control is about love. Self control isn’t selfish; it’s not mean. It’s understanding limits, and respecting them. Some people say self control is too hard, but how many people toot on the first date? No one who has manners. If you can control yourself on the first date, you can control yourself on the 100th. Unfortunately, many of us give up saying no to little things like this because it’s easier to be rude; it’s easier to be inconsiderate, insensitive, and to lack compassion, but that’s not love. We need to start pushing ourselves to show self control because this demonstrates our character and determines who we really are.
This week, may you discover the power of saying no to our base desires in order to better show love to those around you.
Rev. Chad David, Emotional Sex, emotional tune up