faith · family

portion control and the diet of the heart

I have been on diets. I feel like diet is a four letter word. Because I can, you know, count. What I don’t count is calories or ounces. And I definitely don’t count pounds.

We all know at this point that it’s about portion control and balance. I overeat. I overeat when I’m worried. I overeat when I’m happy. I eat too much. Drink too much. Too much!

What is a portion anyway? Some people some where get together and say this is right. This is how much you need of this stuff. One serving. You’re done.

We treat God like he’s handing out prison portions. We treat God like he’s withholding the good stuff. What we forget, oh so often, is that He alone IS our Portion. He IS our Cup. He is All in All.

It feels sometimes like semantics to me. God promises to give what we need. All we need is Jesus. So at any given time we have all we need because we have been given Jesus. Never mind the hierarchy of needs. Never mind the air, food, shelter, and wifi. I mean water. (But if we have wifi we can Google some other ways to get water.)

But that doesn’t feel like enough. I’ll admit it. I have Jesus. I love the Lord. I looove the LORD! Seriously, I do. But I admit that my heart is sometimes feeling like I’m on a diet. That I’m not getting enough. My brain tells me I want more. My stomach gurgles at me that I’m ruining everything. There’s something missing. That huge plate of chocolate chip cookies for instance.

Is Jesus enough? Is Jesus my all in all? Do I leave the table full and satisfied after every meal, every prayer, every time of worship? Do I have all I need? Regardless of whether I feel full or not? Or have I made my needs more than Jesus alone? Do I want a portion that isn’t Jesus? Just Jesus.

It’s inevitable that, if I actually ask my 4 and 2 year olds what snack they want, they ask for the one thing we don’t have right now. When I’m on my game, I open the cupboard first and have them look inside and ask which one they want. The snacks all lined up on a certain shelf and they know to look there. Other times I hand them something and ask if they want to eat that and if they don’t, then I just put it on the table and say that’s all you’re getting right now, so if you’re hungry, that’s it.

If you’re hungry, you will take what you get. If you’re hungry, and you know what is good and right and true and satisfying, you take what you get. If I’m hungry, and I remember that I’ve tried other things – I’ve walked other roads, I’ve found them all to be dreadful and deadly – I’ll take what I get.

What I get. Do I get it? Do I really get what I get? Do I really understand what exactly it is that I have been given? The offer of a lifetime. The offer of an eternity. I forget what it is that I have. I forget the portion size. I forget the contents of the cup. I forget the body and blood, poured out for me. I forget the only one need I had has been met. All other ground is sinking sand.

But God gives good gifts besides, doesn’t he? Maybe that’s why my heart strays. Maybe I think, ok, God gave me the most amazing man in the whole world for a husband. I mean it. With all my heart. He is my sun, moon, and stars. But what if he is taken away? God forbid. Please, dear Lord, have that mercy on me. I don’t deserve this love I have. But you have given it from your hand.

He gave us the beauty and jewel of our family, our girls. He fashioned and formed them from before time was time. What a crazy thought! With all my husband and I have gone through before now. God is good. He is crazy good!

Is He not good when he takes? Is He not good when He causes the shelter to rot? Is He not good when He is silent in our dark nights? He isn’t safe. He is good. (Thank you, Lord, for CS Lewis!)

My heart is broken. I love the gifts more than the Giver. I want the gifts more than the Giver. False and full of sin. But He is still good. He still calls to me to see Him clearly. He still opens my eyes, my heart to what I fail to see. He gives me more than I need, because He already gave Himself for me, to me.

We compare portions to others. We feel like ours is stingy. Or we’ve had to wait too long for it. We aren’t satisfied. We are customers, consumers, driven by capitalism, maybe. Let’s not get political about it. We are unhappy.

But my cup runneth over. My cup is filled. The more I have of Jesus, the more I realize I need Him. And the more I am filled with him again. So I hand him my cup again and again. I stop trying to fill it with other things. I stop trying to mix a little bit of him in with other things that seem more filling. I hand him my cup and I take what I get. Because I know the Giver and the diet I’m on, the diet I was created for. That I can count on.

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