Saturday, November 28, 2015

Black Friday – Out of the Darkness into the Light

No, I did not get up early to stand in line to fight my fellow man for huge discounts on Christmas gifts.  Not this year anyway. 

This black Friday I did my best to overcome a Thanksgiving Hangover.  No, I didn’t fall off the wagon. Although my family did come over to celebrate Thanksgiving with wine and German beer, all I had to drink was Coke Zero.  

You see, I have been training to run 5ks without dying and trying to lose weight. I have had success in doing so because I have been extremely disciplined in my exercise regimen and in what I eat.  On Thanksgiving I rose early, exercised like normal, and went down to Rhinebeck for Ferncliff Forest’s 8th Annual Turkey Trot.  It was 30 degrees and I put on a lite fleece, a winter hat, and gloves to keep warm.  I over compensated for the cold though because 5 minutes into the race I could feel the heat and my sunglasses started to fog up. It was okay, I thought not being able to see would keep me focused on running. I finished 27 out of 37 in my age group, so not so great, but whatever, I didn’t die!  

After the race, I went home and Michele had the turkey in the oven and everything ready to go. My Dad, brothers and their girlfriends, and my stepdaughter and her boyfriend all showed up and the feasting began!  I ate turkey, Michele’s awesome Italian sausage stuffing, peas and carrots, chips, salsa, crackers, cheese, pepperoni, cheesecake, buffalo chicken dip, brownie cupcakes, and 4 20z Coke Zeros. 

After training, my body is not used to eating so much and/or so many carbs.  So Friday, I rose early and it took much longer to get through my regular work out.  I did some online shopping for Christmas and then I took the kids into town go to Game stop so Haley could pre-order this game she has her heart set on.  We went into Walmart just to see the aftermath of Black Friday and seeing the picked over displays and frenzied shoppers sort of made me sick, or maybe it was my stomach.  We left after a few minutes without purchasing anything. 

After hitting the drive through at McDonalds, we went home and then, much to my shame, I was surrounded by leftovers, so day 2 of the feast was on: Leftover turkey, gravy, stuffing, cheesecake, apple pie, and then turkey tetrazzini for dinner! 

After a day of watching movies I didn’t enjoy, scrolling through social media, and filling up on food just to get rid of it, I felt somewhat physically ill and spiritually corrupted.  I had indulged the flesh giving into every whim of desire.  I felt like I had worked through most of the seven deadly sins

 (pride: I am running 5ks, hosting Thanksgiving, and am just awesome!
 greed: cyber shopping
 lust, envy:  Facebook, it’s all about lust and envy… for some people….
gluttony:  Mcdonald’s and thanksgiving feast = kill me now
sloth: lazy TV watching slug)

in 24 hours.  So last night I watched this series of teachings on Proverbs and it felt great to reconnect with the word of God.  After getting lost in the flesh (even in this seemingly normal overindulgence), it felt good to walk in the spirit even for just a short while.  

Holidays are nice break from routine but when you overdo the feasting (and in the past I used to overdo the drinking too) you see that you sort of missed the point.  It is nice to gather together and feast but I lost sight of what I was supposed to be most thankful for and to: God.  I spent most of my life trying to meet my needs, to feed my appetites, only to find out that nothing material can satisfy. Our temporary natures in this universe guarantee our eventual dissatisfaction with the things of this world. Physical objects age and fall apart.  Sensory pleasures fade away.  People (ourselves included) are inconsistent and disappoint.  Instead of going all out feasting, I should have taken a moment just to enjoy a breath and to reflect on the goodness of God. 

The great news is as I walk this road with the Lord, it takes me less time to get back on track. Every time things get out of balance I know that I just have to turn back to the Lord.  I just have to follow what I think would be His will for my life.  I am not always sure what that is but seeking His wisdom in the word of God is always a good place to start.  I sure am looking forward to Men’s Bible study tomorrow morning.  5:30 am at Rock Solid Church, in the basement, if you are interested.  

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