When I was a kid, my mom had this thing about us eating anything while she was preparing a meal. She would not let us snack while she was cooking. We could not have dessert before dinner. This applied to both us kids and Dad. She would say, “You’re going to spoil your appetite.” She did not want us to get full off of junk when she would soon put a wholesome meal on the table. As a kid, this really seemed unfair, but as an adult, I understand it more clearly. In retrospect, I understand that my mom wanted to fill me with food that would give me energy and sustenance. When I feast on snack food rather than a meal, I start to feel sluggish and even dirty.
I think sometimes along this life journey, we get a hankering for something and we want it right then and there. I am prone to become discontented and want change now. It is NOT easy for me to take one day at a time. I am a planner and have been since I was a kid. When my brother, Jonathan, and I were kids, we would “make plans” for upcoming vacations, youth camps, company coming, etc. Back then, “making plans” basically meant writing a packing list and dreaming about what we wanted to do and our expectations. This type of thing has bled over into my adulthood. I like to have some kind of insight into what my future will hold. It is really easy for me to make a “just in case” plan for my life. You know, just in case my heart’s desires go unfulfilled; I really don’t want to be left hanging empty-handed.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it is incredibly important to be wise and plan for your future. That is why I have spent the last several years of my life investing in my career through education, volunteerism, and being a diligent employee. I also think it is important to invest in friendships. I know I want people in my life that I can lean on in difficult times and I also want to be equipped to reciprocate that to my friends in their times of need. Those kinds of plans are important, as are planning for our health and finances. However, sometimes our planning can get out of control and more importantly, out of His control. We have to be careful that our plan does not become ‘Plan A,’ while His plan sits on the back burner as ‘Plan B’.
It is easy to say, I want this right here and now. For me, I want to have my own family and “sooner would be better than later, Lord.” This year I hit age 35 and it was really difficult for me. One of my heart’s desires is to bear children. Yes, I want adoption in my future too, but I would love to know what it is like to experience carrying a child. That has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. If I start thinking about the present and consider the bleakness of that part of my future, I become overwhelmingly discouraged. I think this is one way that we can “spoil our appetite” because we are feeding ourselves with fear and the “What ifs” of the future.
There are other ways that we can spoil our appetite such as spending too much time on social media. That is a big one for me. I have to limit the time I spend there because when I don’t, I notice that I begin to take on a negative persona. Another way that we can fill ourselves is by spending our time carelessly. I can spend hours laying around while listening to audiobooks when I could easily get up and be productive while I listen. We can ingest things that are not healthy for us spiritually because we are bored or lonely. We are currently surrounded by a lot of negativity in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have to limit how much I take in regarding this topic because I will become full of anxiety and feelings of melancholy caused by how hopeless the situation seems.
One thing I have learned through this pandemic is how to take one day at a time. I cannot think too far in the future or I will lose hope. I am taking it day by day for the first time in my life. I am filling my appetite with catching up on conversations with friends, precious conversations on Marco Polo with my nieces, spending more time talking on the phone and texting family, and reconnecting with old acquaintances. This is also a great time to indulge in God’s Word and spending more time feasting on prayer to draw closer to Him.
Envie (ahn-vee) is a Cajun/French word meaning desire or want and my mother used it often when she talked about cravings. If we were craving a dish from a specific cuisine, once we ate that food, she would always ask, “Did that satisfy your envie?” That is why she did not want us to get full on snacks and appetizers before dinner. She wanted us to have a balanced meal that would put an end to our hunger and keep us through the night.
Oftentimes, we may become impatient and temporarily appease our envie while God is preparing something that will satisfy and sustain us. Don’t let the appetizers of life draw you in so that you indulge so much that you are too full when the main course arrives. That dessert will be so much sweeter after your soul is satisfied with the nutrients of the main course.
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name, I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips, my mouth will praise you.” – Psalm 63:1-5