After the kids go to bed, I love to snack.
Not just the odd bit of chocolate or one biscuit. More like open that big bag of potato chips and let’s go.
Whether it’s Monday, Sunday or some night in between, there’s a constant tune in my mind that sings of after-dinner treats. A siren call to the cupboard, if you will.
My daughters are young so our family dinner time is around 6pm. Once their bedtime rolls around, I’m a bit peckish. Why, it must be time to crack open those lollie snakes or get stuck into the ice cream.
While I unashamedly have a taste for the sort of snacks which were common at kids birthday parties in the 1980s – before sugar became Public Enemy No 1 – I also know that too much of a good thing is not good. Indeed, that’s what I tell my own children about their treat quota.
Will power is not a thing I possess in spades when it comes to stuff I really want to do. I certainly can be restrained or refrain from some things – but justifying my own behaviour often wins out over trying to self-impose limits.
As I think about the exercise I am not doing and how I’m not getting any younger, I’ll opt only for one piece of leftover cake, not two.
Am I in control of my consumption, or am I controlled by it?
Weighing up whether I do or do not raid the treats stash this evening has the flavour of some ancient wisdom that I’m a fan of. The sort of wisdom for living that sounds great but I can brush aside whenever convenient (inconvenient?).
“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” but I will not be mastered by anything. “Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will do away with both of them.
This chunk of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church is recorded in 1 Corinthians 6:12-13. While I’ve just plucked those sentences out from within a letter full of detail and explanation about how to live wisely as a follower of Jesus, I think there’s at least one way I can apply them to my snack regime.
When it comes to even the relatively minor things of my life – Exhibit A: that full bag of lollie bananas – am I in control of my consumption, or am I controlled by it? Am I master of my domain, or has my domain mastered me?
It can be very difficult for so many of us, for all sorts of reasons, to hold ourselves back from what we enjoy.
One of the things I like about the “everything is permissible” wisdom is that it’s not banning us from things we like. Instead, it’s calling us to moderation so that we honour God with our whole bodies, and we don’t honour our bodies as gods.
As 1 Corinthians clearly outlines, such godly sentiment applies more broadly than my consumption of gummy bears as a 45-year-old dad. But I find it helpful guidance to return to when next I gravitate to the snack pile in the kitchen. Which is likely to be in just a few hours time …