Too Much Birthday
By Laura Bailey
"Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle." Proverbs 23:4 NLT
We had a running family joke in my home when someone whined and complained from a day packed with too much fun. The joke originated from one of my favorite childhood storybooks.
In the story, the little bear had "too much birthday." On the morning of her birthday, she woke up ready to celebrate all day long. The day was filled with friends, food, and fun, but eventually, it all became too much and she had a major meltdown. She had everything she wanted, but instead of making her happy it overwhelmed her, too much of a good thing quickly turned into a bad thing.
As an adult, I continue to find myself experiencing the effects of "too much birthday." When activities and social obligations fill every available moment in my days I end up exhausted and overwhelmed. When a few bites of dessert turn into a whole bowl I end up with a sickly stomach and a guilty conscience. I go on convincing myself I don't need rest until my body responds by becoming physically sick.
Isn't it easy to extend ourselves beyond our limitations? Choosing to ignore our limitations is unwise because when we continually push beyond our capabilities we will eventually break down.
The book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom on living a godly life. Towards the end of the book, we find "thirty sayings of the wise," verses that focus on living a life that seeks the wisdom of God.
Nestled in the middle of the sayings is Proverbs 23:4-5, "Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle." The author of this Proverb wasn't warning against having wealth, personal luxuries, or worldly comforts. Instead, he is driving us to consider what cost and what sacrifices we must make to obtain these things.
We experience the effects of "too much birthday" when we try to fill the void in our lives with this world's temporary things. Like the little bear in the story, we tell ourselves that if we just had "this," or when we get "that," then we will be happy- we will finally have our best life ever! But, just like the little bear, when we pursue the wrong things, expecting that more stuff fills the void in our lives, we find ourselves feeling empty, discouraged, and depressed.
The only thing worth pursuing is God. He offers, through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, the gift of eternal life. A relationship with God doesn't mean that we will magically live comfortable and carefree lives. However, those who trust the Lord aren't dependent on circumstances, finances, or relationships for their happiness. So maybe instead of overindulging in ice cream when you're feeling lonely, start a text thread with a few friends from church. Or instead of adding another event to the already packed calendar make some space for the sabbath this weekend. We can release ourselves from the rat race of having it all and being it all and rest in the comfort of the One who is all in all ( Matthew 11:28).
Intersecting Faith and Life:
John Calvin once wrote, “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” Meaning, humans are naturally bent to pursue anything other than God, seeking temporary comfort and contentment in worldly things over eternal. Looking at your life, is there something that you have allowed to be your source of happiness other than God? Take time today to confess, and ask the Lord to release you from this idol, and allow Him to have number one priority in your life.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/bernardbodo
Laura Bailey is a Bible teacher who challenges and encourages women to dive deep in the Scriptures, shift from an earthly to an eternal mindset, and filter life through the lens of God’s Word. She is the author of Beyond the Noise, and loves any opportunity to speak and teach women of all ages. She is a wife and momma to three young girls. Connect with her on her website, www.LauraRBailey.com
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