A year ago this month I had the exciting opportunity to travel to Italy for a few weeks. This trip was life-changing. Not only did I have an incredible time with my mother and sister-in-law exploring the sites and touring the country; but my eyes were opened to an important fact. I realized that Americans, me included, over-indulge on everything.
What caused me to come to this conclusion are several things but here are a few examples. Italians eat 2 plates for dinner one meat, one pasta. That sounds like a lot of food but each plate is a serving size. Dinner takes two to three hours to complete because the meal is not about the food, but the company. Italians also have wine with dinner, even the children. There is no issue of alcoholism because one glass satisfies. There are also no fast-food chains with the exception of the airport. My cousins who live in Rome informed me that McDonald’s came into town but went out of business in six months. Italians view fast food as unhealthy. I also noticed that there are only a few large houses or SUVs because bigger is not usually better.
When I returned home from Italy I decided to be intentional on portion control in every aspect of my life. Do I need a bigger house? Do I need a bigger car? Do I need to eat a second helping? I realized that what I thought I needed was really just a want. At the time my family was living in a 27-foot fifth-wheel parked at my parents’ house. I needed to be content with what God had graciously blessed me with.
1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.” Just because something is not sinful does not mean I should do it. I’ve recently challenged myself to refuse to be mastered by anything. I will not allow my taste buds to determine my diet. I will not allow my laziness to keep me from exercising, I will not allow the TV or computer to keep me from playing with my kids, and I will choose to be content with what I have. Just because I have the money to buy something does not mean I should. I will not be mastered by anything.
Many things in our lives can master us; some good, some bad. Is there something in your life that is mastering you? Let’s choose to allow the Lord to be the Lord of our lives by living disciplined, self-controlled lives!