Sometimes a word keeps showing up in your life and you just can’t sweep it under the proverbial rug. Recently, mine has been “excess.” As in, excess spending, working, thinking, supplements, hair products, skin products, shoes, food, clothes, blogs in my reader, books in my Kindle. You get the picture.
How did this happen? Slowly, almost imperceptibly. But it did happen, and I’ve had to ask myself why.
I tend to be an extremist. If I’m saving, I’m a real tightwad. You couldn’t part me from a penny even if you threatened to waterboard me in Guantanamo. But when I get into excess mode, all bets are off, and I break Commandment 10: coveting.
To get to the point of excess, I most definitely was coveting. 😐
We’re bamboozled by a torrent of messages that tell us that more is good, and the consequences of our choices are downplayed or outright ignored.
We do pay a price for excess; not just financially but also time-wise and energy-wise. By “investing” unwisely, we lose out on what really matters. We end up “paying”interest” on our choices, making it more difficult to take part in the race God truly wants us to run.
Here’s how Hebrews 12:1 describes the mindset we need to avoid excess:
So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.
You can’t run if you’re lugging a 50-pound sack of potatoes with you!
How do we escape the lure of the “excess mentality”?
- Admit that excess is a form of idolatry. It takes the place God wants to occupy in your life. If you’re caught up in anything beyond what is needed or appropriate, you’re out of balance and God is probably getting the short end of the stick.
- Decide what’s your real treasure. Matthew 6:21 reminds us that wherever our hearts (mind, will, and emotions) are, there, too, we will find what we consider to be our treasure. Is owning more stuff or committing to more activity really what you’re here for?
- Count the cost of your excess. In economics, the opportunity cost of a choice is the value of the best alternative that you bypassed. What have you given up in order to have this excess? Saved money? Vacation time? Healthy living? Spiritual growth?
- Recognize the clutter that comes with excess, blocking you from hearing God and answering His call to help others. When you’re too busy taking care of your excess, everyone and everything else gets sidelined.
Do you have excess baggage? How are you going to handle it?