No stew for me!

God gave us an appetite for food, love, achievement, respect, a sense of belonging, just to name of few. God created them, sin distorted them. Appetites are out of control when we hear them whisper “I want it NOW!” What is interesting about the human condition is that appetites are never fully or finally satisfied. It becomes “I want it NOW, and I want bigger, better, or more.”

My ability to control my appetite dictates my life course and my legacy.

Did you know our brains play a huge role in our appetite? Psychologist have discovered a chemical reaction called impact bias. Your brain will over-estimate the pleasure or displeasure of an event or action you are getting ready to indulge in. Through research scientist have found that team members are not as thrilled as they had anticipated of winning, and when someone makes a decision to break off a relationship or change jobs, they are not as devastated as they thought they might be a few months later.

Causes of the impact bias

The impact bias is a pretty reliable finding, so why does it happen? Wilson and Gilbert (2005) find two main reasons:

  • Focalism: when people think about the impact of future events they tend to forget about all the other things that are going on in their lives. In reality the one event we are imagining will likely be overshadowed by all sorts of other events that happen at the same time. We conveniently forget that the future will always contain many other events we can’t predict, some positive and some negative.
  • Sense-making: people have a natural tendency to rationalise what happens to them. When something bad happens we initially feel unhappy but immediately start searching for the underlying reasons…… when we rationalise them we reduce their impact on us.

This explains, to some degree, why, in the moment, we rationalize affairs, drugs, excessive alcohol, overeating, etc… We are impacted by the appetite of NOW and rationalizing through extreme focalism that this moment–this appetite–will solve our problems and make us happy. We over-estimate the pleasure and, unfortunately, in some cases, we impact our legacy.

Does the married man or woman consider the impact of their affair (in the moment) on their children? Their grandchildren?

Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. Esau was born first and had the Jewish birthright of position, power, and resources/money because of his birthright. He was out hunting one day, and, when he returned experienced impact bias. He sold his birthright to his younger twin brother for a bowl of stew. He changed his legacy forever for a moment of pleasure. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There are some stories in the Bible that I don’t “get” spiritually–I feel like I can’t apply it to my life. However, yesterday in a message, I got it. Our whole family “got it”; yet, each person “got it” in their way.

Don’t be too quick to judge Esau. We all experience impact bias every day. In that moment we rationalize our appetites to fulfill a longing, a need, or a desire. You may not have a birthright, but you have a legacy. On the way to church, we had a family “talk” about some things going on in the home and a need for change. God provided a message and a time of prayer.

For me, my love language is affirmation–words of encouragement. I had a situation in work life, in which, I was not affirmed–in fact ignored and annoyed is more like it. I carried that exchange around like wearing polyester on a hot day. So, God, spoke to me, “If you want to follow me and my plans for you, you have got to relinquish your appetite for affirmation and encouragement. I did not create you to worship man–worship me.”

Easier said than done, but it’s a start. I’m amazed at how many opinions exist when you step up to lead, and the comfort of folks to share their opinions, or minimize you. I’m not talking about a healthy conversation of change and “what can we do better”. I think you understand. If you’ve stepped outside your door for any reason and communed with people–you get it. People are fickle and moody–God is never-changing.

I could drastically change the direction of God’s plan for me by allowing man to control my self-worth.

What appetites do you have, that if you were to step outside the rationalization of it, you would honestly see that you are impacting your legacy?

Don’t take the pot of stew! Take five minutes and close your eyes and ask God to show you a brighter future based on His Word. How will we know His Word if we don’t read it daily? A purposed heart focused on HIM, not our appetites.

Based on Pastor Stan’s message from 1/12/2014 at Cloverhill Assembly of God

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