Dessert first! I love sweets. Now that I am my own boss, many times I choose to have dessert first! I vividly remember as a child tagging along with my mom to a store we called “Childress” which was located in our hometown. Back then, it was like a “7-11” store….It had shelves of my favorite candy and snacks. Back then, 75 cents bought a ton of candy…it would last for a whole school week! I would sneak a piece here and there during the school day.

As an adult, when we go “out for dinner,” I make sure to save a “pocket” (room in my tummy) for my favorite dessert. I think my favorite dessert in Columbia can be found at Garibaldi Cafe. Their homemade crisp almond basket with vanilla bean ice cream covered with fresh berries (blueberries and strawberries) is delicious. The berry juice just oozes all over the ice cream. I make sure to tell the waiter when we arrive to save an almond basket for me. They are so popular that they sell out quickly. I learned this early on when they sold out and I missed out. It was my single reason for picking that restaurant on that particular night.

Unfortunately, my kids have inherited my appetite for sweets. Appetites aren’t bad things. I believe God created them. Appetites bring zest and passion to life. But appetites can be terrible filters for making decisions. A.K.A. don’t go to the grocery store when you are hungry……..Your grocery bill will be higher and you may end up buying more of everything and too many unhealthy things.

Many studies have been done on the human appetite. It is very hard to say no when you are extremely hungry….resistance is low. Impact bias is one of several tricks your brain can play on you when your appetite is stirred…. Simply put, when an appetite is stimulated, the brain magnifies it out of proportion to our appetites. We overestimate how happy we will be if we can satisfy that particular appetite. It applies to more than just food. For me, when I go clothes shopping, I have learned to walk away from a dress or a top I like and think about it. At first look, I may think it is beautiful and love the color and can picture all the places I could wear the clothes, but I have learned to walk away and think about it. Amazing that sometimes I don’t give it another thought….out of sight… out of mind… buyer’s remorse has gone way down.

If you have raised teenagers, most likely you have heard them say, “Mom, if I don’t get to go, I’ll just die!” Or, “If I don’t get one of those, I’ll just die. Everyone has one!”……Learning self-control and how our brains play tricks on us when it comes to needs compared to wants…..can be a challenging thing. We can become stuff-a-holics, status-a-holics or security-a-holics… or a combination of the three. Gaining control of our appetites and learning to be objective about them can transform our lives. On the Back 9, sad it has taken this long, but I know I eat too much sugar…..I have come to realize I have to change. Not sure what your struggle may be with your appetite, but I know we all have them.

There is a simple scripture that has really helped me to look at my “appetites,” not just with sweets but with clothes, house stuff, etc…..1Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Learning to be content does bring great gain. It can save you from making impulse or impact decisions that you will regret later or even instantly! Learning to say no to myself has been challenging at times but very satisfying as well. I have learned fleeing is a good thing. I’ve trained myself to just simply walking away for a while instead of acting on the spot. It helps me avoid being sucked into discontentment with myself and much satisfaction has come from gaining self-discipline. It has helped me fight the “good fight of faith,” 1Timothy 6:12.

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.” Contentment is the greatest wealth.

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