I have to travel sometimes for work, and pretty much every time I stay in a hotel, I am fascinated by my hotel room’s minibar. Why, you ask? Well, first off, I typically have just gotten off a multiple-hour airplane leg, and I’m desperate and absolutely starving. Second, I really don’t want to try to find a decent restaurant around me, because I’m exhausted from airports and lines and people everywhere. You know air travel these days, it’s often madness. Third, the minibar contains food and drinks that are pleasurable to consume. They taste good. They are flat-out yummy.
Many a person has indulged in the contents of a hotel room minibar. There is absolutely no shame in that. However, I’ve come to understand that it’s not the greatest idea. Why, you ask? Well, first off, it’s freaking expensive. Seven dollars for a bar of chocolate? Come on, now! Five dollars for a snack bag of Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies? Okay, some of you know I love Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies, but only around five small cookies come in that size of a bag, and so no thank you.
Second, even if I indulge, I’m going to get a stomachache, because my body needs real food. Snacks aren’t going to satisfy you when you’re starving. They never satisfy fully anyway, which is why they are called snacks – defined as “small amounts of food eaten between meals.” I need a meal. Third, even if they did satisfy, I would regret it. That stuff just isn’t good for you. It’s not like they have carrot sticks and roasted red-pepper hummus in the minibar, or a green goodness smoothie. I’ve never even seen a Greek yogurt or a coconut water in a minibar. Ever. Maybe you have. Maybe you stay at different places than I do. From my experience, there’s just never any healthy food waiting for you in a hotel room. Okay, wait, maybe you’ll find some almonds. But I already had enough almonds on my flight. I just want actual sustenance!
This week, my latest emotional and intellectual negotiation with my hotel room’s minibar got me thinking about my choices in life. And how the easiest and most convenient are usually never the best choices to make. And yes, I’ll agree, it’s so very easy to rationalize partaking in some deliciousness from the minibar because, after all, you’re super hungry and wiped out and deserve it. Just like it’s easy to rationalize away so many other things I should be doing, but just really don’t want to.
I think this is increasingly true the older we get. We have a little more money in our pockets for various indulgences. We don’t have to wait as long to obtain something we desire, like we did when we were much younger. We have much more freedom and distractions and responsibilities and reasons to choose what is immediately gratifying and comfortable, instead of the harder, better-for-the-long-term choice. Plus, we have much less time in our days, and so why not? Man, if we really want something, like, really want it, we can figure out a way to reconcile it even if we know it’s not God’s best for us. I’ve done it so many times. SO MANY.
When you think about your life, what is your minibar metaphor? In what area are you making compromising choices, and finding some way to justify it? Does it have to do with what you consume – with your stomach or your eyes or your mind? What about with the attitude you choose at work, or even at home with your spouse? What about a major, meaningful life goal that you set a while ago (or even around New Year’s!), but have left along the wayside while you chose less important tasks to busy yourself with?
For me recently, it’s about the quality of quality time I have with God. When my heart is in the right place, I get so much out of hanging out with Him and sharing my life and thoughts with Him and listening for Him to speak to me through His Word and through others. It’s like life is a grand adventure, and He’s got my back, and I don’t stress about anything, and I know I’m unconditionally loved and can live out that love towards others all the time with so much hope and excitement every day.
When my heart is in the wrong place, and I’m disconnected from the fullness of life He provides, spending time with God feels like work. And my mentality changes from being pure and selfless and desiring a relationship to simply wanting a transaction. In those moments, I (not-so-secretly) expect tangible results in return for me spending time with Him.
But He’s not about to allow me to use Him like that. God will not be exploited or taken advantage of, and deserves the best of my time and energy instead of my leftovers. But still, it’s easy to compromise the quality of the time I spend with Him because I could be doing so many other things that lead to visible results. And in my narrow, immature perspective, sometimes I feel like all that matters are relatively quick, visible results.
And in those moments, because I’m desperate and tired and can rationalize to myself that I deserve it, I will choose what’s easy and comfortable and immediately gratifying. Even if it’s going to cost me a lot, in the short term and in the long term. I will choose the minibar instead of something that’s actually good and healthy for me. And I will regret it.
It starts with a single right choice. Make it today. And then build on it, and do it again tomorrow. Don’t let more of these years slip by as you don’t do what you know you should do, and what you know will really, truly benefit you. We’ve already lost a lot of time as it is with our justifications and excuses. And guess what: the coolest thing happens when we stop compromising, because our God is a God of redemption and restoration, and can make all things new.
A single right choice.
Do it. It’s worth it.