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Portion Control

Psalm 16:5:
You have assigned me my portion and my cup. You have made my lot secure. (TNIV)

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. (NLT)

My choice, is you, God, first and only and now I find I’m your choice. (The Message)


The other day my husband went to the freezer to take out some meat to thaw for dinner and he found that the door had not been shut properly and a box of popsicles had melted, spilling sticky goop onto each shelf and down the inside of the door. We both instantly knew who the culprit was that hadn’t shut the door: the grandson. In an effort to expand our trust, we have allowed him to get his own small snacks and with the recent heat, popsicles have become his favorites. Even with constant reminders, sometimes the door just doesn’t get shut tight.


Perhaps that is why when I was a kid we were never allowed to get our own treats. What we were allowed was doled out to us. Later, when we were responsible enough to close the door, we were allowed to get our own treats, but the amount and the variety was carefully controlled and monitored by our mother. Portions were rigidly adhered to: three cookies after meals; two donuts with breakfast; one small bowl of chips; or only one bowl of cereal for breakfast. The only between meal drink was water. And the clear understanding was ‘don’t ask for any more.’ I knew when I opened my sack at lunch at school that there would be a small bag of chips, a sandwich, and three cookies.


Some might have found comfort in the consistency with which we were fed. All I ever saw was what seemed like a banquet for my friends. I rebelled against this rigidity in private, eating other’s castoffs and sneaking food whenever I was able. I never interpreted the limits as love or wisdom, only as punitive, withholding and depriving. Others had more, why couldn’t I? This lack of understanding produced a distortion that unfortunately infiltrated so many areas of my life, from food to relationships to my spirituality.

At some point in my walk with the Lord, I came across Psalm 16, and found I needed to camp out on verse 5. The more I stayed there, the more I revisited and let the words penetrate deep into my heart, the more I was able to let go of the distortions that had led me into a bulimic form of existence(binging and purging, gorging and repenting). No matter what had happened when I was a child, it was and is God who assigns my portion and cup. He who created me knows what I need and he gives me exactly what I need to accomplish his purpose in my life.

As I pondered my portion for today, I was reminded of Jesus’ teaching to the disciples in what we now call The Lord’s Prayer: give us this day our daily bread. How many of my problems would cease to be problems if I would just focus on my portion and cup today? What would happen if we would acknowledge before God that we seek no more or less than what he has for us this day?

What do you need today? What do I need today? If this verse from David and Jesus’ subsequent teaching mean anything, then it isn’t up to me to decide. We typically spend a lot of time telling God what we need, and reminding him what others need as well. How would our prayers and life change if instead we prayed: “Show me what I really need so that I can be effective in all I do?”


Just as my mother knew that I didn’t need more that three cookies, God knows what this day holds and just what I will need to meet it. So I can trust and I will find that my lot is truly secure.

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One thought on “Portion Control

  1. Psalm 16 has always been a favorite, Tina. I marvel that He assigned me my portion and my cup. (That’ll preach!) You make a great point to focus on the daily portion. Too many times I have mentally wandered into the future and worried, forgetting that He also promised a delightful inheritance!

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