Monthly Archives: April 2012

Microwave Popcorn = My Life

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I eat my feelings.

I know am not alone in this.  When I’m grouchy or tired or frustrated, it’s easy to grab chocolate or fast food or even wine to balance my attitude. I try not to, but when I rely on only myself, I’m weak.  I’m not accountable.

I have started to realize lately just how important food has become to me.  How I rely on my taste buds to make up for the lack of validation I feel in other areas of my life.  And how pathetic that truly is. But I kind of ignored those signs and went about my semi-healthy eating routine.

Then came the smack in the face…I burned my microwave popcorn.

It’s crazy the things that God uses to get our attention.  But this definitely got mine. I did everything right.  I read the directions.  I only set the microwave for one minute, thirty seconds.  I listened for the popping.  I even took it out before it stopped popping.  But then I opened it.  The pieces on top looked fine. But there was a funny smell and the bag looked a little charred on one side.  I was embarrassed, because in a public space, the smell of burned popcorn hangs on for a while.  People were walking through and making jokes.

But then I realized how, even when I follow the simple directions right, things sometimes don’t turn out.  This popcorn was old.  It had been sitting a while.  I couldn’t just pull it out of the cabinet and toss it in the microwave and expect it to be perfect.  I looked into the bag and realized that the butter-oil mixture was all stuck to one side of the bag.  I hadn’t mixed it up before cooking it, and that’s what caused it to cook unevenly, to burn, to be ruined.

I follow the simple directions.  I try to eat well most of the time.  (The microwave popcorn was 94% fat-free and low in points.)  I think about exercising, and try to fit it in when I have time and energy.  I was trying to do it right.  I honestly wanted to make these changes and live a healthier life.  But I was taking the easy way out.  I wasn’t treating my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Again, I have taken the gift I’ve been given and been lazy in my care of it.

Paul tells us, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

He wasn’t really talking about food, but the same message still applies.  I am a temple of the Holy Spirit.  God created me and wants to be in relationship with me.  If I use food to fill the holes that He wants to fill, I’m not honoring Him with my body.  If I take the easy way out, my popcorn burns.  My body is not nourished or fulfilled.  I’m not healthy.  Most of me might look okay, but some parts are charred and ruined.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know it isn’t going to be easy.  I know I’m still going to have the temptations for cheeseburgers and french fries, for burritos, for ice cream.  I’ll rely on God to keep me accountable for my food choices, and my exercise choices.  And I’ll know that treating my body the way that He wants me to treat all other parts of His creation is just one more way I can honor God.

And anymore, that’s all I’m looking to do.  Because I know that vertical relationship is the purpose of my life on Earth.  Everything else is just Him blessing me.

Unwrapped

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“Today is a gift.  That’s why it’s called the present.”

To me, this has always been one of those annoying clichés.  It has become so overused it’s lost meaning. It’s like nails on the chalkboard.

In the last week or so, I’ve been subtly bombarded with this message.  Not in annoying, syrupy-sweet ways that made me shut my mind to this idea.  In powerful ways that whispered in my ear, lingered in my heart, and made me stop and thoughtfully consider…

Do I really unwrap my gift each day?

I understand the fragility of life on Earth.  I know that we are all mortal, and at some point we all stop living.  At some point, we all go on to something more than this life.  I think I understand that more than most people my age.  But, do I take advantage of each day I’ve been given?

No matter how much I’ve thought about it, prayed about it, and tried to rationalize it, I come to the same conclusion:

I don’t.

What a disappointment that must be to the One who gives me that gift.  I’m thankful for every day I’m given, but what am I doing with each one?  And what about all of the other gifts I’ve been given?  Am I using those?  Or am I leaving them unwrapped on a shelf somewhere, saving them for another time?  What am I waiting for?  Why am I saving the things I should be savoring?

I’ve always been over-planned and over-prepared.  (I should have been a boy scout…except that I’m a girl and hate the outdoors.)  I worry about everything.  I think about the worst possible scenario. I didn’t want my things to get messed up or ruined, so I would put them away.  Save them for a “special occasion.”

Until God smacked me in the head and laid a heavy truth on me: EVERY DAY IS A SPECIAL OCCASION.  Because I get to be here, on Earth.  I get to hug my little boy and listen to his beautiful voice.  I get to watch him sleep and hear his gentle snoring.  I get to spend time with friends and family and do work that challenges me.  How can I not consider that an occasion worth using my gifts?

When I get to my eternal home, I don’t want to see all the gifts I never unwrapped out of fear of failing or of messing them up.  I want to know that I’ve used them to the glory of the One who made me.

This realization is the first step.  I don’t think there’s a 12-step program for people who are too scared to move.  I’m going to mess up.  I’m going to fail.  But, I’m also going to stop only worrying about all the things I can’t do and start focusing on things He can do.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” – Matthew 19:26.  That doesn’t seem cliché at all.

God Goes Green

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I have a Pinterest problem.  I love to salivate over the yummy (and super-fattening) recipes, imagine what it would be like to live in the houses, afford and fit into the clothes, come up with the witty, inspiring sayings, or travel to the beautiful places all around the world.

The pins that have never really interested me are the crafts.  I’m not a crafty person.  I don’t want to take things that I would normally discard and make something new with them.  I don’t need handcrafted home decor made from wine corks, toilet paper rolls, and crayons.  I think some of the projects are cute and things I’d like to do with my kiddo this summer, but I don’t have an inner desire to re-use the old and make it new again. I know it’s good for the Earth, but it just doesn’t inspire me.

That is, until I began to realize my disinterest in these beautiful things was a perfect reflection of how I viewed my life.  I viewed my life as old and something easily discardable.  Those craft projects take too much work; likewise, it would take too much work to really change the course of my life and the mission of my heart, right?  I didn’t see the value in myself. I didn’t see how I could be made into a new creation.  In my heart, I was who I was, and I was too far gone to fix things now.  Sometimes I wished I could just start over, or even worse, quit.

Luckily for me, God likes to upcycle us.  He likes to make us new; He likes to make us into the people He desires us to be.  All I had to do was realize that and focus my life on Him and everything He can do instead of everything that has gone wrong without Him.  I can undergo a metamorphosis or a change just by committing my life to Christ.  Paul tells the Corinthians, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (1Cor 5:17)  What an amazing message that is!  Just by living in Him, I can become a new creation!  No waste, just improvement!

I’m in the middle of a turbulent season of change in my life.  Nothing is the same as it was two years ago, or even one year ago.  Really, hardly anything is the same as it was six months ago.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a person who likes change.  I resist it with all of my being.  But by accepting Christ and making my relationship with Him the center of my life, I can embrace change, because I know that He is never going to let me go.  And when God works in my heart, I feel changes happening in me, and I don’t want to fight them any longer.