Sunday, January 11, 2009

Carrots vs Shells and Cheese

Bug hates vegetables. That is the 5 year old. Luckily so far the baby will eat anything that gets remotely close to her mouth and does not move. But Bug hates veggies. And she hates most fruit also. We have expanded her culinary horizon greatly compared to a year ago, but it is still like waging war to even mention what veggies are going to be on her plate at dinner time. She can have a plate full of shells and cheese - her absolute favorite - but all she sees and talks about and WHINES about are those few spoonfuls of carrots beside it that she must eat also. You would think I was making her go on a strict vegetarian diet with absolutely no chicken nuggets in sight to hear the way she acts when a few measly little veggies find their way onto her plate. It's like she doesn't even see the food she likes, she is too busy focusing on what she does NOT like.

As adults, I have noticed that we tend to act this same way about things in our life to our heavenly Father. He puts a few things in our path for us to go through to either grow, strengthen our character, or just to simply learn to rely on him instead of ourselves while we get through the mess. When these things happen we seem to instantly forget about all the great and wonderful things he has done and is continuing to do in our lives, and only see the horrible big bad obstacle that is now before us. Why are we so short sighted? We want our shells and cheese, but can't seem bear down and struggle through something we don't like long enough to eat our carrots.

Do you ever have one of those days? You know--you wake up late, all the shaving cream is gone, work is awful, the kids are in a bad mood, your spouse is having a bad day also, no one seems to care, you realize you forgot to mail a payment, you find out they are having layoffs at your work, and then the very last straw is when you burn dinner to a crisp! Ever have one of those days, or those weeks? The little things chip away at us slowly and if we do not notice and take action, when a big obstacle comes up it will tear a giant chunk of us off.

Lately a lot of things have been going on in the lives of people I know, and my personal life, that can bring on worry, doubt, and even discouragement. Fortunately, the new series our church is doing right now is on HOPE. This has been very timely for me! I am also reading a book Having a Mary heart in a Martha world, that speaks a lot about worry and discouragement.

What are we to do when it feels as if everything, and sometimes everyone, in our lives has turned against us? Should we lie down and give up, get mad and pitch a 2-year-old type tantrum, go shopping (sometimes even if we have no money), go out to eat and try to drown our problems in food? Or, worse yet, I have several people I know that just seem to "check out" of life when everything goes wrong. Their bodies are here, but their minds are not and they have no joy about anything, they just go through the motions of life.

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy about your life (Amplified Bible)

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

God knows that things bad will happen in our lives. Jesus tells us that bad things WILL happen. He also tells us that we should not dwell on them. Not that we should not be concerned and do what we can, but in the end we are to realize that everything is from God. Therefore we should turn all things over to God and let him work them out and spend our time focusing on God, instead of focusing on our problems. Think through your difficulties, then prayerfully turn them and your thoughts over to God.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. (NIV)

When we spend all of our time dwelling on our problems we magnify them in our mind. Whatever we continually think about will be our perception of the world. God wants us to think constantly about the good things he has done and will do for us instead of any troubles we may be going through that will depress us. Remember, even if nothing else is going right: God sent his son to die for YOU. That is right - YOU. So that you may be redeemed. How could we let anything overshadow that simple truth?

In short, if all you see are carrots, then that is all you feel the world is. If you can hunker down long enough to eat the carrots, you can get on to the creamy shells and cheese of life.

So, eat your veggies. God wants you to have the cheese.

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