Friday, June 21, 2013

The Apple Slice Battle

"I think they should outlaw fruit," the seven year old I nanny told me yesterday. I'm not sure who "they" includes, but evidently they are some force that makes up the laws about what is healthy for young children to eat.

I really enjoy nannying, it is a refreshingly slower pace than my four years of college. Not to mention, my job requirements include spending all day playing games: Wii Bowling, Barbies, The Game of Life, Tag. You name it, I've probably played it.

However, sliced apples have become the bane of my existence.

Okay, I'll admit that only a nanny (or a desperate parent) would confess their nemesis was chopped fruit. I realize I have happily traded in the stress of research papers and tests for the life of getting a 7 year old to eat her apple slices.

Allow me to explain: Part of my job is to make sure she eats her fruit serving at lunch. She knows that eating her fruit is healthy for her. She knows that it will make her stronger. These facts about the benefit of eating her apples is not fully convincing. Instead, she takes her sweet time to finish the five slices of apple on her plate. Sometimes to get her to eat them, I even have to remove all distractions to make sure she eats the fruit.

It never fails to amaze me how God can use anything as a teachable moment. This summer, a very loud lesson came in the form of apple slices - because sometimes faith is a lot like a 7 year old's battle with the apple slices.

I know that following Jesus is healthy for me.

I know that following Jesus will make me (spiritually) stronger.

Yet how many times do I take my pretty sweet time in listening and even more so following through with what He calls me to?

Yes, God taught me a faith lesson in apple slices. Just like the little girl and her fruit, sometimes He even has to take away all of life's distractions so that the only thing I can focus on is living out my specific calling. Jesus continually invites me to be a part of sharing His story and showing His love to a broken world in desperate need of a Savior, even when I am reluctant to take a bite of spiritual fruit.
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" - Psalm 34:8
Perhaps its time to stop hesitating and truly taste God's goodness. Whatever situation God is calling you to trust and follow Him, my prayer is that you would stop stalling or making up excuses to truly enjoy the goodness of the Lord.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What Happens When God Picks

I attended a worship service last night, and the following passage from 1 Corinthians 1 was mentioned during the sermon:
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are," (27-28, emphasis added).
Recently I perceived my life to be filled with these "things that are not". Fairly quickly I could create a list in which I don't measure up to the world's standards. Not to mention, inadequacies such as foolish, weak, low, and despised are not the characteristics I care for people to think of me as.

Yet that is what God chooses. 

Foolish. Weak. Low. Despised.

The list includes things plenty of people believe about themselves, yet are too afraid to admit aloud or even to themselves. Everybody have memories of things they did that fall into one of those categories, a tell-tale sign of our broken humanity.

While thinking about the type people Jesus chooses to fulfill His mission in the world, I began to wonder about my own description. More often than not, I take those moments where I feel foolish, weak, low, or despised and sweep them under a rug or shove them in a closet never to be seen or heard from again. Yet Paul is relaying that Jesus wants those moments and traits because they serve a purpose.

I missed the memo about that part of following Jesus when I surrendered my life to His lordship.

The purpose of using our weakness is that it brings glory to God. If it seems a little paradoxical at first, hang on. God is infinitely better at everything than us, and as a result of the fall from Eden, humans are very broken individuals who need a Savior. What better way to display His greatness and might than to take our shortfalls and still use them for His purposes? The world doesn't use foolish, weak, low, and despised people - but God does.

What are the "are not" places in your life that perhaps like mine are waiting to be used as a light for others, pointing them to Jesus? Instead of looking at the shortfalls as negatives, why don't we begin to view those as places as room for God to work and reveal His glory in our lives.