Tuesday, February 26, 2013

forks and knives

so i've been writing about plates
and cups lately.
today it's gonna be forks and knives.  
{art by www.jeanneillenye.blogspot.com }
if you want to dig into a big delicious meal you'll need a fork and a knife {unless you love sushi like me...in that case - insert 'chopsticks'}.

are you ready to dig in with me?

i love to cook...really, i do.  but with the pace of life these days i have to admit that i absolutely savor a meal that has been prepared for me.  it doesn't happen often so when it does i allow the sight, smell and taste of it to really sink in.  my heart {and taste buds} give thanks.  

i've been thinking a lot about things that are prepared for me.

i've also been reading a lot about abraham.

i'm guessing most of you are familiar with the name.  amazing really, considering he should have just drifted off into obscurity.  before God got a hold of him some people may have labeled abraham a 'nobody'.  he had no children, no storybook marriage, no impressive achievements.  and yet i can say with great conviction that he is the father of my faith.  wow.

andy stanley says this of the story of abraham...
despite our relentless disinterest in him, God made the first move to reestablish his connection with humankind.

adam and eve majorly messed up our original divine relationship with that well-known fruit eating incident.  in that moment we saw the massive, forever-changing impact that a lack of faith in God can bring.

and them comes abraham.  and we see the massive, forever-changing impact that a bit of faith in God can bring.

it all started with a promise.  God making a promise to do something seemingly impossible in the life of an ordinary man.  
...and it all moved forward to change the course of history with a response.  Abraham responding with faith.  
an ordinary man trusting an extraordinary God to ultimately serve up the life he had prepared in advance for him.  the very life and purpose that abraham had been created for.

do you ever hear whispers of the life that has been prepared for you?  do you ever sense an uncovering of something so deep in your soul that it almost feels like it was knit into your very being?  

when the Creator enters into relationship with His creation there is an unspeakable feeling of being understood for who you really are...for who you were really meant to be.  if you don't know what i am talking about keep digging.  keep listening.  i promise it's there...waiting like a glowing ember just under the surface of your skin.

i'm learning that i sometimes must battle this intense work ethic and sense of responsibility i possess.  there comes a time when i must cease working my tail off for whatever it is i think i should be doing.  instead i must believe in what has already been prepared for me.  

sometimes i take off my apron, dust the flour from my cheeks and just sit down at the table.  i purposefully take hold of the fork and knife and dive into what has been plated and served just for me.

during this lenten season i am not giving myself rigid requirements or restrictions.  i'm not going to burden myself with all the preparations for a good meal.  instead i am accepting that which i have been served and savoring every bite.  

this proverbial meal is not nearly as easy to consume as the bowl of chili i had for dinner last night.  in order to really partake of the life i have been given...the one unique life prepared just for me...i have to overcome the countless distractions that beckon me to get up from the table before i have tasted the last bite.  it's the distractions i'm targeting these days.  the things i'm letting go of are idle time spent perusing social media, watching t.v., or other brainless endeavors.  and with the extra time i am banking i have been reading, writing, memorizing scripture, creating works of art, having real conversations, and looking people in the eyes.

what about you?  it's not too late to intentionally shift some of your habits during these holy days.  what do you want more of?  what are the things that will allow you to savor every bite - whether bitter or sweet - of this life prepared just for you?  what are the things that will leave you and those around you feeling satisfied instead of suffering from hunger pangs?  
and what things can you take less of in order to gain the more?

i'm asking myself all these same questions over and over again because i will never allow my soul to be given over to a 'relentless disinterest' in the One who created me in this time and this place for the work He prepared just for me.

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. {ephesians 2:7-10 MSG}