Posts Tagged ‘worry’

Picnic Basket Epiphany

It’s 5:45pm on a Monday.
Everyone and their brother is at Target.
Maybe their grandma, too.
Why?!
It’s pouring cats and dogs outside.
Can’t people find anything better to do than peruse the aisles of knock off candles, As-Seen-On-TV gadgets and turquoise jewelry?

Wait a minute.  I’m here, too.  Without my brother, might I add (’cause I don’t have one), but Nana is waiting in the car outside.

A quick trip to the pharmacy found me lolligagging through the grocery section whilst I waited on a prescription to be filled, seeking out a quick meal to fix for my family tonight.

Spaghetti sauce?  For just a dollar a jar?
Heck yes!  I’ll take two, thank you!

Sourdough bread?  Peperidge Farm?
I never buy that brand, ’cause it’s so pricey.
It’s a splurge, but I just saved a ton on the store brand sauce.
S
ure, put it in my buggy!

Now I need some of that sprinkle stinky cheese for the top of Ole’ Smokey.
Maybe the name brand kind will be on sale.
Now where is it at?

As I rounded the corner of aisle number 5, I saw it.  I SAW IT!  Not the cheese, but something more sparkly.  Sitting on the lower shelf in the cool housewares section that taunts the hamburger meats and pineapples across the way in the grocery department, was a picnic basket.  Staring back at me in all of it’s pink and yellow woven glory, it was a simple wooden basket, much like I would imagine made a trip through the woods to granny’s house. Only, this one was jazzed up in colorful summertime hues.  It begs passersby, “Take me home with you and I’ll afford you the luxury of a perfect weekend picnic.  It will be all rainbows and unicorns.  Buy me and see!”

I realized something in that split second of hearing the fruitless attempts of that basket to promise me something it cannot (probably) deliver.

Thank you, magazine ads and television commercials.  Thank you, sitcoms and soap operas and ooshy, gooshy romance novels.  And thank you, Little Bear and Little Red Riding Hood.  Because of all these things and more, the promises of the picnic basket are alluring, to say the least.   Based on sheer emotion of these recalled things alone, it’s almost guaranteed a sell to a sucker like…well, like me!  Who woudln’t love to have a Sunday afternoon picnic with Pa and Ma and the Ingles girls in Walnut Grove?

Here’s what I’m getting at.  I’m a marketer by training, having the B.B.A. from a local university stuck behind some dresser or file cabinet in my house to prove it.  The lure of certain items, of styles of decorating, of ways of behavior…often these things come from our longing for the greener grass over there some where we’re not.

If only I would buy that picnic basket – all my fincancial woes, my menopausal blues, my family stresses, my lack of free time, my frizzy hair – all of this would go away, and I’d have chicken salad croissant sandwiches on an ant-free, plaid blanket.  I’d be drinking  lemonade spritzers  from old-timey paper straws with barber-shop stripes of orange and blue, enjoying head-tossing laughter with my immaculately clad children and adoring husband on a perfect 77 degree, partly sunny afternoon on a grassy green knoll overlooking a babbling creek.  

Babbling?  Or is it bubbling?  Babbling, bubbling…..anyhow, you get the picture, don’t you?  Can’t you see it?

I think having this picnic basekt epiphany might just cure my magazine addiction.  Yeah, we’re all addicted to something, right?  Things that promise to take us away to the perfection we imagine.

If only I could afford to buy that $400 dress from _____________ [you fill in the blank – I’m no fashionista, and little more than Wal-Mart and Catos comes to mind for me – but go ahead, plug in whatever expensive, high-end dress shop you can think of there] I’d surely turn the head of my ex-spouse and make his new girlfriend jealous…

If I eat a cheeseburger, I’ll feel so much better.  I’m a stress eater, you know.

If I [drink or smoke or do some sort of illegal drug excessively], I will be more confident.

If I buy all of those home decorating magazines, and cooking magazines, and gardening magazines, I will magically be able to turn my home into a Southern Living home, make my family healthier with all the good foods I prepare, and have a yard I can relax in.

Oh my!  I could go on and on and on.  So many things seem to offer us a quick answer to what we feel is missing.

The dress?  Self-value or worth.

The cheeseburger?  Comfort.

Alcohol, smoking, drugs?  Self-confidence.  Maybe a need to be seen as “cool”.

Magazines?  Perfection.

And what about my picnic basekt?  The one I didn’t buy?  It promises me time without worry.  It sings me a lullaby of carefree moments spent without worry over bills, or my kids’ schedules, or the Middle East…

Here’s the thing.  That all sounds great, but the conjured up image I have of the picnic basket perfection fails to mention the ants.  And the bumble bees.  And the wind, which will surely turn up any and all corners of the blanket I spread out, which will probably in turn spill drinks and flip grass clippings up onto any food the ants haven’t already eaten.  The humidity will be high, causing the crossaints to be soggy.  The temperature will be high, setting the stage for quick spoiling of the mayonnaise-based chicken salad.

Yeah, I think I’m going to give up the magazines for a while, but I might just go purchase that picnic basket. Afterall, it’s a perfect reminder to stop longing for the perfection of what might be, and instead enjoying the perfect imperfection that is all around me.

Jesus tells us in John 16:33:  “I have told you these things, so that in Me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world!”

Perfection in everything earthly is just not possible.  For each of us, what we would consider perfection is different.  Take heart, my friends!  Stop seeking out perfection and trying to “fix” things with….well….with things!  Or with other people.  Jesus Christ has overcome the world, and everything here is temporary.  TEMPORARY!  That includes the bad feelings, the oppressive longings, the insecurities….all of that junk.  Take heart!  And buy a picnic basket if you need soemthing to remind you of the immaculate celebration that awaits us on a perfectly manicured, lush lawn of green in The Master’s garden.

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“Give it to Me.”

It’s a new year.  Many conversations and comments are based right now on “resolutions”, “things we are going to change”, “new ways we are going to live”.  Just as yesterday was Friday the 13th and I could have cared less for the folklore surrounding such a number, I give as little weight to the idea of New Year’s Resolutions.  Changes should be made for personal reasons, not necessarily on the universal date of the clean slate.  I mean, if we’re vowing to make a positive change, for whatever reason, shouldn’t it be heart-induced, and not calendar-induced?

So you didn’t see a “New Years Resolution” post from me, and please don’t confuse this with one.  After all, we’re well on our way in 2012 with it being the 14th, and not the 1st.  😉  Without further ado, I would like to introduce my January 14th CFM (change-for-me).  Yeah, that sounds selfish, but I author it with the best intentions of changing for Him.  I mean, it is “me” that I long to change so that I can be more like Him.  CFM stays.

—drumroll, please—

I, a daughter of Christ, am going to give it to Him.  

Doesn’t that sound easy?  

I know a few who do this without notice…and I long to be this person.  I have given it to Him before, but it’s always been so hard to let my grip go.  I like to hold on to things.  I think I’ve even prided myself in ownership over some things for a long time before letting Him have them.  I worry.  I stress. I neatly hide things that I should give to Him.  Like a mother hen, sometimes I hold onto things, hoping they will hatch into something better, more manageable for my hands (they never do).  

Yesterday, I held onto something that was causing me enormous guilt.  It was interfering with my work.  It was monopolizing my thoughts.  It was even causing me to doubt what I was sure was a very righteous action.  “Mine, mine mine!”  Oh, how I like to hold onto things.  I certainly wasn’t thinking of sharing this, and definitely had not considered giving it away, until I went to the Ladies’ room.  That’s right, the bathroom.  I needed a break.  A breather.  I needed a private area to deal with this new thing I was carrying.  I did not go into there to pray, although I should have.  I did not go in there with the intention of leaving this thing behind.  I did not think of Him, at all.  I did not remember how much He would like to have this thing.  I did not look toward Him.  

Hallelujah, He reached out to me!

With a heavy heart and a mind trying to make since of this new, worrisome thing I had acquired, I put my head in my hands and closed my eyes.  That’s when I noticed Him.  His words reached out to me softly and reminded me He was there.  “Give it to me.”  It was not a demand.  It was not pushy.  It was not stated in disapproval.  These words came to me in love, a gift, freely offered.  He had the solution!  He always has the solution!  It was only upon “hearing” these words that I was able to let go of the thing that was causing me so much grief, and I did so readily.  It WAS easy, and the peace that replaced the area this thing had been occupying was immediate.  I’ve given things to him before, so  why do I continue to struggle with this?  Why do I try to make things my own?  

Thank you, Jesus, for reaching out to me and tapping me on the shoulder to remind me of your constant presence with me, of your continual desire to guide me, help me and lift me up when I can’t seem to stand by myself.   Thank you for emptying me of the things that cause worry, and filling me with your peace.

My It’s-Not-A-New Year’s-Resolution is to Give it to Him! 

My Basket

It’s a big one.
Made out of some type of weave material native to the plantation area in the south.
And it’s elastic, of this I am sure, because it can stretch to hold a lot of junk.

It used to be really heavy when I first got it.  Sometimes, debilitatingly so.
Often times, it would slow my pace, or be so cumbersome, that it distracted me from other things.
And it used to be very important to me, too.
I would never leave home without it.
For that matter, I would never be home without it, either.
It used to hold a pretty prominent position, always close by my side, or in my lap.

I know this basket well – would recognize it anywhere.
Because it’s familiar, I sometimes feel comfort at the sheer recognition of it.
It’s no more than the comfort of habit, though, and it is only temporary.
I have spent a majority of my life toting it around.
It has been with me through so many turns.
For a long while, it seemed to be my only constant.
Through high school, college, broken relationships.
Through health issues.
Through the birth of three children, parenting.
Through all sorts of highs and lows, I’ve held onto it.

Now, it’s not nearly as heavy, although it hasn’t changed in shape or size.
I just don’t put that much junk in it anymore.
It doesn’t really slow my pace anymore, or distract me too often.
Sometimes, I don’t even notice it.
At home, I forget sometimes that I still have it.
When I leave, I forget sometimes to take it with me.

This is what happens when I let God have what’s inside the basket.
He takes that burden from me.
He eliminates the distraction of it’s contents.
He carries anything that is too much for me to handle.
He replaces it with peace, comfort and hope.

“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.”   Philippians 4:6-7.

My basket is much less important to me than it used to be 20 years ago.
To be honest, it’s much less important to me than it was a year ago!
As my relationship with Christ grows stronger, my dependency on my basket diminishes.
Moving my focus toward faith, takes it away from things that are out of my control.

One of my favorite hymns is “Turn  Your Eyes Upon Jesus”.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in his wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
In the light of his glory and grace.

I’m so thankful for the understanding and comfort that only my Savior can provide.
And thankful that he so willingly and lovingly takes my worries from me & empties my basket.

1 Peter 5:7