Now for those who know me, you realize what a BIG deal this is. I am characteristically known for eating mac and cheese, brisket, and bread at Christmas Eve dinner, skip the ham, pass over the jello salad, skirt past the green bean casserole. Actually the Jackson children in general have been on numerous occasions dubbed "the pickiest children ever."
As I was eating this soup, the thought hit me, "what if I'm really not picky." Whoa. If I'm not picky then WHO AM I??? For 19 years I have been snubbing any food that is not fried, sugary, or shear carbs.
This may seem rather medial to you, but this thought was monumental to me. I've wondered about this a significant enough amount of time to warrant a sincere reflection of the idea. What are things I do because I enjoy or are really an unchangeable reality of myself, and what are things I do out of expectation or fear? I found a few months ago that with certain people I refine my tastes in activities to things they enjoy because we relate in them, so when I spent a significant amount of time with those people, I was losing some of the God-given passions I was created for. I got caught up in the shared experience rather than enjoyment of the activity.
Don't get me wrong, it is a lovely and restful thing to spend time doing things that are mutually enjoyed with a dear friend. But for me the excessiveness of it came to be obsession. I am by nature a people pleaser. The good side of it is that the Lord has instilled in me with an strong inclination towards sacrifice and compassion. The detrimental side of it is the incessant need to be enough and do enough so that people are always happy with me. The detrimental side and I have been wrestling a lot lately, and he's been winning.
But the wonderful part about this is that I am loved by a God who doesn't leave me to deal with this. I've been learning what it means to draw away from people (something VERY hard for me) and have been doing things I enjoy out of shear enjoyment. And you know what I found? I haven't even been enjoying God. My FAITH had even come to be subject to this excessively people centered nature of mine. I was challenged with this question this semester, "what are things that increase your affection for Christ?" And the antonym to this, "what are things that steal away your affection for Christ?" It was a question meant to avoid a "doing" mentality, not a list of Christian rights and wrongs of how to do our faith, but what stirs affection, desire, love. What makes me WANT to serve and love God in a deeper way? What steals that love, desire, and affection from me? And then what sacrifices am I willing to make to have that kind of affection?
Big Daddy Break is finally here. Nothing to do for five weeks. And after such an exhausting semester, I am beyond ready for this. I pray for this to be a time to experience the happy medium between asking God how to become more affectionate for Him, and being able to stop and rest in the great desire and affection He already has for me. I am excited for this. A time to be away from it all. To be drawn to Christ. As Clive Staples said in Mere Christianity:
"Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a fountain of energy, and beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality."
May this be a season for us to grow our affection for Jesus. For God with us who began as a fetus. May the affection He has for us give us hope in the midst of reality. May we come to know God as bigger, stronger, and all the more loving than we have believed Him to be. May He surpass expectations and meet us in our desperate humanity.