Crazy as it sounds, once upon a time, a meal at one of our more “common” fast food restaurants was a pretty big deal; a luxury. If you came from a big family, eating out was an expense reserved for high, family- feast days and a trip to the local burger joint was sometimes as close as you’d get.
So I remember this moment clearly. A brand-new “Golden Arches” was big news for our little mountain town and all anyone could talk about. If you got to eat there you were certainly going to brag about it. Seriously, it was a ridiculously big deal when we loaded up to go that evening.
Excitement mounted as the six of us kids sat waited as patiently as possible for the parents to serve up our burger, drink and fries. Unwrapping that crinkly paper, I stared down at what seemed like the most perfect little burger on the face of the planet…all glossy and slick and warm. I felt all kinds of happy looking at that meal. I wanted it to last forever. I’m pretty sure I inhaled.
With the green light to eat, my little brother suddenly slid from his seat to use the bathroom, leaving his sweet little burger and fries untouched— and unattended— right there in front of me. I can’t tell you why, so please don’t ask. In the moments it took for him to step away and slip out of sight, the deed was done: I took a B-I-T-E out of his burger. Yep. With my own still untouched, steamy and glossy in front of me, I stole a bite of his first.
Shame on me.
And shame there was. Caught red-handed with a cheek full of burger and hot tears stinging my eyes, I faced the embarrassment of the loud and exasperated “WHY?!?! What is WRONG with you?!?” Heck if I knew….. I just wanted…. more.
As you can imagine, the craving for “More” got me into trouble that day and, in one form or another, it’s gotten me into quite a bit of trouble since. God + Maturity + Time has revealed to me how it’s not been so much an issue of unmet needs or expectations. Instead, it’s about learning what it means to be satisfied and how ultimately, it’s God alone who can satisfy. That’s not as easy or as cut-n-dried-Christian-cliche as one might expect.
I am a Christian. I’ve taken the studies and I’ve read the verses teaching the truths and how to apply them. I am a Christian, so of course I’m expected to espouse and emulate always how God is the ultimate source of my ultimate satisfaction. Make no mistake: I know in my gut He is. But allow me to confess that while I’m much further along than I was back in my “Burger Biting” days, at times it’s difficult to remember and recognize I’ve been drawn off course until I’m a little ways out there.
Through my personal Lenten journey this year, God has been gradually revealing another level of “tweaking” He wants to do in this area. I thought I’d been doing pretty good— or at least better. But God wants to do what God always wants to do: Go Deeper. Further. Higher.
It’s this “call to missions” I keep going on about. I’m justifiably terrified of getting settled into a place of self-satisfaction and somehow missing it. Factor in how 1000+ personnel from the agency we’d been speaking with were brought back home due to budget adjustments. Now we’re not sure what to do. Continuing to pray and seek the answer, I fear losing momentum or, as I was telling my dear friend Jane the other day— afraid of unwittingly tripping over the line between contentment into complacency. As if God couldn’t shield, protect and guide my willing and obedient heart.
Now, you’d think… “Oh, well missions is a “God thing” so it must be OK to be discontent and crave more.” Yes and no. Maybe…it’s complicated.
Yes to pressing in and on towards that upward calling in Christ Jesus.
Yes to flexibility and teachability.
Yes to all the “yes’s and Amen’s” of now.
That’s also where the “No” comes in:
No if I can’t wait well.
No, if I can’t learn and be humbled during the waiting.
No, if the “thing” from God starts to take the shape of a God-replacing idol.
No… if I can’t joyfully do whatever where I am as if the mission field is always “someplace else”.
And especially NO if I give in to discouragement, unable to appreciate the good and beautiful gifts he’s placed right in front of me because I’m constantly looking towards something “More-better”.
Here, the craving for “more” gets me in trouble and it’s where God is gently, but firmly convicting me sin in my life— how I keep looking past the good gifts right in front of me, afraid to enjoy them for fear of missing the MORE I, for some reason, sense is out there… somewhere, waiting for me. I’ve been convicted of impatience and lack of trust…and even, in my spirit, of “despising” His pleasure in small beginnings.
Soul-wearied, I’ve asked the girl in the mirror, “WHY?!? What’s WRONG with you?!?” Heck if I know… I simply crave more. More God-glorifying unity and diversity. More God-centered teamwork and working hard for Him together. More of seeing Him move mightily in the lives of others and using me up to do it. I wanna be there, wherever and when it happens….and I forget, painfully forget… it’s happening right here…right now…
- In paper cups filled with seeds and dirt and harvest promise with plenty to share.
- Working with a community of women to open God’s grace to 91 of our young ladies.
- In relationship with neighbors who know about Jesus but nothing yet of His saving grace.
(Sigh)… see what I mean?
So, this is where I am today— humbled, repentant and somewhat embarrassed to make these confessions. But I’m willing to put it all out here because I believe, on some level I’m not alone here. Maybe you’re struggling too? Maybe you’re having a hard time in the waiting place or in knowing how to remain satisfied with what IS even in the light of what MAY (or may not) BE. Maybe it’s a reminder to live the “someday” NOW.
These words shake me. I don’t wanna be “That Girl”… preoccupied with the once was or might be only to find that spent my life doing “something less” instead of the more I’ve always craved.
For the record, although I can’t tell him myself, if my brother was alive today I’d want him to know…”Hey, I’m really sorry about that whole burger thing”.
Linking with Jennifer@ Tell His Story