The past few days, a few things took place that kinda pricked my heart. Things I might not have paid much attention to before, but God seemed to highlight them to me for my own personal application.
#1 I know you are NOT supposed to feed table scraps to a dog. It is bad for them. They get fat. Ok! Go ahead and slap my hand, because I do it all the time. The other day, I made roast beef in the crock pot. Normally, it comes out juicy and tender and yummy. I can even eat it on my food plan! This time, though, I must have purchased the wrong cut of meat because it was dry and tough. Sometimes, we pour a little of the gravy on our dog’s dry food as a treat on roast beef nights. This time, instead of sharing leftover gravy, I literally handed her a hunk of beef (not the whole thing – don’t worry)! I figured it would keep her busy for a while and she would certainly enjoy it. I couldn’t believe what I saw. She carried the hunk of beef over to the edge of the kitchen, proceeded to drop it on the floor and then turn away from it to see IF SHE WOULD GET ANYTHING BETTER from me. She was not satisfied to eat the generous gift I offered her until she saw she was getting nothing more.
#2 I sent my kids to play out in the snow today. They had been cooped up for quite some time and even if the snow was less than 1/4″ deep, it was still snow to play in! I bundled them in snow pants, boots, coats, gloves and hats. They played for a bit and then I brought them hot chocolate with mini marshmallows on top. After more time passed, I felt pretty generous. I don’t normally give them treats before lunch or dinner, but thought I would make it fun for them this time. I brought out a sugar cookie for each of them. The sugar cookies I brought them were from Grandma’s house. That means they are huge, soft and covered with icing. They must be delicious! Lana gleefully grabbed that cookie and started to munch away. However, I couldn’t believe Big Brother’s response. He got a frown on his face. He said he would like to save it for another time. He would come to the door when he was ready to eat it. I was kinda shocked at this. I mean, I am not gonna push sugar on my kid. So, I received the cookie back, but told him that I didn’t plan on giving him a cookie any time soon as lunch was coming up not too much later. Then, he started to jump up and down and cry that he really wanted it. By this time, I could see he was feeling emotional about NOTHING and told him it was OK. He can save it for dessert after dinner. He doesn’t have to eat it now. To which he responded with more crying and jumping up and down and whining. To which I simply handed the cookie back to him with a bewildered face. He wanted to determine a BETTER time to eat it than when I provided it. I kinda felt generous to even offer the cookie to him when I did. I would have thought Big Brother’s response to be one of joy. Not him telling me when he wants his treat or how he wants it.
OK – so I know Goldie is only a dog and Big Brother is only a five year old. I didn’t EXPECT their responses to be different. I don’t expect Big Brother to never become emotional or feel strongly about something at all. He’s going to have his “off” days – just like I do. That is not the point.
This is the point………
How many times has God tried to offer HIMSELF to me generously? How many times have I felt His tug to spend time with Him and have instead looked to things I must get done or things that don’t require as much discipline (and yield fewer results)? How many times have I seen what He can offer me and have first looked to see if He would get anything better for me? How many times have I resorted to spend time with Him only when I realize I can’t know Him any OTHER way? How many times have I tried to dictate when, where and how I should receive the most generous gift of His presence? Then, when my comforts aren’t met, I start to jump up and down and whine and say, “No, I really DO want You!” when I sense the sweet nearness of His presence dissipating?
On pondering these questions, I realize am just like a dog and a five year old. I may not make these choices all the time, but I am certainly challenged in my heart to make sure I accept the generous gift of God’s presence in my life DAILY in HIS way and HIS timetable. It was a warning to be careful of self centeredness that so EASILY creeps into my heart and actions.
I pray these real life experiences remain as a challenge to my heart this year and all years going forward.
I want Him just because He is God and He is enough. That plain and simple.