Monday, October 3, 2011

Get real.

Okay, so yesterday, because I couldn't sit still long enough to just watch the Chiefs game, I decided to busy myself in the kitchen doing one of my favorite activities: baking! It was a perfect fall day for it, so I just grabbed the big Betty Crocker cookbook, looked up a recipe based on ingredients I had on hand, and started cookin'! What came out was the most beautiful, homemade vanilla cream pie I'd ever seen. :) And all from scratch! Crust, filling and meringue. All homemade! :) :) SOOO awesome!

I wanted to challenge myself a little, and I didn't want to take any shortcuts or use any premade junk. I wanted something REAL--something like grandma used to make. So, that's what came out. haha! Funny thing was that I didn't realize it would have to cool for, like, ever, so I can't try it until tonight. I'll have to let you know later if it tastes good. But I did cut into it this morning to check and see what it looked like inside, and it looks AMAZING! :)

Real. . . This word has been playing on my heartstrings since Saturday. I took a whirlwind trip back to my hometown to participate in our library's 90th anniversary party (thank you, ladies, for the wonderful event!!) and sign some books, and, in the process, I had a LOT of think time in the car.

It was funny. For most of the six hours, I tried to find things that would occupy my mind or keep me entertained. Sports talk radio, football games, NPR, classical music, sermons, country music, and, of course, worship CDs. All good things. But none of them kept me permanently entertained. I'd get bored of them eventually and have to find something else to keep my attention.

Eventually, I began to get frustrated. Why wouldn't anything keep my mind engaged? Why wasn't I able to find something that would just keep me completely satisfied the whole time? Why did I have to constantly keep switching around in order to keep things fresh or find new fulfillment?

This is where the Lord spoke. Eventually, I just shut everything off. Radio off. CDs off. Silence. Just me and the Lord. "God, what do You want me to do? What do You want me to listen to? What on earth will make this ride more enjoyable?"



"Just me."

Um, wow. Okay.

It was like so many lights went on. Why couldn't I keep satisfied? Because it was all just temporary entertainment. It wasn't Christ. It wasn't God. It was just earthly stuff that wasn't meant to provide lasting fulfillment. I would wear out on each different thing because it couldn't provide the longterm satisfaction I was looking for. Only God can do that. Only in my relationship with Him am I able to be completely filled and at peace. That's it! It's the only thing that has lasting value.

After that, I started looking at my life and seeing how this played into so many other areas. I do this all the time. I look to other things to find fulfillment and then get disappointed or frustrated when they don't live up to expectations. I'll keep seeking after them and expecting them to fulfill me, only to find that I have to keep seeking after more of it if I want to keep being satisfied. When I look to these outside sources, I always need more of them. They never are enough. They're not real.

Let's put it into an example. I can run and run and run and run and run (and I have done this), but I will never be fulfilled by running. There will always be a greater distance, a faster time, another race. And I'll always want more.

Same thing with money. I can earn and earn and earn and earn and earn (and I have NOT done this), but there will always be a bigger house, better car, more luxurious vacation. It will never be enough.

These things aren't real. They are substitutes for the only REAL thing we can have: a relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ. That is the absolute ONLY thing that can satisfy our souls.

My quiet times with the Lord are when I experience this the most. It's during those moments that I realize, "Oh, hey. This is real. This is where I am fulfilled. This is authentic. Nothing else today has been able to satisfy me. Jesus, You can."

It's a great day when we realize that whatever we are seeking here on earth won't ever meet our needs. When we realize that, we will truly understand just how precious our relationship with the Lord truly is. Intimacy with Him is the only thing that can touch the places in our hearts that are crying out for lasting love and peace. Other things may work for brief amounts of time, but they will never keep us satisfied forever. But what they can't do, Jesus can. And He will.

Somehow I was going to tie in an analogy using the realness of Jesus by using the realness of my pie, but it just doesn't seem appropriate anymore. I was all about using REAL ingredients instead of shortcut premade stuff, but even my homemade vanilla cream pie seems pretty insignificant after examining the eternal fulfillment of Christ. haha! :) He's way better than the pie! No matter how good it is, it won't fill me up forever! :) I'll still have to eat again. And I'll probably still want another piece after the first is gone.

But here's the thing: Once we understand that Christ is what we really want, we can be free to enjoy everything temporary as the blessings that they are! When we release them from the expectations of fulfilling us, they become sources of joy that He gives us as blessings! I can enjoy a piece of pie knowing that it won't keep me satisfied forever. It wasn't meant to. But I can enjoy the serving and thank Him for the experience.

Anyone else hungry? haha! Hope you have a great Monday, friends, knowing that the Lord of all creation loves you and wants to develop an eternally fulfilling relationship with you. I hope you let Him!

Big hugs!
- Jill

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