steak with a side of apples

****Disclaimer:  Heavy metaphors, particularly of the apple and steak variety, will be used in the following post.  They will be switched between randomly and without warning, so pay attention and just let it happen.  Thank you and enjoy***


 

I’ve reached a crossroads at several points in my life where I’ve had to stare at a nice juicy apple hanging from the forbidden tree in the garden and have had to walk away.  Well, in some cases, I start eating the apple and then get dragged away by the grace of God, gagging on apple bits that, yes, give me lovely little wisdoms and cause some nice growth, but come with pain, anguish and whatever other word that’s synonymous with those.  And lately, quite encouragingly, it seems as though I’ve caught myself mid-reach as opposed to mid-bite or last bite.  Progress?  Let’s call it that.  But needless to say my eyes keep getting stuck on the apple.

Anna has a good metaphor for this too. She describes it as:

“It’s as though I’m sitting at a table and I’m handed a knife, a fork, and a napkin, and then a big, juicy, perfectly cooked steak is placed right in front of me with the instructions ‘don’t eat it’.”  Really?

It’s happened in my life where I start eating the steak because…well, it’s there and if it’s there it means I should probably not waste what God clearly wants me to eat.  Just LOOK how things came together.  One person handed me a knife, I mean, why would they do that?  That was out of nowhere.  It was such a God thing for them to hand me that.  And then when someone came up with the fork I was like NO WAY, a fork!  This is PERFECT!  A NAPKIN?!  Man oh man, if this isn’t God spelling it out for me than my name’s not Erin Kathleen.

The steak looks way too damn good, but then mere minutes later it gives me a terrible stomach ache.

Why?  Why can’t I do the things I want to do?  What purpose is it serving to put these things in front of me, that look and feel right, only to be told I need to walk away?  As Christians, a lot of outsiders look at us with pity.  They see the list of Christian ‘can’t do’s’ as something keeping them from signing up.  We’re so limited because of what we have to conform to.  I remember talking to my friend Christina who joined a religious order to become a sister.  I asked her if she was allowed the internet, or cell phones, those sorts of things, and when she answered in the negative (at least for the first couple years), I was like dude there is no way I could do that.  That’s giving up too much.  But then Christina was like, Erin, you’re looking at it the wrong way.  I’m gaining so much more than I’m losing.

Heh.  That can’t be a thing.

Give up my steak?  To what?   Get the lobster?   Well fine.  That doesn’t sound too bad.  Only problem is, I have yet to see any lobsters or tiny forks or tiny melted butter dishes being passed around here, so WHY OH WHY MUST I PASS UP THE STEAK?   Welp, here’s the scripture I’m going to cite as my current answer to this:

“You are not your own, for you have been purchased at a price.”

1 Corinthians 6:20

“You were bought with a price, do not become slaves of men.”

I Corinthians 7:22

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

Don’t take the apple, don’t give into the apple.  BUT EVERYONE ELSE IS EATING APPLES!!!  Great.  Let them.  But you’re on an apple-free diet, my friend.  I have been called to take up my cross, lose my life, to gain the world.  And because of that, I can’t do what a non-Christian version of Erin would do.   And that’s a tough pill to swallow, cause my flesh is weak and doesn’t want to.

And for each of us it’s something different.  What I struggle with, many of you wouldn’t bat an eye–no temptation there!  But then you’ve probably got something that’s kryponite for you, and like Flinstone’s vitamins for me.  It’s all valid.  But if God’s calling us to lay it down, to refuse to would be choosing to ignore the price you were bought at (if you don’t know what price you were bought at, google:  gospel message).

We often get hung up on why a particular apple is bad for us.  It’s like the argument that led to Adam and Eve nicking the apple in the end.  Who really says it’s bad?  Are there situations where it can be good?  God was a little vague here, since it’s gray, do you think I can just make it black or white?  That’s truly what I’ve found myself using to dive into my steak dinner, and it’s not until I throw up afterwards where I see went wrong.

Again I say, I am on an apple-free diet, my friends, so I’ll identify my apple and concentrate on laying it down.   After all, my life is not my own anymore.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Reaching for bananas in the dark

11:39PM.  I swear I think I just witnessed my mom order drugs whilst sleeptalking.  No, I’m serious.  She was snoring, then all of the sudden she’d pressed the call button and ordered pain medication for back spasms, then started snoring again.  What a champ.  #HowImpressive

Yes.  I’m in the hospital, it’s roughly midnight on a Sunday and this is day two of our adventure here in the land of plastic gloves, IV drips, and scrubs.  There’s something about flossing your own mother’s teeth that puts life into perspective, wakes you up a bit.  It’s kinda sorta like getting a speeding ticket in a car.  You’re driving around, going from here to there, minding your own business, then those flashing blue and red lights go off in your rear view mirror and remind you that you just got a little too dang comfortable, you let the needle go just a little too far, and now you’re gonna pay for it.  Ugh.  Stupid.  Then for awhile after that speeding ticket, you do real good.  You say your vows to the universe to never speed again, you always use your turn signal, and you hold off at all stop signs for at least four Mississippis.  At least.

But then.  Ohhh yes there is a but then.  You eventually slip into the comfortable sleep of relaxed driving once again, into that beautiful autopilot mode where you get to places without ever thinking about it.   That is, until the red and blue lights catch you at it again.  Just a liiittle wake up call is all.  

12:02AM Interruption while my mother tricks me into deactivating the bed alarm so I can help her up to the bathroom.  Yes, this act of mischievery will get you told off by the nurse–“How did you turn off the alarm?  Do you work here?”  No, ma’am.  I just pressed buttons until the little light turned off–But now she is back in bed, the bed alarm is back on–YES I WON’T TOUCH IT– I’m back on my couch, and we’re back  in business.

12:29AM  This is gonna be a long night folks…I’ll attempt to stay on point.   SO.  We slip into the autopilot mode of life, checking out facebook, doing lots and lots of scrolling on screens, shoot a lot of texts while driving, and unless we get pulled over we won’t notice we are going too fast.  Sometimes I just need one of those weeks where my yard gets turned into a crime scene and my mom has to go to the hospital unexpectedly, am I right?  What remains to be seen is what God is doing here.  Here’s the breakdown of my day: this morning I could not control my tear ducts, I felt overwhelmed by sorrow and worry, I received prayer after church from one of my closest friends, then I had a strong afternoon surrounded by family in my mother’s hospital room. I fully believe the afternoon was affected by that prayer.  When she prayed, she prayed for peace, and she prayed for me to allow myself to be vulnerable in front of others.

I know, she’s the worst.

These past couple weeks have been like a crash course in vulnerability.  The thing is…I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO VULNERABLE.  (Yes, you read that right.)  I think I could count on two hands the number of times I’ve been truly vulnerable in my life.  Sidenote: deep and vulnerable are two different things to me right now.  Cause I can be real with people, I can share deep and valuable stuff that tells people who I am and what I’ve been through, I mean, I like love those convesations, I crave those conversations, when I don’t have those conversations I get dry and bored and don’t want to talk to you anymore.  Yet, I often pass on telling the information that is honest to goodness a risk to share.  Most the deep things I say are long since processed and moved on from.  Your reaction DOES NOT MATTER.  Go ahead, do whatever you like, you can’t touch me.  Why hello there wall of invulnerability, didn’t see you there.  Why do I have this up?  Why do protect myself like this?  Well, cause I’m protecting myself like this.  There always need to be lines, and as time and maturity come you have to renegotiate and renegotiate this line to an appropriate position.  When I got hurt in the past, that line got unreachable for people.  When time went on, the line got closer.  Learning to trust, having trust broken, rebuilding trust lost, on and on the process goes.  But here I am at this particular juncture, and the attitudes I have about my own weakness at this very moment indicate one thing: it’s time to re-evaluate my walls.

I limit what God can do when I keep these protective walls up, and the existence of these firmly placed walls indicate not just a mistrust in other people, but a mistrust in my God.  And thaaat, is something to be pulled over for.  So.  Alas.  I have no idea how I ended up talking about this, but I did.  And as I reach for a banana in my mom’s dark hospital room– a banana I am certain is around here somewhere because I saw on the table earlier when the light was on–I will think about how much further I am today then yesterday, which granted may not be that far, and I will continue to hope in the promise my God has given me and simply decide to trust in the process…as well as thinking about how reaching for this banana could be a metaphor of some kind but who’s to know for sure when it’s this late and your mom’s been talking about enemas all day.

There it is.  I ate it.  1:08AM.

IMG_50071.jpg

  I fully understand that I’m eating tacos here and not a banana, but like I mentioned earlier, it’s dark in here and this moment can’t be captured.  Don’t look a gift photo in the mouth.