Something is comforting, not in the calories, but in the companionship, food can provide.
When life is good, we celebrate with ice cream, and when life is bad, we cope with brownies.
Any day can feel familiar and lovely when coupled with the coziness of Grandma’s recipes or the warmth of your favorite meal with your favorite people.
Although for all the goodness offered to us through food, it can also become something it was never intended to be, a friend.
For many of us, becoming a Christian and joining a church is a lot like getting invited to a country club.
We sign up on a little card, are handed instant “community” within the group and are even given a calendar full of all the ways to become involved.
We receive a place at the table of doing, serving and attending. We meet up for regular gatherings that make us feel good, feel loved and feel accepted.
Yet, despite the all-inclusive aspects of this new life, something is missing. Something is lacking.
After years of attending, doing and serving, we find that we don’t know Jesus more intimately than we did that first day we prayed and asked Him into our lives.
You see her.
In your Instagram feed. Writing another book. Up on a stage. Traveling the globe and doing work that seems to be changing the world.
Meanwhile, you are stuck paying bills and budgeting. Carpooling and folding laundry. Hustling but not getting anywhere fast.
Your life feels far from extraordinary. Yours lacks influence, and your work seems unimportant in comparison to what she, and others like her, are doing.
People all around you seem to have megaphones and microphones, and you are simply standing among the masses: a speck in a sea of insignificance.
‘Tis the season for wish lists and gift giving. And all around the interwebs, you can find ways to fill both needs.
However, even throughout the year, each of us has an additional wish list that we aren’t necessarily sharing with others; almost an unspoken wish list, if you will.
Things that even money can’t buy. Heart level things.
Like the mending of a hurtful relationship with your mother or father. Or the opportunity to finally quit your job and pursue something you love. Or the relentless longing for a child to fill your heart and home.
We may gather round dinner tables or smile across the church aisle over the next few weeks as if all is merry and bright, but deep down, many of us are wishing for something far more grand than a beautifully wrapped present under a tree.
One more hour. One more day. One more month. One more year.
At some point in our lives, each of us has had to wait.
Waiting. Waiting. Always waiting.
For the wonderful news of a healthy baby girl. Or for the devastating news that cancer has returned. For the word on the job found or a job lost.
Waiting is a universal part of the human experience, and I believe that God allows seasons of waiting to grow, to slow us. To invite us to wade into the deeper, hidden parts of our hearts, beyond the right here, right now, me first perspective. That we may rightly see our sin-filled hearts, recognize our great need for a Savior, and be offered the eternal hope and comfort that comes only through the cross of Jesus Christ.
The beautifully wrapped packages, the gorgeously decorated tree, the perfectly prepared meal. This time of year we all begin to make our dream lists about creating the warmest of holiday celebrations for our families.
While the details of our visions may vary, our hopes are similar. We want those who fill our homes over the holidays to feel loved, welcomed, and celebrated, with nothing missing from the picture perfect vision in our heads.
And so we hustle to the stores, bustle around the kitchen, and keep our hands busy prepping and planning so that the holidays can be all they were meant to be.
But, friends, have you ever felt harried by the holiday hustle? Does the stress of meal planning, house tidying, gift buying, and guest hosting wear you thin rather than fill you up?
If so, then I am here to tell you that you are not the only one.
Have you ever just needed a friend?
And most people I know have.
At one time or another, we all will need a true friend, someone who is willing to show up, even though it’s inconvenient, costly or hard.
This life, no matter how self-sufficient we are, is not meant to be experienced alone. Community is an integral part of the human design, but somewhere along the way to gaining 1K online friends and followers, we have lost our connection in understanding the need for real friendships in real life with the people right beside us.
One of the best examples we have of how to be a good friend came from Jesus. He was the master relationship craftsman and fine tuned the art of showing up and loving people well.
Will Smith ranks as one of my all-time favorite actors. While I have many of his movies in my movie collection, The Pursuit of Happyness is one of my top picks. In it, Will Smith portrays Chris Gardner, a homeless salesman and single father in a 1981 San Francisco.
The Pursuit of Happyness is a movie that tells a tale of struggle and setback, perseverance and determination. Victory finally arrives, but not until after a long, hard road. And somewhere along the way, Chris Gardner finds happiness.
Friends, I dare say, that the path to our happiness looks quite similar. We want to arrive at a place of happiness, where things go our way and life is easy and good. Yet, happiness is not the end destination, but simply a product of our journey.
The season of Thanksgiving is upon us. A time for feasting and fellowship, family and friends.
However, despite its name and festivities, this season of giving thanks can quickly be overshadowed with grocery prep, holiday planning and black Friday shopping.
So, friends, how do we slow down long enough to sincerely be thankful for all that we have before making lists of all the stuff that we still want?
Election Day is coming. For many, that means heading out to cast your vote for the next President of the United States, choosing your state’s governor or electing the local officials for your county or city.
Many months and millions of dollars have been spent trying to persuade your vote in a particular direction; to help elect the “best” candidate to lead our government into the subjectively “right” direction.
I have no idea which way you lean politically and honestly; I don’t care. It’s not that I don’t care about politics, it’s that I’d rather rally with you around something that unites us instead of divides us. At the end of election season, God will still be sovereignly ruling and reigning in all aspects of our world. So let us be united as we follow Christ into our political future.