One Halloween about eight years ago, I was at Disneyworld, the happiest place on earth, with the unhappiest Minnie Mouse on earth. She was 8 years old, with a painted black button nose, full Minnie costume, sequin ears, and red glitter shoes. I don’t remember the details of the tragedy but it had something to do with real Minnie leaving the party before mini Minnie got a chance to see her.
It was a moment, let me tell you.
Mini Minnie was inconsolable. It didn’t matter that we were at Disneyworld, that she was the world’s most adorable mini Minnie, that we had all sorts of excitement planned for the rest of the evening.
It was the most epic and magical of meltdowns. And the emotional unraveling seemed to know no bounds.
At some point, we realized that mad mini Minnie might be hungry. I don’t remember what we fed her — a $7 Disney muffin, a Lunchable, I honestly have no idea. But within minutes, sanity was restored. It was shocking, a real-life Jeckyl / Hyde sort of moment. Mini Minnie stopped crying tears of rage and began speaking rational words. We could actually reason with her again. To a certain extent, she rallied.
All it took was a snack.
I’m sad to say, she comes by it honestly. While on our honeymoon at the beach, my husband recalls his hysterical new bride stopping in the middle of the bike path, dismounting the bike, and sobbing / sweating / claiming she was going to die.
One Sprite from a nearby vending machine and she was back in business.
The point is, we can get a little crazy when we don’t eat (or drink.) We lose all perspective. We despair. We cry. We don’t think or feel or act as we should.
Last week I began a new series here: The Sacred Art of Receiving Your Right-Now Life.
Daily, I live in the tension between my right-now life / roles / responsibilities, and my hoped-for life / work / dreams. Like the rest of you, I’m knee-deep in the dailyness of dinner, the relentlessness of laundry, helping with 4th grade math that’s too hard for me, raising kids in a crazy world, living in community, and working an actual job.
I have a beautiful life. Every day, I count the gifts. Living in the frustrating tension between the right-now and the hoped-for doesn’t mean I’m not grateful; it simply means that I wrestle. Peace and acceptance can be a challenge for me because Longing and Envy are always nipping at my heels.
I’m writing this series because I want to know what it looks like in our real, messy, daily lives to receive the life of Christ, broken for us, and then to “receive our own lives” with humility and trust, living broken and poured out as He did.
I’m learning that these complicated questions find their answers in the simple places and ordinary tasks of our daily work and regular lives.
That doesn’t mean it’s all happy-clappy-dishwashing and dinner-prepping and kid-raising. We’re going to get to these topics in our series but the reality is, we can’t even begin to talk about feeding and nourishing others until we first have been fed.
We have to eat.
What’s the one word that forever changed how I approach God’s word?
You may be familiar with the story of Jesus in the desert for 40 days with Satan.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’
Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Jesus, the Son of God, fought against the temptations of power, pride, greed, influence, and acclaim with the Word of God.
He even fought physical fatigue and hunger and loneliness with the Word of God.
How much more must this be true for us?
God’s Word was Christ’s hope, his consolation, his power, his perspective, his sustenance.
It’s taken me years to learn that it’s all of these things for me too.
If you’ve grown up in Christian culture, you’ve probably heard “being in God’s Word” presented as a number of different things:
— spiritual discipline
— something you should desperately desire if you’re a devoted Christian
— where you find answers for life’s questions
— the story of God’s people
— the story of God’s love for the world
And all of this is true. But for me, I began to love and pursue and desire God’s Word when I realized it was my food.
Without it, I ricochet through my days much like mad mini Minnie with low blood sugar. My life is easily defined by my frustration, devastation, bewilderment, anger, and selfishness.
With it, I’m more grounded and centered. I have a perspective that’s so much bigger than myself and my own little kingdom. I walk in a spirit of truth instead of a spirit of crazy.
I realize this is the least theologian-ish post ever on the Word of God, like I see the Bible as some sort of therapeutic, self-help tool.
Crazy, right? I can tell you from experience, we can’t control the ways it may work in our lives. We use words like “quiet time” or “daily devotions” and that makes it sound so tidy and polite. In reality, the word of God is sharper than a two edged sword.
The hope, revelation, conviction, identity, power, and perspective it can unleash in our right-now lives is untamable.
It’s been a hard week around here — a week of grief, stress, and overwhelm. There have been many circumstances, tasks, and emotions just this week that I have not wanted to receive. I’m depleted in every way.
The only thing that has kept me putting one foot in front of the other is the food I’ve eaten each morning, not out of duty but out of sheer desperation.
“Lord, I’m opening your word this morning. You know that I’m starving and desperate. Please feed me.”
And He has.
I realize that this post may raise more questions than answers.
How do you spend time in Scripture?
It’s hard to understand. How is it so meaningful to you?
I’m super busy / unmotivated / apathetic / cynical / ________. Any suggestions for me?
Yes! Let’s talk about all of these things. The next post in the series will get super practical. We’ll talk about everything from how your personality may influence your approach to studying the Bible, to real-life solutions when you’re busy, and even some helpful tools.
But here’s the thing: I can help inspire you to receive your current season of work, to find joy in feeding your family, or to find right-now ways to use some of the gifts that don’t feel like they have a place. These are the struggles of our regular lives and I long to encourage you in all of these areas.
But you’ll still get hungry, lose all perspective, and make it about your own little kingdom without God’s Word influencing and empowering your daily rhythms and pursuits. Ask me how I know. : )
I can only begin to receive my own life — heartache, limitations, frustration and all — when I begin to receive his Word as my truest and most beneficial sustenance.
I can’t wait for us to get practical about all this. If you have questions you’d like to see me address, I’d love that! You can leave them in the comments section or email me directly.
If this series sounds like something you need, all you have to do is subscribe to this online space. (You can do that in the box below this post.) If you’re already subscribed, yay! You’ll automatically receive it. The series is totally free.
Simply come and receive.
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