Thursday, January 15, 2009

Paying for What I Put in My Cup

This week something happened to me that had awful consequences. After tossing and turning two hours Sunday night, I was wide awake, finally deciding to get up and get something done. Around 1:15 am, I was wondering what could possibly be causing the insomnia … couldn’t be pregnant, didn’t feel stressed, didn’t have regular coffee … WAIT! I thought back to the small group leaders meeting hours before, and I remembered that my sweet husband poured me a cup of coffee as the speaker began around 7:30 pm. Now, I haven’t had a regular cup of coffee in over a year. In fact, about 3 years ago, I really stopped drinking anything with caffeine in it. It didn’t look dangerous or smell dangerous when I received it in the generic white foam church cup. I asked myself, “Could that innocent cup of java really be the culprit tormenting me? I decided it must’ve been.” Around 3 am I got back in bed, secretly hoping my husband would wake up, so that I’d have someone to talk to! He didn’t.

The next day I woke up late, looked like death, and barely managed to be coherent through the day while I worked. That afternoon, I decided I had to take a cat nap, so I could make it to school for pick up time and press through til dinnertime. I lay down to rest and immediately fell asleep. When I woke up, I was jolted into reality to see that the clock said I was 40 minutes late for pick up time. I grabbed my keys, jumped into the car, and sped (let’s say I drove … sped sounds really sinful) to the school. Before I was very far, my phone rang, and the voice of my distraught daughter rattled out panicked questions. She was convinced something awful had happened, and she was the sole survivor. As soon as I assured her that I would be there momentarily, the phone rang again; it was a concerned friend saying she was on her way to school to pick up my daughter, and she wanted to know if we were okay. Embarrassed and still groggy, I quickly blurted out my excuse and went on to the school. After parking, I ran into the school, aware that I still had my “sleep face” on as the last teacher walked out. As she passed me, she gave me “that look” that they reserve for the bad moms who do things like forget their children (I know, because I was a teacher). I ignored her and hurried down the hall to hug my temporarily abandoned, but very relieved daughter. All was well, and I went to bed early that night. And just in case you wonder, my well meaning husband felt terrible for being the one who poured what he thought was decaf. :)

So I’ve been catching up all week from “that night.” Just because I wasn’t careful about what I drank in, I paid a price, and so did someone I love. Our peace was sacrificed, because I let down my guard and welcomed something that, for me, is dangerous.

I think that I often lose peace for that same reason. Don’t we tend to fill ourselves with things that aren’t good for us or are even dangerous for us?

- We watch “Jaws,” and then we wonder why we can’t relax on our “floatie” in the ocean. (At least I did!)
- We come home with clearance candy after Christmas and then wonder why we have trouble staying on our diet.
- We sign our kids up for all the activities that sound good, and then we wonder why we have so little down time as a family.
- We spend all of our free time at the mall, and then we wonder why we have trouble controlling our urge to shop.
- We watch movies about marriages that are loveless and extra-marital relationships that are made to appear “exciting,” and then we wonder why we start to feel dissatisfied with our spouse.

God knows that in our flesh we have a tendency to take in things of this world that are really not good for us. Often, they appear to be harmless, maybe “served” in a plain white cup or even delivered by someone we know, like, or even trust. He wants us to resist letting anything fill us that will hinder us from being fully His. Ephesians tells us that the days we live in “are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, … but be filled with the Spirit,” Ephesians 5:15-18. The example here is alcohol, representing something that can control us and “fill” us. We are challenged, instead, to be filled only with the Spirit, because “now you are light in the Lord,” vs. 8. If I follow Jesus, I want to be filled only with His things, and that impacts my decisions, my time, my passions, my thoughts, my whole cup. When I am filled with the Spirit, I have peace. When my “cup of life” is filled with dangerous imposters, then I am robbed of my peace, and my loved ones suffer, too.

Living out the challenges of life in uncertain times, so much of our peace depends on what we put in our cups. Now I know that my good night’s sleep depends on it, too. Next time, I’ll make sure I know what’s really in my cup!

May your cup overflow with good things and your rest be peaceful!

0 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT: