Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Does your cup run over?

Have you ever been standing at the refrigerator filling up a glass of water and gotten distracted? Soon you are on the floor in front of the fridge with a towel soaking up the aftermath...

Have you ever gotten a yummy drink at your favorite coffee shop and it was filled right to the rim so the moment you went to pick it up some of the yumminess ran down the side of the cup onto the saucer? Such a waste of frothiness...

What about when you were filling a cup of juice for your sweet peanut and it chugged out just a little too fast, pouring out onto the counter? Your kid thought the whole experience was great, even planned, but this inconvenience doesn't fit within your early morning routine...

The other night I had a little white wine in a glass. When I was pregnant with Noah we had gone to Mexico on vacation and bought these funky yellow and white hand blown wine glasses. Well, as a result of not being able to see clear liquids in the glass, our friend proceeded to pour a glass of red...into my glass of white. I'm not sure if you call that a rose or a blush, but it was a waste and had to be thrown. Either way the glass was already serving its purpose before it was multi-tasked.

It seems quite simple to fill a drinking vessel with the proper amount of beverage, but I assure you, it is not. I mean, ladies in Britain were literally taught how to serve tea. Yes, that entailed many details such as crumpets and cucumber sandwiches mixed with a boat load of manners, but if a hostess were to pour too much tea into the cup of a guest and it spilled over onto their saucer, well, that was just socially unacceptable. I remember when I was in elementary school and my family was out to eat at one of our favorite Arizona Mexican restaurants, Macayo's (no, I'm not endorsing...). We must have been out with a lot of people because the waitress had a tray filled, I mean filled, with margaritas, and I wasn't drinking them in those days...Anyway, the tray was too heavy, overloaded, filled beyond capacity, and as a result, the waitress dumped the tray on my dad. Good thing we lived close enough for him to run home and change...but not before we all licked the salt. Just kidding!

Think about effervescent drinks like pop, beer, champagne, Emergen-C (again, not endorsing branding here...), if we are not careful they can billow out of our cups, up over the top and make a mess on the counter, unless we are slick enough, of course, to slurp up the excess before the eruption takes place.

No matter what the circumstance, when we spill our drinks because they are too full, it's never a moment of elation and self-satisfaction. "Oh, I'm just beside myself with utter glee! I spilled this delicious raspberry smoothie on my creamy white sweater I just got for my birthday! Woo hoo!" No, let's be honest, it usually entails expletives under our breath or a verbal, " fill in the blank...!" followed by a harried attempt to sop up the mess before it gets even worse...before it ruins its surroundings...before any damage is done.

A friend and I were talking yesterday. You see, I have about 15 years on her, so I have to educate her on the 80's and 90's. I'm her coolness expert, you could say (wink). Anyway, I told her of a phenomenon that occurred in those eras, and probably still does, though I try to steer clear. My reference was Christendom, but I realize that it is a phenomenon across the board of modern society. I was referring to Christian conferences specifically and how, though the original motives were likely right on, attendees just could not get enough. "This person is coming to speak here or that group will be in town on such and such a weekend or this conference or that convention is coming, book your calendars". Evenings and weekends and long weekends and day times filled up with people going to conferences, filling journals on great content and teaching...filling their hearts and minds with good things. Fill me up. Give me more. Fill up so your cup overflows, so you have something to offer others.

I have a problem with this picture. The picture of being constantly poured into is nonsensical. It is not rocket science that if you pour 2 pints of milk into a 100mL measuring cup, it will not contain it. No, there will be a mess all over the tabletop. The 100mL measuring cup just simply was never meant to contain 2 pints of anything...not all at once, that is...

So what the heck am I talking about, here?!

Well, I disagree with the idea that we are supposed to be filled to the point of spilling over. In a literal sense, it's excessive...kind of American, really...

As people, metaphorically speaking, we are both serving and drinking vessels. Mrs. Potts poured choice amounts of tea into Chip and the other tea cups, no more, no less, because that's the amount they were intended to contain...and when they were empty, or nearing the bottom, there was room for a refill...and they could head back to Mrs. Potts who would joyfully refill the little buggers.

Literally speaking, as humans, though we are not physically plugged into a power source in a wall somewhere but are independently functioning bodies, we were not designed for either excess filling or to completely dry up. We were designed to be poured into and be pouring out on a regular basis. We were created with the idea in mind that we would go to our Source every day and be filled...and that not for ourselves solely, but for His will to be done in and through us. People don't pray because there's too much in the world to cover. People don't read God's word because it's kind of a thick book. People don't pour out because they think there are too many needs to fill. refills.

I don't want my cup to run over making a mess on the counter, wasting the excess of whatever it is God is giving to me, assuming it was solely for me. All the while He intended it to be poured into other vessels...and is waiting patiently for me to return to Him for a free refill...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

He's a really BIG God!

I live in Colorado. For the most part, I grew up in Arizona...from 1978 until I headed off to college. I have spent time in Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. I've spent a bit of time in Mexico, Venezuela, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, and Japan. One thing all of these places have in common is mountains.

I love mountains. I mean, I really, really LOVE mountains!

I do not take mountains for granted.

Every time Em and I are in the car on the way to school or headed out on errands where our view of the Rocky Mountains is, for the most part, in plain view as far as we can see north and south, I say, "Em, look at those beautiful mountains God made! Can you imagine just deciding to make those one day!?"

I don't ever want to be used to the mountains.

Not only because they are magnificent and humongous and go on and on for miles and stand miles above sea level and hide hidden treasures and stories of the past...but because the moment I lose my awe of them, I'll lose my awe of Him.

We sing about mountains in our Savior, He can move the He is mighty to save. We read about faith in God's opposite world, that is God's world, states if we have teenie tiny, itty bitty faith we can move gargantuan things.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Matthew 21:21 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.

1 Corinthians 13:2 "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

The truth is, I see big mountains every single day. I am a very literal person. It actually makes my husband crazy! But, I have really big faith and there is no freaking way that it could move the entire Rocky Mountain range. I mean, seriously! I've seen Eiger peak and if I were to say, "Move it, Mister!" It would just look at me funny.

Mountains are big. Hills don't count. Mole hills don't either. I'm not talking bluffs here, folks. If my oxygen levels aren't challenged by it, it doesn't count as a freaking mountain. Mountains stand out. They reach. They speak volumes yet do not utter a word. And God made them...the physical ones, that is.

The mountains that Jesus refers to, however, are absolutely and totally movable...He told us the truth. God is not a man that He should lie. The truth is this: no matter what in our lives we may have faced, are facing, or will face one day, nothing, zip, zilch, nada, nothing is impossible with God. Does it mean it will all end up looking like we think it should look? Abso-freaking-lutely not.

Sometimes life is a picture of many of our choices mixed in with us actually following God's direction here and there. Other times it resembles a recipe of some of God's basic ingredients mixed with surprising ones. It's possible that God is the Iron Chef and He's in there with our lives throwing in a little of this and a little of that because even though it doesn't make sense to the non-chefs in the audience, He knows it's a winning recipe, unique and aromatic. I'm not really sure...I wasn't interviewed OR HIRED for the position of All Knowing Creator of the Universe, so I really don't know EXACTLY how God works...but I do know this...

God is bigger than the mountains. He made them. He's just that creative. And, He's also bigger than our mountains. He's big. I mean HUGE. LARGE. GIGANTIC. And, at the same time, He fits perfectly inside our hearts if we allow Him to dwell there.

Imagine...the very God who created the magnificent mountains around this green earth is the very One who desires to stand with us and show us that through Him and by His strength we can say to our mountains, "Back off, mountain! My God is bigger than you! Have you seen how big my God is!?"