Life Is Like A Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

    I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation,  filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;  Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.—Psalm 139:14 The Voice

I saw my friend, Sarah, walking by me the other day with her head down. “Look up,” I said. “Things are going to get better.” I wondered what life had delivered that made her look so forlorn. As I walked on, I concluded that Sarah was probably suffering from a huge dose of feeling ordinary…which nobody is, by the way!

You are uniquely you. The talents God has given you set you apart. Your gifts make you extraordinary, even if there are days when you feel that you are just another cookie-cutter replica of Joe or Jane Ordinary. Whatever you may think, you are not just another common, mundane person taking up space on earth.

You were born an original. You are the exclusive, distinctive, matchless person God had been working on for a long time.

Your life reflects how unique you are. No one else has had the exact same experiences.

Many of us see our lives as commonplace. We view our contributions as run-of-the-mill. We look at our lives as middling and mediocre. Just like the painstakingly familiar peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Delicious but unglamorous.

I’m afraid that people are giving up their appreciation for treats that have long been our mainstay—like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They are trading PB&J sandwiches for trendier snacks. Like hummus, for example. I haven’t exactly developed a taste for this growingly popular dip. Of course, I know it’s wonderfully low in fat, high in protein, and made from those healthy legumes—chickpeas.

At our house, we took the mundane PB&J sandwich to a new level recently and made it extraordinary.  Someone brought home a container of freshly-made peanut butter from the deli and a jar fresh-fruit laden jelly. How healthy is that?

I should have reminded Sarah that life is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but it’s up to you to make it extraordinary. You may look like everyone else, but you’re not. Tap the power God has given you by recognizing the wonder in who you are.

 

What It Really Means to Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God…”  Psalm 46:10

All right, I admit it. I have hit my meandering stage. The “me” who used to be throw-caution-to-the-winds, drive pedal-to-the-metal, hit a smooooth 80 on the straight stretches—where did she go? I believe I must have slammed head first into the slow lane.

I remember hitting an easy groove once, with an eighteen wheeler following right behind me. Sun roof wide open.  Setting the pace for anyone who wanted to r-e-a-l-l-y drive. Flipping through curves, zipping in and out of the slower traffic (undoubtedly, those were the meanderers!).  And I did it so skillfully that the trucker trailing me honked when our paths separated. He gave me an obvious “that was fun” kind of wave.

My Uncle Andy knew how to enjoy the moment.  He drove from Ohio to Wisconsin to visit us one summer. That’s about 450 miles and he did it without ever touching an interstate highway.  All the way—through small towns, past farms and waving villagers. Uncle Andy meandered for 450 miles. Back then, it seemed to me like a potentially incredible waste of perfectly good travel time. Now, I get it. How classy. How sensible.  Missing nothing.  Absorbing everything.

You neglect so much when you never amble, whether on foot or behind the wheel.  When we walk or run, we’re embarrassed to achieve less than an x.8 minute mile (you pick whatever number it is that fits you.)  At the gym, I glance down at the row of people on treadmills near me and ramp up to something that resembles their speed, even if I am about to propel myself over the control panel.

In this song of David quoted above, God commands us to just slow down a minute. Otherwise, you miss His divinity. Really, when you analyze it, rushing around in a tizzy is so irrational. We rush, then we are forced to take medication to calm us down.

Just for a moment now, stand still. Shut your mouth (I didn’t mean that to sound rude…just be quiet).  Consider His Almightiness. Focus on the magnitude of Who you have working on your behalf.  Quiet your thoughts.  Calm and quietness are qualities that must be cultivated.

Stop careening down the road of life at top speed. Don’t miss the wonder of what God is accomplishing in your life by rushing, pell mell, right past it.  There are wonders all around us that we miss because we are in such a silly hurry.

First, be still. Then, know Who you’re waiting for in the midst of that quiet moment. I can promise you, something wondrous will happen next.

The book of Exodus presents one of God’s greatest promises of His presence.  In verses 18-23 of chapter 33, there is a pivotal exchange between God and Moses. What a great conversation!  Moses said, “God, you told me to bring these people up here but I’m not sure I know where I’m going and even who you are. If you don’t go with us, I don’t want to go a step farther.” God said: “I know you by name.” Moses pressed for more, “Then I want to see your glory.” God said, “If you see my face, you will die. I will hide you in the rock and let you see my back when I pass by.”

Today I am like Moses. I want to pause long enough for a quick reassurance of Who is with me. I want to see just a little bit of His glory.  If we ask, He will allow a glimpse of His splendor to pass by us, as He hides us in the cleft of a rock and covers us with His hand. (Exodus 33:18-23)