Saturday, September 22, 2012

ideal vs. reality: when life gives you crumbles

This morning was one of those mornings that just called for a special breakfast. Fall makes me think of apple cider donuts so I attempted a batch of almond flour donuts, dipped in my own special concoction of an apple cider-honey reduction and tossed in cinnamon and coconut sugar. An excellent idea, if I do say so myself.

Well, sometimes life gives you donuts and sometimes life gives you donut crumbles. They still taste okay, but man, are they ugly, messy, and difficult.

I hate to reduce our life to donuts, but this morning's breakfast fail was the perfect allegory of our lives these days. Have you experienced this? 

My life is sort of like the "reality" of this morning's batch of almond flour donuts. They aren't exactly the real thing. For starters, they're baked, not fried. They aren't sugar-laden but sweetened with local, raw honey. They fall apart really easily. These donuts sort of resemble the ideal, but ultimately they don't quite measure up.

Our life appears to be crumbling. My health is on the slow decline. Satan is doing everything in his power to discourage, distract and deceive us. As my donuts are crumbling, my kids crying, my kitchen a disaster, and my life a sticky mess, Satan is waving a box of "real" donuts in front of my face. "Doesn't this look better? Don't you want to pass up that healthy, crumbly mess in favor of these beauties?"

Somehow Satan tries to make me believe that the better life, the sweeter life, the "ideal" is something other than I'm experiencing. The donuts in his box look so appealing. They taste good, they look good, they smell so good...

It's a familiar story. The oldest story known, really. In the garden, God had given Adam & Eve every good thing they needed for life. They were blessed in every way. But when Satan came with his trail of deceit, he promised something better, something sweeter, something appealing to the eyes and good for eating. Eve bought into the lie that the "good life," the "ideal," was something outside of the reality she was already a part of.

We know how Eve's story ended up. Real donuts do that to me, too. The sugar and grease tastes SO good for a minute, but then my glucose levels rise and my gut starts to ache. I experience a sugar crash and end up regretting my decision. The plate of crumbling donuts starts to look pretty good. I wish I could go back.

And so I find myself with a crumbling pile of donuts this morning, and a crumbling family, and a crumbling ministry. Yet in it all, I believe that God is good. I know in my heart that what Satan intends for my harm, God will use for his glory. Eve's story didn't end with a half-eaten fruit, shame, pain and agony. What Satan used to crumble the fabric of Eve's family, God put an end to in the person and work of Christ. My story doesn't end with a belly ache and regret. It ends with victory, sweet victory that both tastes good and is good for me.

Lord, would you help me to see past the pile of crumbling donuts, past the dirty dishes filling my sink, the tears in my eyes, the struggle of our week, the hurt of our hearts? Help me to focus on you. Bring about your victory in my body, in my family, in my home, in my church, in my community. The sweet life is right here. It's nowhere else. Help me to see that.

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