Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Of Mountain Tops, Valleys... and Bumps

Several months ago, (as the story goes) I was thinking about how we often tend to think about life as a series of "Mountain Top" and "Valley" experiences.

When we're super close to God, on a "Spiritual high"... maybe from a conference, or just a great conversation, or maybe some intense prayer-- we could say we are on a mountain top. Everything is great! Life is wonderful! God is good!

And then there are the valleys... the times when things are really rough. Someone betrayed or disappointed you. You lost someone dear to you. Money is tight. Whatever it is, you feel your need for God desperately, and you are forced to rely on Him. (We hope...)

But what about the rest of the time? After all, you don't stay on the mountain top long... and hopefully you don't linger in the valley, either. So... then what? Everything's just flat, boring, common... you aren't super close to God, and you don't "need" Him desperately...

As I continued to ponder this, the thought came to me-- are the sides of the mountains really flat? Oh no, not at all. There are bumps. Lots of them. Big and little. There are curves in the path. There are mini mountains and valleys... Plenty of chances to cry out to God for help, and many many chances to praise and thank Him. All too often, though, we overlook them. We tend to think we are on a spiritual "plain". Stuck out in the flatlands.

If you look at it this way, though... every day is filled with moments--bumps--where we can call out to God. And if we take those chances, recognizing our constant need for God and His constant goodness to us, we will continue to draw closer to God and develop a more Christ-like attitude.

So, challenge yourself: learn to recognize the bumps and low spots-- and respond either with thanksgiving or pleading with God for help!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why I Drank Mountain Dew

(Image found here)

I have a confession to make: several weeks ago, I drank some Mountain Dew. For the first time.

I know, shocking. Don't faint.

If you don't know me very well, you can go ahead and take that sarcastically. It really isn't all that shocking or momentous that I drank Mountain Dew. Though, perhaps, you might think it a bit odd that the first time I ever did was when I was twenty years old. And, furthermore, you probably find it queer that I would make a blog post out of the event... but hey. I am a little odd. In case you hadn't noticed...

If, however, you know me really well, you may actually be surprised--not that it was my first time--but that I did, in fact, drink it. At least it was the kind with SUGAR in it, okay??

See, I had a sort of personal rule that I wouldn't drink Mountain Dew. For one thing, it's unhealthy. For another, lots of people that I know are fanatical about it. And I, being, well, rather... shall we say... resistant to that sort of peer pressure, decided I wouldn't do it. Matter of principle, don't ya know.

But I did.

Why? Matter of principle. See, some principles are more important to me than others. Especially the one that caused me to break the I-refuse-to-drink-Mountain-Dew one.

What is it, you ask? Well, it's the principle of encouraging gentlemanliness whenever possible.

See, my sister Hannah, my mother, and I went to go drop the van off at the shop a while back. In skirts, of course. Duh. Well, this funny thing always seems to happen: the men who work at those sorts of places suddenly get more respectful and careful about what they say. It's an interesting thing to observe.... anyways, this particular time, one of the guys disappeared and then came back with some Mountain Dew for us. I could tell he... sort of... thought we were... different, and that he wanted to somehow show us a little extra politeness. So that's what he came up with. I didn't want to take it, honestly. But I realized that if I didn't, I would be, in a way, discouraging (or at least, not encouraging) that gentlemanly act, however small it was. So we took it, thanked him, and proceeded to drink some. (Please don't tell him I dumped the rest out when I got home, okay?)

Perhaps it wasn't really that big of a deal... maybe it didn't have any impact on him. But, on the other hand, maybe it was. Maybe it did.

I may not be able to change the entire culture, but I can seek to change my little bit of it, by God's grace.

Even if it means drinking Mountain Dew.