Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Eve

This Christmas Eve felt so different than the others. God has been opening my eyes to His book, to how He calls us to live, to how we can find rich joy in this life by doing life more selflessly. A couple verses that have hit home for me are these ones: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-4) - I apply it to the simplest of tasks: Christmas Eve dinner consumption. Normally, I would not look to serve my toddler, but instead fill my plate and start consuming, assuming my mom would prepare a plate for my kiddo. Then, I would sit and enjoy my delicious dinner, all while others watch Santi enjoy his, and re-fill his plate as needed. This year, however, I realized how different it needs to be. I had a "me me me" mindset back in November during the family gift exchange, filled my plate (Santi was napping), inhaled goodies, and once my child woke up the last thing on my mind was "serve him. love him. lay your interests aside right now." And it hurt. My husband later pointed it out to me and conviction pierced me like a knife.

Here was the scenario this time around: Time to eat. Instead, converse, talk to people as others grab dinner. Wait your turn. Just....wait. Now prepare Santi his dinner, think of what he really likes, cut up food as needed for him to eat easier. Find a spot in the house where he can comfortably dine, make sure he has everything he needs, and watch him be cute for a minute. Just wait. Wait a couple minutes before you go for the food. Just....wait. I have always had a hard time waiting for food. I am hungry, or feel "in the mood" for something to eat, so fill that need. Immediately. I find whenever I was forced to wait, this monster of impatience and dying need came out of my soul and controlled my thoughts, actions and words. It was overwhelming and demanding. So I would voice everything it made me think, I would act out my feelings, I would go on a rampage until my flesh was fed. It's exhausting and consistent. My family jokes and calls it the Angry Hunger or something like that, and a handful of us in my immediate family "suffer" with this "disease".

But guess what? That's really just our flesh being impatient and needy. That's really something we can kill. We can tell ourselves to wait. We can go another hour without food and guess what? We will not die, even though every part of our body and brain is convincing us that, indeed, we will, unless we eat something RIGHT NOWWWWW! Anyhow. Wonder if anyone can relate to this. It always brings me back to the quote from Lisa TerKeurst:

“It is good for God's people to be put in a place of longing so they feel a slight desperation. Only then can we be empty enough and open enough to discover the holiness we were made for. When we are stuffed full of other things and never allow ourselves to be in a place of longing, we don't recognize the deeper spiritual battle going on.”
Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food

Just. Let yourself feel for a moment, or two, or three. Just wait. Hungry? Wait a moment longer, pray, remind yourself that your soul needs food, too, and you probably haven't fed it since this morning, or last night, or last week at church. Cold? Wait. Don't run for a jacket, let yourself feel it, slightly uncomfortable, ponder what others are feeling who live outside and don't have a jacket they can grab once the temperature reaches 35*F. Thirsty? Sad? Angry? Anxious? Just feel it. Don't grab water right away, don't grab food or Facebook to distract you from your sadness or anxiety. Don't lash out and grab a drink, or curse your cat/the nearest person to you, or vent to a friend how much you hate someone/something. Just feel. Isn't it uncomfortable? What if you turned to nothing in this world in those moments, but instead talked to your Creator? Told HIM how you are feeling, grabbed His word for some soul TLC, fed your soul first with a chapter from Matthew, the Psalms, or Proverbs, or Hebrews, or any book of the Bible. Then you just waited. Sit there. Sit there and ponder what you read, talk to Jesus about it. Ask yourself, how would I respond to God if He told me there will be no food for the rest of my life? I will always be cold, I will find myself living on the streets. What if you found yourself struggling with chronic depression, or anger issues, even violent thoughts? With an illness that makes you feel constantly thirsty?

Okay. I realize I'm kiiiind of steering far from "our Christmas eve and my food/flesh journey". I digress... It was freeing, to just wait. I did soon grab dinner and enjoy, and longed for more (more, more, more) but tried to distract myself with the people around me, the life happening before my eyes that I would have otherwise missed if I had been eating a 2nd or 3rd or 4th plate of food. And the evening was lovely.  Here's a little preview.

Family present: My mama, papa, my mama's mama (my gma), my gma's sister, my gma's nephew and his wife, myself, my hubby, and our Santiago.

Family missing: My sister and her hubby and little 7mo old William (all in NY visiting her hubby's family), my older brother (working), my younger brother and his wifey (with her family because Christmas Eve is her birthday!), and my mama's nephew's wife's parents (work).