I’ve mentioned that every afternoon I indulge in a cup of coffee and a sliver of dark chocolate. My “ideal setting” for this would be a gray-shingled cottage by the sea with comfy slip-covered sofas, windows open to the ocean breeze, interesting books neatly piled all around, and me touching toes with a like-minded friend or the dear hubs under a soft blanket to keep the chills at bay.
Reality typically has me stuffing the brown square in my mouth before a pleading child catches a whiff of it on my breath and chugging down that cup o’ joe (pre-destined for savory sips and quiet reflection) in one swift move that reads more like a freshman in college. It’s usually in between school pick-up and dance carpool, right around the time when the ringing of the doorbell and the barking of the dog signal to my two-year old that he should awaken on the wrong side of the bed since he didn’t get his full nap.
I invite you to join me in this afternoon ritual...whichever version fits.
Another thing I do with alarming frequency is go to the grocery store. If I were more organized and had my ducks in a row I’d have meals planned out and make only one weekly trip. Reality typically has me going multiple times a week and sometimes twice in one day…
Something I notice on these frequent grocery-store trips is the plethora of magazines hovering over the conveyer belt as I check out. Each of them has a different message telling me what to do or say or wear. Quite frankly I find them very bossy.
But don’t judge me if you come cover and catch a glimpse of one by yonder chair and reading lamp. We all need a vice or two….or three…
And speaking of vices, since you’re here getting in at the ground level, I’d like to take a moment to distinguish The Right Volume from these magazines. I mean, after all, I’m offering you an invitation to indulge with me. They’d have you cut out caffeine and chocolate all together, not to mention the amount of sodium I’m about to suggest.
If we were to follow the directions on those magazine covers we’d be aiming to have a body like Kim Kardashian, a closet and wardrobe like Fergie, be a a philanthropist like Angelina Jolie, and have adorable kids like Tom and Katie, but (of course) lose our baby weight quickly enough to get back into the afore-mentioned clothes and body shape.
To bite into this piece of the media pie means we’d be frustrated if we’re not a wildcat in bed with our husbands, totin’ a six pack under our shirts, having enough curves to fill out our skinnies (but not so much as to look like a plumber or have a muffin-top)…and all this before we’ve even left the house! And, speaking of home, at any given moment it should be a worthy site for Southern Living’s next photo shoot, inhabited by well-groomed and charming people who don’t argue with us or embarrass us in public as we go on our way to live out the American Dream, while balancing on fingertips the cunningly-created cupcakes for the kids’ classrooms made by recipes found in the – you guessed it – magazines in the grocery store aisle.
That’s a whole lot-a pressure.
Let’s breathe. Let’s slow down for a minute. That was too fast and too loud.
I have a very different message for you…
Reality has us living in a culture addicted to SELF. That’s right. We’re a bunch of self-addicts. I think we just might have a higher calling…to be addicted to SALT.
Not literal salt, of course. That would leave us feeling very bloated. Metaphorical salt. What I mean to say is,
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. Matthew 5:13
Jesus’ words….his sermon on the mount…a very famous Bible passage. This charge to be salty came right after he called the following people blessed: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the righteous, the merciful, those with pure hearts, the peacemakers and the persecuted.
Hmmm…those types of people aren’t exactly making the headlines these days are they? Jesus’ message is not just a little different. It’s radically different when contrasted against the backdrop of that grocery check-out aisle. Being salty is challenging for me. I need lots of reminders since the opposite messages are constantly being screamed so loudly. Acquiring this kind of salt addiction is counter-intuitive when thinking with my sight-seeing brain instead of my faith-seeing heart.
Now, I’m a very practical person who likes step-by-step instructions. So here’s a simple recipe the Lord put on my heart this morning to share with you today:
S – season yourself….your words, your interactions
A – allow to marinate…take frequent breaks from the noise
L – love in the meantime…get out of self
T – timing varies…more on this last one later
Being salt in a world that’s become increasingly bland may get easier as we spend quiet moments with Him. Or, may be the quiet moments are inspired by our saltiness. Either way, WE NEED THEM. But here’s the catch: the quiet may not necessarily come from breezy-seaside-cottagey scenes. It’s possible the world can still be swirling all around you (doorbells ringing, kids screaming, dogs barking, emotions rising, tragedies happening), but the quiet can be present in the midst of the noise. Seek and you will find The Quiet….not necessarily outside of the noise, but in spite of it.
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