I have a confession. Two blogs ago, I mentioned the need to be in the moment. Jumping into the past or too far into the future can be counterproductive. There is one area where I break my rule: peppermint ice cream for the holidays. I go on the hunt for it at grocery stores, Target, Walmart or any place that sells ice cream. In past years, I think there has been a national shortage of this precious commodity. For example, it appears in the freezer department during the middle of November, but when the first week of December rolls around peppermint ice cream is long gone. Maybe I look in the wrong places, but I have decided to go on the offense this year. Some people may call it hoarding, I call it being prepared!
So, what’s the big deal about peppermint ice cream? It represents many good things about December: Christmas music; decorations; parties; my birthday! In no way does it even come close to replacing the true meaning and spirit of Christmas, but I do like to have it around during this time of the year. I love it with hot fudge sauce. For all other flavors of ice cream I say, “I would like a little ice cream with my hot fudge sauce.” Peppermint ice cream and hot fudge sauce can stand on their own. They are both essential in a holiday dessert I make, Peppermint Ice Cream Pie (with hot fudge sauce!!). My kitchen cabinets contain 12 pie plates. I use them all at once to whip up and freeze my ice cream pies.
As I have been traipsing from store to store, I have been thinking about storing up other items that we need or love. For example, gas is lower in price and we don’t know when it might go up. However, there is no place to put extra gas unless you own a farm and have a big tank out back. I like pretty cocktail napkins and when I see ones that remind me of someone or they are a great bargain, I buy extra. Grocery ads can be especially enticing with, “buy 2, get 3 free”. It may take me from now to next Christmas to finish the five bottles of salad dressing I have bought “on sale”, but it eventually happens.
It would be nice if we could store up good times with people or the times that we have had extra strength or courage to complete a task. If I needed that extra lift or push then all I would do is pull these times out of the cabinet, like my bottle of salad dressing. However, these commodities continually need to be fresh time and time again.
In the same way, I cannot store up my relationship with God. Whether I’m in a good place or hard place, I have to experience Him fresh everyday. Whatever I am going through requires me to come to Him and ask for new strength and perspective. Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like I am repeating lessons I have already learned or perspectives I should have gained from past situations. This strength or wisdom cannot be stockpiled. Although I can build on the past lessons, each day there will be something new that I will have to trust Him for and He will be there to give me new strength. Old peace doesn’t substitute for that which is needed today. Peppermint ice cream will take up space in my freezer for the next month. I’ll try to let it be a reminder that the commodities I need from God must be fresh daily.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” Psalms 84:5&7 (NIV)