I was in one of life’s most difficult places to be and from where I was standing at the moment, this realization hit me. I felt as though there was no way I was going to come out of this unscathed.
I was standing in the grocery store and my stress level was slowly starting to climb. Panic. Heart palpitations. Shifting eyes and a dryness began to consume my throat.
“Where was it?” I frantically scanned the shelf full of brightly colored boxes. What made my search so desperate was each of the boxes had two things in common. They were all labeled “Mac & Cheese” and they all claimed to be the best and the cheesiest.
“How can this be?”
I have had fantastic Mac & Cheese before and I have had something far from fantastic in this department. I have had my grandmother’s famous “Spy Killer Mac & Cheese (Which is what we called it because if she was cooking and did not have an ingredient the recipe called for, she would simply add whatever she could find that looked like the ingredient the recipe called for) and I have had some of the best tasting Mac & Cheese money can buy. With this food, there can be no compromises.
I looked on the shelf of the store with anticipation and found the high-end Mac & Cheese and excitedly snatched it off the shelf. I looked at the price and while it was worth every penny, I also realized just how many pennies I had allotted to spend on groceries and hesitantly put the box down and reached for the store brand box that was sixty cents and assured myself that with enough ingenuity I could make this taste much better than I knew it would taste as it was.
Compromise with a guaranteed corresponding level of completion that always accompanies a compromise.
Love and fulfillment are very much like my quest for Mac & Cheese.
We all want love.
God is love, and we were created in His image, so it is no wonder we crave to have love in our lives. We are hard wired to want to experience and feel love, so what do we do? We go and search for it.
Remember the old song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places?”
“I spent a lifetime lookin’ for you Single bars and good time lovers were never true Playing a fool’s game, hopin’ to win Tellin’ those sweet lies and losin’ again.
I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places Lookin’ for love in too many faces Searchin’ their eyes Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of Hoping to find a friend and lover I’ll bless the day I discover Another heart lookin’ for love.
I was alone then, no love in sight. I did everything I could to get me through the night. I don’t know where it started or where it might end. I turned to a stranger just like a friend
I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places Lookin’ for love in too many faces Searchin’ their eyes Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of Hoping to find a friend and lover I’ll bless the day I discover Another heart lookin’ for love.”
We look for love and completion, and then we discover God. God says, “I am Love.” God says, “You have everything you need in me.” God says, “I make your heart complete because the hole you are looking to fill in your life is God sized.”
We look at God and deep down inside, we know He is what we are looking for. We know He alone can truly make us happy. But we look at the price it takes to learn this truth. How much does it cost to live FROM the understanding of God’s expressed love for us?
ASK, SEEK, KNOCK
“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Intentional attention. Ultimate fulfillment and true love in our lives costs us our attention.
“But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”
~ Deuteronomy 4:29
The word “soul” here means our MIND,WILL, and EMOTIONS.
It takes intentional effort to seek God.
It takes time and time is the most valuable commodity that we trade in.
We look at the box and we stare at the image of a satisfied heart. We can almost taste what it feels like to lack nothing in our soul, and then we shift our focus to the price. That is when we compromise. We compromise our expected fulfillment for cost. We put down what we truly want and choose to settle for what costs us the least.
We go cheap. We go way too cheap.
We settle for so much less because much less is what we think we can afford to spend.
We make the choice between the best for something that is sub-par in quality and taste. We convince ourselves that another person can provide lasting love, intimacy, and self worth when we know deep down inside that what we will get looks nothing like the box advertises. In fact, we know ahead of time that people will change or leave, things will break, and jobs layoff. We know it and yet we still choose to choose these outlets for our fulfillment.
I think the older I get, the more choice conscious I am becoming. I believe that in life; we do not get what we deserve; we get what we decide.
What is it you truly want in your love life? The thing about love and Mac & Cheese is that once you truly taste the best there is, the sub par brands stand out for what they always were. Sub par.
You look at the cheap brands and understand the ingredients used in those brands will never have what it takes to make superior quality.
I stopped my cart halfway down the grocery store aisle and looked down at the brightly colored box with the smiling pasta noodle on the front that guaranteed I would have the best tasting meal of my life for a great value, and I made a choice. I put it back on the shelf and decided that what I really wanted was worth the price I would be required to pay to receive it. I would do without something else in order to have what I wanted.
Love and life are the much the same. What do you want?
Climbing with you,
~Daniel *For those of you Mac & Cheese lovers out there, I would like to recommend the article by Dan Gentile where I got my pictures for this post.
It is about how to find the BEST store bought mac and cheese. Enjoy!!!!