My Shiny Gold Card

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It came in the mail this week – my shiny Starbucks Gold Card.

Imprinted with my name, this card is more than a high class gift card. It allows me to get my favorite iced soy latte without paying 50 cents for the soy milk. It allows me to get a free refill when I just want straight, black coffee and can stick around to drink it. I can set it to auto-reload any time the balance drops below $10. And every 15th drink is free.

When I go to Starbucks.com I can see the beverages I’ve purchased represented by stars, being poured into my “cup” onscreen as I watch.

My friend Barbara got hers a couple of months ago. My friend Cyndie has had one forever, I think. I’m in good company as I order my beverage this morning, 100 miles from home, and I know that this card will connect me with another cup just like the one I’m holding now when I land thousands of miles away at the end of this day.

Predictable.

Consistent.

Familiar.

That’s the way I like my coffee.

And if I’m honest, that’s the way I like my life to pour out, too. No surprises. No variables. I want my non-fat chai to taste the same every time, and I want my day to go just as I’ve planned it, from sun-up to sun-down.

The organist at my church gave me a plaque for Christmas one year that says:

We Plan, God Laughs.

Even as I sit here drinking my controllable cup of java, I cling to the illusion of a life that can somehow be controlled by my own efforts.

After all, these are MY PLANS. MY AGENDA. MY ITINERARY. Right?

As a card-carrying Starbucks groupie, I am sold on what they’re selling.

But as a redeemed child of the Most High God I am still trying my hardest to change the menu. To make substitutions. To have things my way rather than to trust the Way of the One who called me. My tired human nature wants a road without speed bumps, a journey without detours, and membership in a club that requires little human interaction but comes with a sweet, personalized card.

All the privileges of membership.

No responsibility to anyone else but me.

“Do you love Me, Brita?”

Of course I love You!

“Then feed My sheep.”

Oh. Okay. Right after I order, God.

“Brita – do you love Me?”

Absolutely, God!

“Feed My sheep.”

I can do that. Do you think they want syrup or an extra shot in theirs?

“My child, my daughter, my little girl… Do you love Me?”

Yes, I DO, Father.

“Then it’s time. It’s time that you feed My sheep.”

  • Food, not coffee.
  • Love, not membership.
  • Life, not religion.
  • Truth, not agendas.

I put the card back in my wallet.

I throw the empty cup away.

By the power of the Spirit, I am answering the call.    

(Will you?)

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HIJACKED by the SPIRIT

Just a few of the Tuesday girls!

There goes another Tuesday morning Bible study…

13 women armed with coffee cups (correction: 12 coffee cups, one tea cup) and Bibles were once again hijacked by the Holy Spirit.

This phenomenon, happening with increasing frequency, takes the entire circle of women in my living room on one WILD ride through a full range of emotions and subjects and stories that would make the faint of heart… well, FAINT.

Don’t get me wrong! We come into each session with a shared objective – to cover the assigned material of our current study – but as the conversation begins and the very real needs of the group emerge, our agenda is often hijacked for a GREATER ONE.

Sometimes there are CONFLICTS that need to be resolved, or at least understood so that we can move on (strained relationships with difficult family members; run-ins with people who try to derail our attempts at loving those on the fringes; threats made by our own selfish nature that are at war with the Spirit of generosity God wants to fill us with).

Sometimes there is COMFORT that needs to be shared (when we’re losing our homes to the bank; losing our kids to addictions; losing our minds to menopause; losing our loved ones to cancer; losing our focus to the mind-numbing busy-ness and noise of the world around us).

Sometimes there is COMMUNITY that needs to be built (reminders that we’re NOT ALONE, that we are part of something greater than our own tightly wound bundle of nerves & needs; opportunities to realize that we have something the others NEED and that we can’t be faithful AND continue to keep it to ourselves!)

This week’s hijacking was marked by TEARS, answered (and unanswered) QUESTIONS, hysterical GIGGLING and moments of awkward SILENCE. Climbing off of the ride and into the study at hand, we realized almost simultaneously that what we had already experienced/wrestled with/discussed WAS the topic of this week’s chapter.

The “lesson” had begun – it just looked so much like our real lives that we hadn’t even noticed.

Romans chapter 12 begins with these words:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (the Message)

God’s plan is likely NOT going to look like what YOU have in mind for today, and trading in your ordinary life for a God-crafted one probably isn’t for the faint of heart…

It’s RISKY!

It’s CHALLENGING!

It’s even a bit UNNERVING!

But go ahead – give up your NORMAL for His distinctively COUNTER-CULTURAL and make like a Girl Scout (be PREPARED)!

A Spiritual hijacking is coming your way, and it has YOUR NAME written all over it.

 

Special thanks to Barbie, a Tuesday morning gem, who used this phrase to describe our women’s group to a friend.