Enjoy the ride

You would think I grew up in a litter competing with eight or nine other kids for food or something. I am often accused of wolfing down my food. My husband is the exact opposite. When we lived together, by the time he had fixed his plate to his own idea of perfection, I was finished with mine. Then I was up and ready to go do something else. I have to admit that it is a legitimate complaint. Not only do I wolf it down, but I often eat on the run — either standing at the kitchen counter or driving down the road. You might ask why, and if you did, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. I don’t know why I do that. I work the same way. As soon as I’m given some sort of assignment, I attack it and wipe it out just like a five-bite sandwich. Wound up tight, I am. Wound up tight.

As is true with most bad habits, my ways tend to rub off on the people I spend the most time around. Rather than their wish to slow down and enjoy a meal rubbing off on me, it usually turns out that my bad habits of eating too fast or else on the run turns into their norm, too. Trust me, I recognize that it is not a good trait, and I would really like to change it. Problem is, I don’t know how. The way I eat and the way I work is symptomatic of something deeper than either of those things.

Just today, I had to remind my 5-year-old to try not to focus so much on our destination but rather to enjoy the time spent on the way there. “Enjoy the journey” was a bit too slogan-ish for him to get, I thought. Instead, I advised him to enjoy the music in the car and the things that we see on the way. “Try to enjoy the ride there,” I said. It is advice that I should take for myself.

Along with other healthy choices I’ve made for myself over the course of the last few years, I am willing to take the challenge to “enjoy the ride.” In doing so, I see the necessity of also opening myself up to the ideas and suggestions from my friends of ways to adjust the thoughts and beliefs that lead to persistent hurried behaviors. What are some things that you do in your own life to reel yourself in and “enjoy the ride?”

“Caller 1, you’re on the air. . .”

Father’s Day Status: It’s Complicated

I think Father’s Day is becoming increasingly more difficult to handle. Not just for me, either.

As I scroll through my mental list of close friends, I haven’t yet come to anyone with an untarnished experience this Father’s Day. (Ok, I just remembered one.) As I think of my friends, family, and self, either our dad has passed away, or the relationship was bad, or in some cases it’s both. Whatever the reason that brought us to this point, it hurts when Dad is not around — especially on Father’s Day. For the people I know and love who have experienced a living-yet-absent father, that pain is part of everyday life.

For those of us who miss our dad on Father’s Day because he died, we can find some refreshment and peace in our good memories. Particularly for those of us who profess faith in Jesus, the comfort and support that we felt from our dad can easily translate into that notion of God, the Father. But, the move from an uncomfortable relationship with our earthly father to a comforting relationship with our Heavenly Father can be a little more tricky. In that case, we have to let go of some beliefs we may carry with us that are contrary to the way God, our Heavenly Father, operates. If you wouldn’t want to be accused of being just like your dad, then maybe God deserves that same benefit from you: don’t assume that God is like anybody else you know. If you were blessed with a dad who modeled godly principles and lifestyle, then appreciate and recognize that as a blessing. But please understand that you could also have a faulty perspective of God’s ways and motivations, based even on that good-but-limited model.

In other words, all I’m saying is . . . God is much bigger than your daddy! He’s bigger than your mama, too! (Not necessarily saying “yo mama’s so big …) God’s love for us is entirely real. It’s so super-big. It doesn’t have the consequences of sin attached to it that we experience in our human relationships. God’s love surpasses all of that! God loves us so much that He chose to become like us in order to be with us, to teach us, to suffer like us, and to do the one thing that none of us could do just so we could be with him forever.

If your own Father’s Day status reads, “It’s Complicated,” then I want to wrap this concept of God’s love around you like a big bear hug. May the warmth, the comfort and the peace of God’s great big love put a mega-watt smile on your face this Father’s Day!

Now, who’s your daddy?! (I apologize, but I could NOT resist that!)