It’s Not the Taste…
Before I get started…
Today I had to prove my humanity by completing a math problem before I could log in to write tonight’s blog. Hope they do not move into long division or algebra…you may never see another post.
It Is Not the Taste
We all know someone who says “it’s not the taste, its the texture” when it comes to certain foods. For me that food is okra and celery. Unless okra is well hidden and free of slime I won’t touch it. Celery I have to pull strings off or cut it thin to make it edible. In both cases there is something about the texture of those foods that is just gross to me. I have heard people say the same with coconut and a variety of other foods…even chocolate. (GASP)
The idea of it not being the taste but the texture can be applied in many situations. Take exercise. I like weights. I like to stretch. I like to dance, kick box and a variety of other things. In other words these activities “taste” good to me. On the other hand, I hate going to gym alone (it is a self-confidence thing). If I am honest…I hate to sweat in public. (Probably one of the most girly things you will hear from me.) Exercise makes me feel like such an underachiever. (I was going to say failure but know a few of my sisters reading this would not approve of my using failure to describe myself.) I don’t like the texture that comes with exercise as I know it. Did you catch that? Exercise as I know it.
Why? I know the benefits: a general feeling of wellness, fewer headaches, more energy, better sleep and weight loss, yeah let’s not forget that one. I equate exercise with punishment. It is a completely psychological thing which I have only recently come to recognize. I get caught up in what my head is telling me. So what happens? I miss out on all the benefits of exercising and return to my well worn spot in the recliner. I am working to change this nasty habit, but I am a work in progress. (Feel free to monitor my progress and keep me on track.)
Taste and See
Lately in both services (“big church” and youth) Psalm 34:8 has been brought up. “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (KJV) My preferred New Living Translation reads “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” This is one of those times I really like the KJV version best. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” is a pretty direct statement. (I again encourage you to go to CenterBranch and listen to the God is Good and Born of God series.) Obviously, we are not taking a taste like we would of food…but essentially it is telling us, “try it, you’ll like it”. Easy enough right? Most people can appreciate the taste that God is Good. The texture of “trusting” or “taking refuge” can be another story all together.
In case you missed it, we are human and humans have a tendency to complicate EVERYTHING God tells us in plain English, or Hebrew. We are all about saying God is good, but when it comes to trusting…really trusting, we are not so excited about the texture. We want to alter the trust component to suit our pallet. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Christians often tell people to taste and see and it is more like the insurance commercial with the raccoons. The one raccoon eats something gross and wants the other raccoon to try it. If you are a sour faced, no joy in your soul example of a Christian…you are basically doing the same thing. “Hey, come try this. I am miserable and burdened, but I want to share it with you.”
REALLY!?! No thanks, I’ll pass.
Let me be brutally honest. I am going to preface this with an apology to…well everyone at my church. When I started attending CenterBranch I was impressed. (I was tasting to see if it was good.) Everyone seemed so friendly and welcoming. The messages were powerful and on point. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be involved. However, there was this little voice asking where are the cracks? Something has to be wrong. People are not this nice with an agenda. People are not really that joyful. I grew up in church. In fact, it was “the church” that aided in wounding me so bad I turned away for many years. I have witnessed firsthand the hypocritical pastors and church leaders. The Sister-Bertha-Better-Than-You and the Brother-Stare-Down-My-Nose types were frequent in my experiences in church. The cracks show quickly in false people. You get the feeling about them. You are uneasy. They seem perfect all the time and have no worries in the world. They are always too nice, too pulled together. (Frankly, they are a little creepy in my experience.) Often they are rather passive-aggressive too.
In a short period of time, I have see “true colors” if you will. I have seen frustration in trying to get an event moving in the right direction. I have seen hurry in trying to remedy a problem. I have even had the chance to see how our lead pastor would handle potential adversity. In each situation, I was impressed with the grace I witnessed. In other words, not every church is filled with hypocrites. Do personalities clash…I am certain they do. Do people get frustrated? Yes. So what is the difference?
They have tasted. They have seen. They have trusted. They are blessed. In all these things they have shared with others the message of God and his goodness. The fruits of the spirit practically hang off of them as if ready to be plucked in harvest. They, no wait, WE unite together to sharpen each other in our faith. In my experiences with this congregation, we have tasted and in fellowship we are trusting together.
If the “texture” of faith or church put you off, try again. Do not focus on the people, put your focus on God. Even the best person on this planet will let you down at some point in time. My husband loves me more than I will ever understand. (I am a complete odd-ball, dork etc…I do not know how he puts up with me.) He would do anything to protect me from harm real or imagined. Even in his complete love for me, sometimes he steps on my toes, makes a joke that stings or forgets about something important to me. It is unintentionally done, but the sting is still there. God NEVER does that to us. (He never posts pictures on Facebook of you in a mud mask either.) God’s love is perfect.
So, taste and see, then if you are hardheaded like me…taste again. If you ever get a true taste of God’s goodness you will never want to let that go.