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Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Magic Bullet

I ripped open the package on Christmas morning, thrilled to see that all my clever hints and reminders had worked. I finally got it: The Magic Bullet.

It's a little blender, really. Supposedly I'll be able to whip up a batch of guacamole in ten seconds or less. I reckon I'll be able to whip up, blend, chop, or puree anything in ten seconds or less. I'm pretty excited about it.

But I have to admit that receiving the Magic Bullet as a Christmas gift symbolized something much deeper than just getting a mini-blender. It represented a new start to me, a fresh beginning.

Particularly when it comes to household gadgets, time management products, or beauty potions, I'm especially tempted to think, "With this gadget, product, potion, I'll be different. This (thing, book, idea, etc.) will produce that kind of change in my life that I'm longing for. This will be the magic bullet."

That's silly to hear when I spell it out. Honestly, what could a blender provide except globs of pureed food and then a dirty kitchen appliance to clean up? But, when I tore open the package on Christmas morn, I was thinking, "Now I'll be organized. Now I'll be creative and inspired. This Magic Bullet is exactly the magic bullet that I need."

With the coming of a new New Year, it's tempting to engage that kind of magical thinking too. I like to believe that with the stroke of midnight, something happens wherein this year will be the year that I lose weight, change that bad habit, or rehabilitate that relationship. But just like so many Magic Bullet gifts we receive, by February, the newness wears off, and we realize that we're still the same person, and the Magic Bullet is really just a blender.

Our longing for change and newness is a good one; it's something that God instills in us sin-sick souls who hunger for righteousness and a life devoted more fully to worship. Newness and redemption are exactly the business that our Lord is in.

But I will be the first to admit that I rarely want to do the unheroic, hard work of simply showing up in my relationship with the Lord and with other people. I want a spiritual magic bullet so I don't have to actually live through the experiences that require, for instance, patience, mercy, or kindness. I'd rather get the righteousness without all the commitment that righteousness requires. I'd rather craft fanciful New Year's resolutions and let them peter out than do the daily, quiet tasks than actually fulfill the resolutions.

Here's a comforting word, though, to this magic bullet dead-end: Our Lord knows our frame. He knows we write New Year's resolutions with a remarkable propensity to break them. He knows our feeble, twisted, often self-deluding ways, and he still loves us. Very much. Like a Father. (Psalm 103:14)

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, Bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
(Psalm 103:1-5)

The stroke of midnight will never change my crooked little heart, but with my heart open to Jesus, he can. My New Year's resolutions will most likely beach on the shore of good and forgotten intentions by mid-February, but the love and mercy of the Lord is everlasting. My new Magic Bullet will go the way of most things that cannot satisfy the longings of a heart made for God, but God can.

And I long for the redemption that he alone can give. So do you.

So, let's encourage one another daily, as long as it called Today, so that none of us may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13).

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28 Comments:

Blogger Amy B said...

I can't believe it!

You just put my entire personality into words! Shall I list my Magic Bullets?

*Household Notebook
*Kitchen Aid Mixer
*BreadMaker
*Slim In 6 DVDs
*Numerous Books
*Magic Bullet (yes, ma'am)

These are just some of the life changing tools I have aquired. Funny though, they don't come with instructions for a personality adjustment. I had to go to THE manual for that - the bible. Meanwhile, these tools sit around doing what they are supposed to do. I had to realize their function isn't renewing my mind. God reserved that feature for the bible!

Thanks for such an awesome post and welcome to the team!

January 2, 2008 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

'But just like so many Magic Bullet gifts we receive, by February, the newness wears off, and we realize that we're still the same person, and the Magic Bullet is really just a blender.'

This is my favorite sentence thus far in 2008. Man I hate it when we realize it was just a blender all along. Unfortunately I have a bookcase, fridge, and appliance cabinet full of them.

Welcome to the Team Laura..This post was phenomenal..:)

Lisa

January 3, 2008 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Laura,
What an awesome post!

I love to make new lists and start new things, but the day to day grind of really changing is much deeper than a list, and I fail more often than I want to admit.

The magic bullet is an excellent example of this!

I love the verse in Psalms 103, I picture David pointing at himself and very sternly saying these words as it represents the battle of our spirits and our souls- I hear "You WILL bless His holy name and not forget all He has done!"

And this:
"My new Magic Bullet will go the way of most things that cannot satisfy the longings of a heart made for God, but God can."
Love it!!!

I was so excited when I heard that you would be writing- I love your heart and have been so blessed by your blog!

Hugs from the other side of the world!
Sue

January 3, 2008 at 4:33 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a great post, thank you.

January 3, 2008 at 4:59 AM  
Blogger Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Brava! Well done and well said! Excellent post and BEE-YOU-TEE-FULL debut!

January 3, 2008 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Shelby said...

Blog on sister, blog on!!! All I can say is "WOW"!!!

January 3, 2008 at 7:44 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Great post. I think that this applies to lots of us! Good Job! I enjoyed this reading. Thanks

January 3, 2008 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger freetofly said...

So glad that I recently found your blog! This is such a powerful and tender post!

Here's my fav - this is heady stuff indeed! "I want a spiritual magic bullet so I don't have to actually live through the experiences that require, for instance, patience, mercy, or kindness. I'd rather get the righteousness without all the commitment that righteousness requires." Isn't that the stinkin' truth? LOL! We just gotta be willing to be committed and make that effort at loving the unlovelies! For me it is easier when I remember just how unlovely I can be myself! :)

Bless you! Looking forward to your next!
Maria
@ Free to Fly

January 3, 2008 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Cory said...

We always think that something can be the changing factor in our lives, when the most changing factor is Jesus and our turning to him in everything. God bless, Cory

January 3, 2008 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Kelly @ Love Well said...

Great post, Laura. Great analogy. (And as the self-professed Queen of Analogies, I bow before you.)

This is the exact reason why I no longer make resolutions. I'm tired of living on a roller coaster of expectations and failure. I'd rather just walk day in and day out with my God.

January 3, 2008 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

"I'd rather get the righteousness without all the commitment that righteousness requires."

Yep, this would be me.

Thanks for the encouragement and challenge to stretch. It is worth it.

January 3, 2008 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Oh my, you just nailed me! Remember the kitchen gadget that came out a few years ago....it would be the end all be all to making the perfect omelet. The announcer would say, "and voila, you have an omelet!" So many times we think, if I just complete this Bible study, "voila, I'll be spiritual." If I love my children enough, "voila, I'll be the perfect mother." But you know, I've never read anywhere in the Bible where Jesus said "voila!"
Thanks for such a great post and for challenging me this morning!

January 3, 2008 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

I liked the line about our sin-sick crooked little hearts. So accurate. But thank God He is intent on setting the crooked straight. Laura, this is just so good. Thank you.

January 3, 2008 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

I think that I might be Cheryl's twin (above). She's right! No "voila!". Just hanging with the Savior - everyday - when it's easy and when it's. . . not so easy. His presence and His word alone will change our "crooked little hearts." Man that is freedom! Beautiful post! So great to have you on the team! (I love exclamation points today!)

January 3, 2008 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Heather@Mommymonk said...

Hmmm, I wish I had a magic bullet...Or maybe, I don't. We may not be magically transformed at the stroke of midnight, but we have been made new by our Creator. And what hope that brings. Here's to a year of sticking it out through the nitty gritty every day steps we make this year to follow Him.

January 3, 2008 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Living Beyond said...

I think you must live inside my head lol - my favourite one-liner is "THIS will change YOUR life - or THIS is gonna change MY life"
I apply that to everything I see, eat, drink, wear etc.

Wouldn't it be something if it was that easy - life changed in a moment. When you just sit and think about it a minute wouldn't that be the most boring life you could think of.

I'm always encouraged by the words I read in the Word like ENDURANCE, PERSEVERANCE, RUNNING THE RACE - ATTAINING the Prize!!

Thanks for this Magic Bullet moment because only HE makes any difference! Thank you I'm going to sit on this for a while!

BTW Amy B "Slim in 6 DVD's - thats me to a tee" hahaha

January 3, 2008 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger lori said...

I wish you could hear me LAUGHING out loud only because I'm convinced that you have hidden in my house a hidden camera! I'm the MAGIC BULLET gal! well, I hope I'm a recovering Magic Bullet gal...I still have my moments. I know the feeling,all too well.

I've also done it with myself...the "if only I" syndrome!
ah yes....but we have the "LOVE and MERCY of the Lord that is everlasting. My new Magic Bullet will go the way of most things that can't satisy the longings of a heart made for God, but God can."
THAT WAS GOOD!!!

Welcome to the team Laura!
What a post!!
now WHERE exactly are you HIDING that camera???
peace to you!!
lori

January 3, 2008 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger lori said...

oh man!
I wanted to visit your site, but my browser won't open it...
drats!
I'd LOVE to read more!
lori

January 3, 2008 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Xandra said...

"I want a spiritual magic bullet so I don't have to actually live through the experiences that require, for instance, patience, mercy, or kindness. I'd rather get the righteousness without all the commitment that righteousness requires."

Oh how that pierced my heart! So often, I want the benefits of righteousness without the work. Thank you so much for your well written encouragement.

January 3, 2008 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Tänia said...

*sigh* The Magic Bullet... I dream of that one. *snickers* Yes, I fall into those 'magical' thoughts of the 'if only's'. If only I had this to make me more organized. If only I had that I would be more beautiful. If only I purchased this, I would be superwoman!

But God says that He is all I need. Although it is imprinted upon my heart... so often I become overzealous and jump into traffic trying to grab the magic bullet! And God says... gently... come back here my beloved. I am all that you need. Trust in me. Let me be sufficient for you.

Thank you for the reminder...

Tänia of weirblessed.com/faithprints

January 3, 2008 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Laura,
Great post! We are blessed to have you sharing with us.

Oh, how true this is of me always wanting the "magic bullet".

"I want a spiritual magic bullet so I don't have to actually live through the experiences that require, for instance, patience, mercy, or kindness. I'd rather get the righteousness without all the commitment that righteousness requires."

Oh, the truth in these words.

Blessings to you and welcome to CWO.

January 3, 2008 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger Christie@tisbutaseason said...

I think this was exactly what I needed to read tonight.

"...But I will be the first to admit that I rarely want to do the unheroic, hard work of simply showing up in my relationship with the Lord and with other people. I want a spiritual magic bullet so I don't have to actually live through the experiences that require, for instance, patience, mercy, or kindness. I'd rather get the righteousness without all the commitment that righteousness requires..."

OUCH. Thankfully you mentioned in the next paragraph that He knows me and yet, still loves me.

Blessings, Peace, and THANK YOU!

January 3, 2008 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Wonderful post! How exciting that you are contributing here. I am guilty of the same- finding January first to hold a bit of magic, that eventually fades. But I love grasping that hope all the same! :)

January 3, 2008 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger oh amanda said...

Beautiful post, Laura! Isn't it true---we're "broken" but God knows it and works thru us, with us and for us anyway!

January 3, 2008 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger Yellow Mama said...

It is a day at a time thing with God. I cannot live without him and I am so glad He loves us when our "frame" is weak. Let's consider kicking each other out the door (figuratively speaking) each morning and doing what He has called us to do...we all need encouragement in the form of a big boot and the gentle hand of a loving Father...blessings.

January 3, 2008 at 11:58 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

You describe me perfectly. In school I always thought if I had the right sneakers I'd be able to run faster. If I had the right clothes, hair, body, you name it, I'd be able to fit in better. If I read enough home management books, blogs, I'll be superwoman. If I have the right Bible and read enough Christian books and blogs, I'll be a better woman of faith. Blah! It doesn't work that way. But being the avid reader I am, I doubt that last part will change soon. LOL

January 4, 2008 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

I love Psalm 103. It truly reminds me that I need to rely totally on Him for any change that has any eternal and lasting value in my life. Great post.

January 4, 2008 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

I suppose that is makes me think of this~ "Whatever doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger! Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

January 6, 2008 at 1:00 AM  

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