Anatomy of a Mug

Anatomy of a Mug

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 – But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show us that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

            Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a sucker for warm beverages.  Give me a cup of hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, comfy clothes, Adele singing in the background, and something to read, plop me on a couch and I couldn’t be happier.  Anything that looks cozy just adds to the experience.  I think that’s why I like coffee shops so much.  The earthy interior and dim lighting combined with smells of baked goods and roasted coffee beans puts me in a good mood no matter what kind of day I’m having.  What can I say, it gets me every time.

 

I came home from college today to a small box sitting on the kitchen table addressed to none other than yours truly.  I knew the handwriting like the back of my hand. Grandma.  God love her, remembering my birthday and getting her gift in early as always.  I was in no rush to open it, but when I did, the tea drinking fanatic inside of me smiled from ear to ear.  A mug.  An endowment from one tea lover to the next.   But it wasn’t just any mug.  A big, beautiful clay mug with flowers painted on the outside.  Strange as it sounds, when I looked at it, I pictured it growing on a tree; the clay being formed in the depths of the Earth and somehow magically bursting forth in that wonderfully crafted shape.  I loved it so much, I couldn’t stop looking at it.  I am also a sucker for pretty little knick knacks (in case you couldn’t have guessed).  My beverage was going to taste better, look better, and I was going to relax better with this mug, I just knew it.

 

Needless to say, this mug was filled to the brim with black tea, milk, and honey soon after and I was sitting down to read a new book I borrowed from a friend.  I was still looking at the mug though, admiring the skill of the artist who created it.  The mug was definitely hand crafted.  There were initials in the clay.  I loved the feel of the unpainted clay on the bottom of it; proof that this was the real deal…handcrafted, shaped, molded and painted to perfection by a caring maker.

 

And as I sat there, wondering why I cared so much about this mug, but not wanting to stop looking at it just yet.  It was beautiful, but it is just a mug after all….

 

It’s just a mug, and I’m just a human.  But me and my mug, I think we have a lot in common.  We were both formed, shaped, and loved on by a skilled Creator who saw a purpose in our existence.  The Creators set their marks on us and put us into the world to be filled and to pour goodness and joy into those around us.  They made us perfect, called us their own, and gave us a mission.

 

We are both jars of clay, storing and holding tasteful treasures.  We were molded into something beautiful, but the treasures we are filled with make us who we are; they make us meaningful.  Otherwise we are empty shells, adorned with earthly elegance but dry and bare behind the façade.  An empty mug accomplishes nothing, regardless of its outward appearance.  It is simply there.  Filled mugs fulfill their purpose.

 

The question now stands, who is more full, me or my mug, and I urge you to ask yourself the same question.

Uncertainty

I’m not sure…….I just don’t know.  Really, do you not know?  How could you NOT know?  Shouldn’t these things be easy to figure out?  Just think about it.  Come on now.  It’s not that hard.  Other people go through this all the time.  But wait…….It kind of IS a hard decision.  This could alter the course of my life, or someone I love.  I wouldn’t want to mess that up.  I have to make the right choice.  But what is the right choice?  I’m not sure…….I just don’t know.

 

These self inflicting conversations run in circles round and round through your head.  The conversation….all too familiar.  Gone over it 1,000 times before, but still no conclusions have been made.  Lying in bed wondering, why can’t I just decide SOMETHING?! But more importantly at that moment, why am I driving myself crazy!?

 

These are times where we are on the verge…… the times where we are frustrated, angry, losing sleep, and simply not happy with where we are.  We haven’t leapt off the cliff yet, and just stand there wondering if taking the leap, scaling the mountain slowly, or just turning around and walking away is the best decision to make.  And it IS hard.  We can stand on that cliff for days, weeks, or months staring down at the mysterious pool below and wondering if the leap will leave us in the depths of despair or swimming in the wellspring of success and opportunity.

 

There is something about uncertainty that is so unsettling.  We wish our lives could be set in stone, and all we have to do is look at the inscription and go from there.  But really, when you think about it, the only thing set in stone on our journey is the inscription on our grave.

 

Life is uncertain, but it is LIFE nonetheless.  It is a beautiful part of the journey, and through the frustration, I encourage you to celebrate.  Celebrate that the opportunity has come for you to CHOOSE.  This is a gift you have been given: to decide, to ponder, to reflect, to feel, to live.

 

I also encourage you to trust. Trust whatever path you choose.  Trust that you are NOT alone, and if the path you choose gets you lost, you CAN turn around.   There ARE second chances, and sometimes the detour leads you to places you never thought possible.

 

Sometimes the road less traveled by……… (the detoured, windy, narrow, U-turn filled path)…….makes all the difference.

 

So Stop. Reflect. Celebrate. Trust. The rest is up to you.  And THAT right there, is a beautiful thing.

 

Salty Speech

Salt.  An oldy from the summer but perfect for a first post. 🙂

Colossians 4:6 – “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

 

I was reading this verse today and the word salt popped out at me like that stubborn lingering kernel that explodes right after the popcorn bag comes out of the microwave.

Salt? I wondered.  Why salt?…….Why not sugar?……..Sugar is sweet……………Wouldn’t we want our speech to be sweet?  Or why couldn’t it be seasoned with some other herb or spice like garlic, ginger, oregano, or even peppermint to add the extra benefit of fresh breath?

This got me thinking about salt.  First off, it flavors food.  Easy enough.  A sprinkle of salt on almost anything adds that little extra umph to make your taste receptors sing the Campbell’s soup jingle of “Mmmmm mmmm good.”  Sodium (Na+) is also of vital importance for maintaining balance in the body.  It is the primary extracellular cation and works in conjunction with potassium to pass billions of electrical signals throughout the body.  I also know that water follows sodium.  This is why a low sodium diet is often prescribed for high blood pressure or why you pee less after devouring that bag of salty pretzels.

Alright, enough of the science lesson, and that doesn’t seem to answer my question as to why our speech should be salty not sweet……or does it?  What would life be like if our speech was always sweet?  The answer would always be yes.  Your orange striped shirt would always match your purple plaid shorts according to your best friend, and that piece of parsley would remain stuck between your teeth because no one would have the heart or the words to tell you it was there.

Salty speech…….full of grace, truth, and flavor.  The kind of speech that builds you up and gives you peace and balance; that won’t make you stumble and fall.  The kind of speech that is not sugar coated to give you a false sense of security; the kind that is down to earth and real.  The kind of speech that connects people like an electrical wire connects two telephone poles and the kind that signals the light (bulb) in our souls to keep on shining.  It is the kind of speech that flows from our mouths like water flows from a stream to nourish and refresh those around us.

Flavor. Balance. Electrical signals.  Water.  It looks like our speech simply has to be salty, carefully seasoned in just the right proportions to leave the impact that keeps people coming back for more.

 

There you have it everyone.

Break out the salt shaker.