Oatmeal and Strawberry Smoothie

This past Sunday I ended up in worship with my son, Jacob. The pastor, Rev. Erika Gara was speaking on discipleship and she started off by talking about food. So of course, I perked right up.

She shared how some people say it costs less to buy a fast food meal (at, let’s say, MacDonald’s) than to make a home-cooked meal. This, of course, isn’t true, but as part of popular wisdom, it is an easy excuse to make for not cooking.

Second to the “money” excuse is the “time” excuse. We say, “it takes so much time to cook.” And you know, it does. Not only do you have to cook but also, you have to buy the food! Yikes! Fast food is just easier. (This is one I did actually believe until I watched Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution disprove this last season).

OK, so two popular reason to favor fast food over home-cooked meals aside, we got to the third issue: eating out is “a treat” but cooking is “a chore”. I don’t think I consciously realized this, but once she said it I had to totally agree. Eating out (not fast food in my case, but just eating out) is a treat and for me, cooking is a chore..

But here is where cooking (and how we see it) connects to something bigger. For as we don’t make time to cook–seeing it as a chore—we often feel the very same way toward discipleship. Discipleship has become a chore.

Discipleship is ordering our lives in a way that enables the Holy Spirit to grow us more into the image and likeness of Jesus. And, let’s face it…. tithing, scripture reading and study, prayer, serving others, all these things take time and often feel like a chore. And who need more chores? Most of us are so crazy busy we don’t need one more think to feel guilty about not doing.

So what is the answer to this? How do we move discipleship away from feeling chore-like to experiencing it as nourishment?

Well, Erika spoke to this saying we need to re-order our lives. We need to put important things like good nourishment and growing in God at the top of our list and give them priority. And, while this sounds great, I haven’t been real good at it myself. I do try, and I try hard, but I am too spoiled and selfish to make the changes needed.

And then today it hit me.

What hit me was a change I have made recently. For the last 5 weeks I have been getting up at 6AM to make my son breakfast. Let me be clear, I love to sleep and am not a morning person. I usually fall to bed after 11PM and so getting up at 6AM isn’t something I can do. But, I have been—-for 5 weeks. I get up and make breakfast. Did I mention I don’t cook?

So, me, the one who likes to sleep till 7:30AM and doesn’t cook, gets up and cooks 5 days a week. And—get this–I do it gladly. In fact, I treasure those 6AM breakfast cooking mornings. Why? Because I get to spend time with my son who is a senior in high school and while he eats we talk. We talk about all kinds of stuff, but mostly the simple stuff of what our day is going to be like. He tells me what classes he has and what time he will be home and I share my day’s plans. He maybe sits down for 10 minutes max with me.

And that was what hit me: as I get up to be with Jacob–to just be with him–that is also why ordering our life for discipleship is important. Discipleship is about making time in my day for God–time to know God (through scripture), to share my life with God (prayer), time to become receptive to God’s will & leading (meditation). It is about relationship and relationships take time.

The stretching past my own habits and comforts has given me some surprising and delightful moments to develop my relationship with my son, which changes our relationship and changes me.

All this begs the question, will we do this? Will we reorder our lives?

I ask this because today by 4:30 PM I was exhausted. The morning hours are getting to me. So, I went to the gym but found I hadn’t packed my shoes, so I went home and thought for a moment how I cannot do this 6AM thing anymore, it is just too hard. And then it hit me that I am not going to change getting up early to cook for Jacob because it adds so much value to my life, so I will have to change something else–—something that means less/gives me less value (like staying up late and surfing the web for instance).

I have had to reorder my life. I am just confessing to the breakfast 6AM thing here but the reordering thing has been more universal. And honestly, none of it has been easy or cost free. But it has been so wonderfully transformative. And for me, that is what it is all about.