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“Annabelle, I am not a grocery store, you know.”

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes:)

This morning, I sat on my bed like a bozo for probably 20 minutes, waiting for God to speak.

It’s a beautiful day. I opened both my windows and let the spring breeze flood my bedroom. Then I stared out those windows at how the light was hitting our skeleton trees and listened.

More than anything, I want God to guide my blog.

I don’t want these words to be mine. I only want to be the vessel that carries them to you.

I don’t want to be the author. I want to be the pen.

And I think this perspective isn’t necessarily wrong. One of my favorite quotes ever is from Mother Teresa: “I am but a pen in the hand of a writing God.” It invokes a spirit of submission and surrender. It says to God, “here are the gifts you’ve given me. Use me how you will.”

It’s true, I can’t speak wisdom on my own. I can’t speak truth into your life with my own faculties. I cannot heal you, I cannot fix you, and I sure as hell cannot save you.

There are certain powers that belong to God alone, and on the topic of faith-based writing, I brush sides with some of these powers.

It’s a difficult balance, because being a Christian is full of paradoxes that make no sense and yet make all the sense in the world.

Of course I can’t write well on my own. I’m a little worm of a person who can barely shovel food into my mouth without sinning, let alone write words (which are dangerous things) on a page without making a multitude of mistakes.

And yet ~ the God of the universe chooses to use people like me to do what he wants. And not because he has to. Of course, he could write a blog all on his own and speak truth and wisdom over people’s lives in an instant, no middle-man required. But he wants to be with me in this process. He wants me to be a part of it.

So what’s my job?

Surrender. But also ambition.

Submission. But also hard work, creativity, and decision-making.

And let me tell you: it’s easy to trust that God will use your words when He speaks them over you clearly.

But it’s very difficult to trust God when he charges you to make your own decisions and doesn’t exactly tell you what to do. Because if anyone would mess up God’s plan, it’s me. And although I know God’s plan can’t be messed up, I still think sometimes I’m capable of it (a simultaneously self-deprecating and extremely prideful position to take, I’m aware).

So this morning I sat for a long time, waiting for God’s familiar voice.

It only took about two minutes before I was biting my lip with impatience. A solid 160 seconds of focused thought on my best friend and my mind had timed out. Now I was thinking about the episode of the office I’d watched the night before, playing the scene before my eyes.

What a consumeristic way of viewing my relationship with God.

After twenty minutes of overthinking conversations I had last week, pondering what I’d eat for lunch, and letting myself fall in love with the blue-ness of the sky, I realized I’d let my mind wander and focused back in on Jesus.

He was still there, sitting in my bedroom, waiting for me.

Not because his life revolves around mine. But because my life should revolve around his, and he knows it. And he shows me more patience than I deserve.

“I’m so sorry, God,” I said, struggling to find an adequate apology.

“Annabelle, I am not a grocery store, you know.”

My vivid imagination placed me in a grocery store right then and there. I stood over part of the produce section where the apples and oranges are stacked in a range of greens and reds and yellows. I held a thick plastic bag in my hand and pondered which ones to pick.

In my fantasy, I reached out and grabbed a red apple. On the outside was written “pro-life argument.” I placed it in my bag. Grabbed another. This time, “God convicting me of how I love people” was scribbled on the skin.

This is how my typical week goes. And this is how last week looked. I go through my week, taking notes on all the things God is teaching me. Then on Saturday mornings, I pull out all my produce, chop it up in nice bite-sized pieces, and present it to my audience like some demented chef.

I’m always looking for blog ideas.

In an effort to perform, I’ve taken deep lessons from God and reduced them to snacks.

I’ve taken God’s feast and made it to-go.

Isn’t that awful?

And of course there’s nothing wrong with writing about what God taught me in a week! I guess I just felt convicted this morning on how I do it.

I sit down every Saturday morning, and instead of thanking God for what He’s already done, I beg for more. “God, what should I say today? Tell me what to write. Gimme gimme gimme.”

This might make me out to be some kind of monster, but without God I realize I am a monster who needs grace more than I need water. So if this image makes you uncomfortable, maybe that’s because you know we’re all monsters who need Jesus more than anything. We’re just afraid to look at ourselves.

I cannot fit God in a to-go box.

I cannot stuff his wisdom into a styrofoam container.

I cannot take his presence, chop it into 100 even pieces, and wrap plastic around them so they won’t spoil in your fridges.

God is not a grocery store.

I listened to a sermon about the Holy Spirit recently. In it, the pastor talked about how throughout the Bible, pouring anointing oil on someone’s head portrayed the Holy Spirit pouring out on someone.

I thought that was super interesting, because I automatically thought about what it would be like to have someone pour oil on my head.

I would hate it.

Have you ever gotten butter on your fingers, and then tried to wash it off? Takes like 264848 hours. And it’s slimy and gross. It might just be one of the worst feelings ever.

Well, now imagine dumping a whole jar of liquid butter on your head.

The amount of shampoo you’d need to get your hair back to a presentable state would be ridiculous.

But I think this visual is powerful: the Holy Spirit is messy.

God is not interested in your comfort. He is not eager to keep you prim and proper and tidy.

When His presence pours out on you, things get messy. Life gets uncomfortable. You can’t seem to wash Him off no matter how hard you try. Because that’s what God does to you, He transforms you beyond return. You cannot wash the Holy Spirit off once He pours out on you. Nothing will ever be the same.

And this is life with God!

Not this compartmentalized, organized pantry of spiritual supplies.

The oil is not collected in tidy little jars and placed on the top shelf for “when the time comes.”

That oil is poured out all over you and it’s messy and uncomfortable and free and fun and that’s life!

God is not something you pull out of your refrigerator when you have the right guests. He’s not that fancy cheese you pull out for your neighbors or that bottle of wine you save for holidays.

God is a feast and he is every day.

He is life and he is full.

He is the food that makes us never hunger. He is the water that makes us never thirst.

He is the fine wine that poured out on the ground for us.

He is the fresh loaf of perfect bread that snapped in half for us.

May I never look at the sacrifice God made and think, “what a waste.”

May I never look at that wine spilled on the ground and think, “we could have saved that for later.”

May I never hear God’s voice and instead of letting sink in, take out the notes app on my phone and ask, “could you say that again?”

May I never, ever choose performance over worship.

May I never, ever choose to collect pieces of life instead of living them.

As a maker and as a curator and as a collector ~ I have done these very things in an effort to serve you well and to push you closer to Christ. Because that is the biggest mission God has put on my heart, to make my life a spotlight on Jesus so others can see him better.

But as a daughter and as a servant and as a student ~ I’ve let my heart sink from relationship to consumerism.

My God is not something I consume.

He is my best friend. He is my savior. He is more than just a voice. He is a person. He is God. He is my king. He is the one who paved all these roads. He is everything.

You cannot fit Everything into a weekly blog:)

So to you faithful readers, thank you for your grace. And praise God he’s chosen to speak through these goofy little weekly musings anyway, even though they’re riddled with mistakes!

I am not God’s customer. I am God’s child.

Here’s to living as one.

This song isn’t exactly Christian, but I think there’s something to be learned from the simple lyrics in this song. And it’s just a fun joyful beautiful song, so I hope it makes you smile:) Happy Saturday and God loves you!

“Stupid Deep (Acoustic)” by Jon Bellion
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