Fast Food or Gourmet Meals – for the Soul

HamburgersThe average American eats fast food several times a week. Most of us realize that fast food is much less healthy than most food prepared and eaten at home. But with our love of convenience, our fast-paced lifestyle, and the lure of hyper-palatable food we have become believers – and consumers.

We love fast food in other areas of our lives as well. We love entertainment that’s ready-made, internet-produced intimate relationships, and “drive-through breakthroughs” in our spiritual life. We are running so fast that the real hungers we struggle with often get no nourishing food at all. Perhaps that’s one reason so many of us struggle with addictions: we are desperately trying to feed our hungers with food that does not satisfy.

Fast food provides a quick fix for an empty stomach, but the quality of nourishment and the level of satisfaction it provides are very small. A few hours later you’ll be craving food again.

On the other hand, a tasty and healthy meal you and your family look forward to takes longer to prepare, but is much more satisfying, not to mention nourishing.

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What Do You Want?

Anxious Young WomanIt’s one of the first questions I ask a patient who comes to see me: “What do you want us to accomplish together?” As a gynecologist and reproductive endocrinologist I might get answers such as, “To get pregnant,” or “get rid of this pain,” or “regulate my periods,” or “stop these hot flashes.” Of course there are plenty of other possible answers also.

So much frustration, misunderstanding, disappointment, and upset feelings can be avoided by getting this clear up front. Medically, I may or may not be able to help a patient get what they want, but it’s always the most important issue to address.

The same thing holds true in so many areas of life. Clarifying what you want dramatically increases your chance of getting it.

Even Jesus followed this when talking with people. He often asked something like, “What do you want me to do for you? (See Matt 20:32, Mark 10:36, John 5:6). Even God has a hard time satisfying us if we have no idea what we want!

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5 Things I Know For Sure

Confident WomanSome days are definitely better than others. Some days it seems everything goes wrong: perhaps the washing machine doesn’t work, a forgotten item shows up on your bank statement, and your spouse is sick.  A person’s emotions can get more than a little upset!

I don’t believe God intends for every one of our days to be easy. We would have no incentive to grow and mature if that were the case. He uses the difficult times to work transformation in us that nothing else can accomplish. He’s much more interested in our character than our comfort! He hurts when we hurt, but His purpose is much bigger than what we often see.

When things are frustrating, painful, difficult, or confusing, it helps to have some things settled – some things you know for sure. It gives you a place to go back to if you feel you’re getting lost. And that’s especially valuable on bad days – or weeks, or longer.

Here are a few things I have settled for good, things I know for sure:

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3 Things that are NOT Small Stuff

Funeral FlowersRule Number 1: Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Rule Number 2: It’s ALL small stuff!

There are very few things in life worthy of being excluded from the “small stuff.”

We were reminded of this today when we heard from a friend of ours that his father had passed away this morning. For Peter, his life on this earth is over. For Steve, the long waits at the hospital, the fighting to arrange insurance coverage, the conversations with doctors, the late-night trips to the ER, the frustrations with family members over details – all that is over too. And suddenly all those pesky problems certainly feel like comparatively “small stuff!”

Steve had a chance to tell his father Goodbye. He knows his father was right with God, and he has a strong faith himself. None of that lessens the pain, but it does limit the regrets. And for the rest of us, seeing someone come to the end of life here does help put everything else in perspective.

In the grand scheme of things, what’s NOT small stuff? A few suggestions:

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3 Benefits of Being Single

Single Person with CokeNo little girl grows up dreaming of going to bed every night alone, living by herself in an apartment. No little boy grows up dreaming of always washing his own clothes and cooking his own food. Regardless of whatever else we dream about, most of our childhood dreams include getting married and building a family.

Sooner or later that dream is often somewhat spoiled, broken, or misdirected. Parental divorce, domestic violence, addiction, or our own experiences of broken love may cloud the rosy dream of marital bliss. But for most of us even if that dream is buried, it’s still alive.

Then when marriage doesn’t happen it’s easy to become discouraged. Or perhaps marriage ended and you’re single again. You question, is there something wrong with ME? Where have all the good girls (or guys) gone? Am I doomed to be alone forever? Why doesn’t God answer my prayer for a mate?

I was single for 48 years. Then God brought a wonderful man into my life, and we are very happily married. But I know what it’s like to live year after year alone, wondering why it never happened for me. And I know what it’s like to finally completely give up on ever getting married.

Living alone for all those years, I did learn some very important things about the single life.

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