truth&ink

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Veganism, Jesus & 2017

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the drive-thru at Dairy Queen reading a vegan cook book I had just purchased at the local Barnes & Noble.  It was enthralling actually.  And as I waited for the lady behind the speaker to whip up my heath bar blizzard, I could not tear myself away from the seemingly-oh-so-simple recipes that were sure to change my life.

Gluten-free.  Dairy-free.  Egg-free.

 

What were the possibilities of all this freedom?

 

I wanted to know.

 

I rolled up to the window.  An older lady did the all-familiar upside down turn of the blizzard before passing it to me across the window.  I put away my cookbook, took my blizzard and headed home.

 

Driving the two blocks to my house, I went through a mental checklist: Clean out the pantry.  Order various grains of which I have never heard.  Order glass jars in multiple sizes to house said grains.  Plan on making a trip to the grocery store every 2-3 days for fresh fruits and veggies.  Follow recipes using grains, fruits and veggies.

 

Order non-fruit and veggie items that sounded like tiny, exotic islands–tamari, miso & tahini.

 

It sounded easy enough.

 

Walking through my kitchen, I slipped my new vegan hardback onto the bookshelf next to the vegan cookbook I had purchased last year.

 

I admired the “twins” in the dim kitchen light as they sat bravely together sandwiched between the Paula Deen’s Classics to the left and the Cookie Bible to the right.

 

We will show them.  We will set out on a journey to show the world the glorious freedom from eschewing the snares of white flour, processed sugars and corn syrup. 

 

Hopeful and excited, I crept into bed.

 

But I couldn’t sleep.

 

I remembered that I had bought the first vegan cookbook almost one year ago.  Where had time gone?

 

Why was I still serving my family pigs in a blanket for breakfast and driving through DQ (on occasion, of course)?

 

The truth hit me harder than that blizzard did.

 

While I wanted to change, knew I needed to change, was excited about change–I didn’t want it bad enough, or my cooking and diet would have already begun to look different.  It was my fault, and there was no one to blame but me.

 

Vegan wannabe.  Lazy carnivore.  Chick-fil-A addict.  I mumbled to myself over and over before drifting off to sleep.

 

I awoke early the next morning only to find myself thinking about kale chips and chronic inflammation.  I shook my head and stumbled downstairs to make a pot of coffee.

 

With a hot cup of coffee in my hand, I reached for my Bible with the other hand.  As I read and meditated, I began to jot down goals and ideas for the new year.

 

Uh-oh.

 

Many of them sounded strangely familiar–could they have possibly been last year’s goals?  I grabbed my journal and flipped back to the beginning of the year.

 

Yes many of them were the exact same.

 

I had treated my Bible and it’s recipes for success and freedom much like my growing vegan cookbook collection.

 

It had all sounded great in theory, but somewhere there was a disconnect with my reality.

 

The voices started in again: Pretender.  Mediocre.  Hypocrite.  Nothing like Jesus whatsoever.

 

I went back for more coffee.

 

I puzzled.  I pondered.  I prayed.

 

Why can’t I get it right?  Why do I always stumble over the same stupid thing?  Why can’t I make more than a teensy bit of progress in one calendar year?  Seriously, Jesus… why do you stick around waiting on me?  I would’ve given up on me years ago.  What is so hard for me to get about loving people and mercy and grace?  I am seriously not the poster child for “Be Like Jesus”.  Why is this so difficult?

 

After my pity party, I sat in silence.

 

I pretended Jesus was sitting in the arm chair next to me.  (It always helps me “see” him.)

 

He was quiet for the moment, so I decided to run to the kitchen for one more cup of coffee.   I was sure Jesus wouldn’t mind–after all, he invented patience.

 

I settled back down and waited.   Even though my sofa sob session had been a touch dramatic, my questions had been authentic.  Surely Jesus had something to say about all of this.

 

I sipped in silence…waiting.

 

And then his voice pierced my heart:

 

Daughter, I love you.  If you do nothing right, I love you.  If you do everything right, I love you.  You do not have to earn my love through self-discipline, works or self-denial.  I loved you before you were born, and I will love you throughout all eternity.  There is no “protocol” that brings you closer to Me.  I have been right beside you since you drew your first breath, and I have been right beside you every step of your journey–whether you knew it or not.  You can not earn my love.  You can not lose my love.  You are my creation; and therefore, I love you.  “Be” more and “do” less in the realization that you are unconditionally and eternally loved. 

 

I might have cried again.

 

I don’t have to do anything to earn His love.  My goals to be kinder, to be more compassionate and to study God’s word more don’t affect my status with Him.   He loves me when I am a bonehead, and when I am not.

 

He loves me regardless.

 

He. Loves. Me. --a simple concept that is so difficult to truly internalize. Click To Tweet

 

I drew in a deep breath and rewrote my goals for 2017–without shame.  Some I will accomplish, and some I will carry over into 2018.   (And a few I will probably completely forget about by tomorrow.)

 

And as for the”twin” cookbooks… maybe I’ll shoot for a healthy, vegan meal once a week.  😉

 

As 2016 closes out and you begin to set your intentions for the new year, I urge you to focus more on “being” and less on “doing”.

 

Wishing all of my readers a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

 

Until next time… Peace. Love. & Truth.

 

Melody

www.truthandink.com

 

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About Melody

truth-seeker. writer. wife. mom. papa's girl.

17 Replies

  1. Kristin McNulty

    Love this! I’ve been in the same place many times and have realized the same thing… It is so draining to try to make things happen… and I’ve noticed when I’m letting God lead, some of the things I used to strive so hard for come naturally (not all of them, but some) and they come from a place of rest, kind of like a byproduct of feeling secure in my identity and not from me trying to establish my identity. Thanks for posting!

    1. Thank you Kristin! And yes I would have added what you said about things coming naturally when you rest in Him, but I was trying to keep it under 1000 words… thanks for adding this in your comments!!! 🙂 It is so true.

  2. Tina Hare

    Made me cry! I love that He loves me when I am really unlovable. I think you are completely adorable. I want to put you in my pocket and carry you around with me all day…is that creepy!?!? This was a fun and uplifting post friend. BTW – I write several goals that I would like to accomplish throughout the year and toss the list in my Christmas decoration box. Some things I accomplish, some surprise me and others go back on my list again with a prayer of completion.

    1. I love the Christmas decoration box idea…. and no I don’t think that’s creepy at all! 🙂

  3. Lezlie

    I love this. I journal and write what I hear. Later (usually months later), I flip back and realize he has been saying the same things to me over and over. I just haven’t been listening. That’s the stuff of my sobbing spells. He gives me the answers … I have to be intentional about listening. Love you, Melody! I’ve been missing you!

    1. Thank you Lezlie. I know… I have had the same experience–repeatedly! LOL…. miss you too. 🙂

  4. Natalie Watkins

    Thank you for my morning inspiration! Great Job!

    1. Thank you sweet Natalie!

  5. I love how you are dedicated to sitting and listening. True patience there…and persistence pays off as you hear His heart toward you. Bless you as you continue to press in! Truth and humor….this is a great read. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Merry. Ah, patience…. Lol.

  6. Cyndi

    Thanks Mel for a year of writings, inspiration and meaningful words! It has been a blessing to me ! This one hits the mark!!! I think I repeat the same changes and goals I wish to make every year.Maybe in 2017 some of my spiritual goals will be met, but if not, love will still cover my many shortcomings.Thanks again and love you!

    1. Thanks Cyndi for your kind words, and yes, love will cover all of our shortcomings!

  7. Brittani

    Beautifully said! I am in the same place and I just had to laugh at myself. I think we put so much on ourselves and we carry things that Abba never intended for us to carry!

    1. Thank you! …and yes we do. 🙂

  8. Great post. Your humor came through. The title grabbed me and I just had to take a look.

  9. Jim

    Wow! Another excellent blog post that I’m sure everyone who reads it can relate to. A great reminder as well that we are loved “just because” and nothing we do, or don’t do affects it. Thank You Jesus. Thanks also Melody for sharing these things with us. A true gift. Merry Christmas.

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