Monday, July 23, 2018

Life in Small Bites


Sam and I recently went to this local bakery called Paige’s Bakehouse. The thing they’re most known for is what I thought were called Petite Fours, but are actually petit fours (small oven). They’re basically mini, ornately decorated little cakes or sweets. Think about if you shrink rayed a full-size cake. It’s that.

That got me thinking about how we view life. I mentioned earlier that instead of seeing life as narrative, A to B to C to Z thing as I had been, I was now viewing it more experientially. More as sensations and still frames and feels than a chronological story.

The petit four dessert from Paige’s got me to this area of thinking about life in small bites, and how the small bite idea is so much healthier than where I’ve been for decades.

I’ve always been a big picture guy. I like questions. Why is all this happening? What’s the point? What’s my role?

By brooding on these big questions, I was trying to understand and see the whole giant cake. I was was also trying to eat the whole cake, both metaphorically and literally. 

There was this kind of desperation to do and taste and see and accomplish. Maybe part of it is fearing dying early and missing out. But most of it, for me, is fear of failing in my duties, whatever they were. The obligations were important, but I wanted to be seen as was worthy.

And so I was just planting my face in the middle of the cake like a one year old and a party and going to town. Bad way to live. Stress, sickness to due to stress, missing days because I was focused on weeks. Always on the next one. Never a chance to enjoy what I have.

But now I see that attacking life the way I was isn’t exactly what God has in mind for us as human beings. Here are some reasons why:

  • Nature. We have seasons and cycles in nature. 
  • Sabbath. God builds in to his creation story a day of rest, and he commands rest (Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy).
  • Existential Bible Talk. Ecclesiastes 3 and hippie 1960s songs both acknowledge that there's a season for everything.
  • Manna. In the Old Testament, God supplied daily food for his people. It only lasted the day - it couldn't be gathered for longer (Exodus)
  • Jesus. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus instructs us to ask for "our daily bread", not "full knowledge of the success of our five-year plan." In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes very clear to focus on the day. Matthew 6 is about focusing on the present:
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
So now I'm trying small bites.

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