A couple months ago, I was preparing to leave on a writer’s retreat with some dear friends—a gathering that has become a beloved tradition at the start of every summer.
I ran to the grocery store to pick up the food items I was bringing for the weekend and I took a call from a friend while in the store. My shopping list was on my phone, but I figured I could freewheel it.
I had a great conversation with my friend, ran trough the check out with my items, took my coupons from the cashier (excited I had earned two instead of just one!) and left for home.
Half-way through the drive I realized I had forgotten the chicken breast—a key ingredient in grilled chicken. I decided not to turn around—chances were I would have to return to the store again before I was done packing.
Putting away the groceries, I found my not-one-but-two coupons at the bottom of a bag and was disappointed to find that they were both for heartburn medication. Not the buy-one-get-one ice cream coupon a bunch of friends had been talking about getting. I thought it was sadly funny and continued to prepare for the weekend.
After dinner, I ran to the store once more to pick up travel-sized soap and chicken breast. Again I managed to forget the chicken breast.
But guess what I came home with? A third heartburn medication coupon! Now it was just getting cruel. I have not yet had to experience the joy of heartburn. And, for the most part, the coupons from this store are based on your purchases…so what was in this soap that causes heartburn?!
Finally at eleven o’clock that night, I went to the store a third time along with a friend. This time I left with the chicken breast and my friend left with a buy-one-get-one ice cream coupon. Guess what coupon I got?
Yeah. 30% off heartburn medication.
And I had to laugh thinking back on this the other day because how much of my life is like this?
I didn’t go to the store to get coupons for heartburn medication or pints of ice cream for that matter. I went for chicken!
There are so many season in life where I have looked at what others are getting, upset with what I’ve been given all while missing the entire point. There are things that my heart wants that it is not getting, but in the midst of that, am I pursuing what my heart needs? (And no, I don’t mean chicken breasts!)
I confess that I loose site of the kingdom so often, caught up in hustling, achieving, and competing. Trying to have it all so often becomes the name of my game rather than slowing down and taking in what I really need: Jesus.
But once I have what I really need, what I want starts to change. What I was striving for starts to matter less and the circumstances I’m not pleased about become secondary. When my heart yearn is aligned where it needs to be, my longings begin to reflect the kingdom in proper ways.