NOTE: I was struggling to come up with my post for this month, so I asked some friends on FB to give me a first line. The below blog post is the result of two suggestions I received for possible first lines. I ended up tweaking them a little. The lines given were, “Sometimes, God sends a semi” and “Be like the cheese.” Here’s the post:
Sometimes God sends a semi full of cheese and says, “Be like the cheese.”
Picture it. The diesel engine rumbles while you pull open the huge silver back doors. God didn’t send a Prius. He sent a semi with a very peculiar message. It must hold some wonderful answer to your deepest questions. But then, the door swings wide and the hefty scent of gouda practically knocks you down. It’s not a clever metaphor for life. It’s a semi full of cheese.
Be like the cheese.
Recently, I metaphorically fell on my face. It had been a long day, and I had yet another evening meeting. My social cup was sucked dry, and somehow my vocabulary had shrunk to one syllable words composing simple sentences. And I just messed up. I froze when it came time to close the meeting and send everyone on their way, and instead of sounding like the polished pro I long to be, I sounded like Porky Pig on half speed. It wasn’t pretty.
Fortunately, friends composed this group, and I felt safe failing and being foolish, but I also felt crummy about it. I think God’s calling me to be a better speaker, and despite that first place debate award in high school, public speaking scares the fire out of me … or maybe I should say scares coherent speech out of me.
Anyway, to my credit, I did not spend the rest of my night crying or feeling bad about myself. The next morning during my prayer time, I brought up the whole awful episode and received a semi full of cheese. No, that’s not right. The cheese comes later. I received a text from a lady in the group who said she noticed me seeming off (kind understatement) and wanted to check on me.
My first reaction to the text was fear. My poor verbal skills really were as bad as I had thought. Then, my thoughts moved to damage control, and I turned into my teenage self who spent years perfecting the ability to cover up her flaws with whatever sounded best. And then, in the middle of my prayer time with this text gleaming up at me, I realized something. I was running from the truth, and God wants the truth. The reason I flubbed the end of my meeting wasn’t that I was tired or empty or over meetings. It was because I wanted to say something smart and meaningful, but I didn’t know what to say.
Have you ever done that? Wanted so much to say the right thing at the right moment to help someone else (and look super smart and spiritual) but had no clue what to say? Instead of lying in reply to the text by saying I didn’t feel good or I was tired, I texted back the truth—a truth I hadn’t even realized until I got the text. My friend and I had a nice exchange, and I learned a valuable lesson.
God wants me to be like cheese. Real growth takes time, and with it comes all kinds of gross stuff. Things like my pride and fear of man. Struggles with confidence and my lack of faith. Even my busyness and failure to listen. But if I yield to him, He will cut away those things, deal with them, lead me to a deeper understanding of who He is and who He’s calling me to be. It’s freedom and a full life, and the way he gets me there will be different from someone else’s journey.
There are tons of different cheeses, and most of them take time to develop into the flavorful wonders they become. Some need to be wrapped up, others require a hard exterior, and most, at some point, develop mold on the outside that needs to be cut away or pressed into the cheese or joyfully embraced. Cheese makers know what to do to help the cheese become what it can be. And God knows what you need to help you grow, know him better, and be free. He will cut off the parts that aren’t like him, so we can be who he created us to be.
So, the point is, don’t hide the mold. It might just be what God uses to grow you into who He wants you to be. And okay, there was actually not a semi full of cheese. There was, however, a loving Father God who used his child’s pride to show her there’s a better way. (And two very clever friends on my Facebook feed. Thank you, Kathy and Raven!)