Satisfaction Guaranteed

Yesterday, Alex turned 10… We have a kid in double digits, what?! On top of that, I ate too much cake. How could I not? Like the climber who climbed the mountain, I ate it because it was there. And because I LOVE food!

Our seven year-old, Austin, is the opposite equal of me when it comes to food. He eats to live… I live to eat. I like to think about what I’ll snack on and what I’ll have for lunch while I’m eating breakfast. Meeting someone… How can we work food into this? Celebrating something… What kind of food will make the celebration better? Road trip… What kind of snacks will I take, and where will I stop to get something for a meal?

I wouldn’t say I’m addicted… I think I control it pretty well. Of course I love sweets and crunchy snacks, but most of the time, I am just as happy to eat PR31’s roast, carrots and potatoes… or a plate of sliced bananas and berries with little honey drizzled over them. Okay, I may have to take a break while writing this blog.

Of course, if I eat something, then I get thirsty. And my beverage of choice is strong, black coffee throughout most of the day. Except when I’m hot and tired from exercising or working in the yard… or when I have something salty to eat. Then I crave water. Cold, clean, refreshing H2O, baby. Nothing else quenches thirst like water.

Hunger and thirst are cravings which are part of our existence as humans. They some of our deepest, most basic needs. Give me food and water, my life is a lot happier.

But there are desires in each of our hearts which long to be satisfied. They are much deeper than what job we will do or even who we will marry. They even surpass my… I mean, our… cravings for food and water.

We all long to belong. We crave to be loved. We deeply desire to be wanted. We each need to know we have purpose and meaning.

Too often, we try to satiate these deep longings with surface supplies. We feel our heart rumble for love, and we turn to a human. We feel parched in our soul to belong, and we join a club.

Yet these deep-seated desires and cravings can only truly be fulfilled by One Person. In Psalm 145:16, we read that when God opens His hand, He satisfies the cravings and longings and desires which reach out from deep within us to find fulfillment.

Stop and ask yourself right now… What is it that I really long for? I’ll hazard a guess that… if you’re truly honest with yourself and God… it’s much deeper than the simple requests we make of Him for finances or fiancées. And if we will ask Him to see those cravings, He will open His hand to satisfy them. And when we get real with Him about those longings, He never lets us down.

So, whether you choose watermelon or apple pie as we head into this midsummer celebration of our freedom here in the good ol’ US of A over the next week, let each scrumptious bite remind you that there is One who is ready to open His hand and satisfy the deepest desires of your heart. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Now, maybe Austin has left something I can snack on…

Messy Workshops

PR31 does an amazing job of keeping our home clean. The truth is, though, we live in it. It’s not a showroom… It’s a test track for life. It’s not a display… It’s a research and development lab where we are being mixed and tested.

Were you to walk into our kitchen… where my sweet wife basically makes every meal from scratch… you’d discover that we always have dishes to wash. Before the dishwasher gets finished washing, more are waiting to go in. Sometimes, you might find spices or olive oil sitting on the counter with the coffee maker and bread machine. The kitchen table often holds the boys’ craft projects and our Etsy store products in various stages, along with a beautiful centerpiece. Life happens there. We get stuff done there. So it’s not always spotless.

Now, lest you think I’m throwing PR31 under the bus, all you have to do is walk out the kitchen door into the garage, which holds more bicycles than it does cars, and which I have almost successfully converted into a woodworking shop. (It is not uncommon to see our minivan sitting outside the garage so that we have room to work.) No matter how frequently I sweep the floors (and walls) and pick up all the scrap pieces, there is sawdust everywhere. Even though we try to keep it neat with a crate for reclaimed wood, a small stack of lumber under an 8-foot table, more stacks of smaller, usable scrap pieces placed on the two lower levels of the workbench along with hand tools, and paint drop cloths folded in a stack, it never seems fully clean and neat. I don’t always wrap the cords up neatly at the end of every day because I know I’ll be right back out there tomorrow, working with those same tools again.

But it is a workshop. It’s not designed to show off tools. There are stores and websites for that. Instead, this is where the beauty that was once an idea becomes reality. Beautiful results can come out of messy workshops. In fact, they often do. Painters’ studios have splatters. Flower shops have clippings. Automakers’ production facilities have metal shavings and grease.

We all see the finished works… the gorgeous arrangement… the piece of art… the furniture in the showroom… the delicious-looking meal set on the table in the restaurant… the flipped house on the TV show… the sleek vehicle on the commercial… and we fail to notice the messiness it took to produce that thing of beauty.

And sometimes we do the same with our lives… or the lives of those we know. We want to see a finished product. We want to see a piece of art. We want to see it all dusted off, trimmed, adjusted, placed in perfect lighting and accented to highlight its magnificence, but we fail to notice that life was produced in messy workshop.

We can each produce beautiful results from the messy workshops of our lives. We can impact others positively. We can bring things out that others could not see. We can bring flavor and excellence to the table. But it might be a messy process. Before the beauty, there may be some bumps. We might make a little mess getting to the finish line.

That’s okay. Solomon said in Proverbs 14:4, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” In other words, you can have a neat, clean, pretty little life that everyone oohs and ahhs at, but in order to truly get anything accomplished which benefits others and you, there’s probably going to be a mess to be cleaned up from time to time.

I say all this to tell you not to get discouraged today if the workshop of your life looks like a mess right now. Something beautiful and wonderful is being crafted in you. It won’t be long and you will be generating more amazing results than ever. People will look at what you produce and stand in awe. There may be pots and pans, or sawdust and scraps all over the place right now, but don’t let that get you down. That just means there is some serious work going on, and something beautiful is being made.

For the record, we ought to remember this when it comes to the lives of those around us as well. Their lives may look messy at the moment, but let’s give them a chance to see what kind of beauty they can bring out of that mess. We can help sweep up layer. Let’s cheer them on now.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some woodworking to get to out in the workshop… I mean, garage… today. And maybe PR31 will still feed me something after this post. 😉

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