I ate hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I was growing up, because I was that picky kid who turned up her nose at everything put on the table.
Then one time I came down with a nasty head cold. I made myself the usual PB&J, but it tasted horrible. My stuffed up nose and inability to smell ruined the culinary experience, and I ended up throwing the sandwich away, after taking only a few bites.
That yucky PB&J would have a significant impact on my spiritual life years later…
One day I read John’s words to the followers of Christ:
Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. (1 John 2:15 NIV)
I loved the things that belonged to the world.
Every day I would stand in front of my closet and long for new clothes. I was constantly thinking about how to get new jewelry. I had a mental list going of things I wished I could add to my house decor. But how do you change those driving desires within you?
I thought about how much I had loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, until one day I hated them, so I turned that experience into a prayer.
Lord, please help clothes and jewelry and house stuff taste like a PB&J to a girl with a head cold. Change the flavor of these things in my heart, so that I turn up my nose at the mention of them.
I wanted the things of this world to taste…
After praying that prayer for a while, I found myself in Target looking at the cheerful colors of the spring dishes in the housewares section (always a weak spot for me). For a brief moment the love for pretty dishes was strong. Could I only be happy if I were to own these? But then came the flat-PB&J feeling, an experience deep in my heart of knowing the dishes on the shelves had beautiful colors but offered nothing to satisfy my soul. In that moment the Devil’s salesmanship crashed into God answering my PB&J prayer.
I have a friend who lost her sense of smell, so most foods have little flavor for her. When other people are raving about the smell and taste of something, she has no reaction.
It’s kind of weird to step out of caring about stuff. But when I walk around the house these days I don’t desire to add anything to it. I have no feelings for acquiring new jewelry anymore. I will admit that the pull to new clothing still wafts across my heart on a regular basis. I’m still praying to care less about that one, but I’ve come a long way.
What do you love in the world, absolutely love and feel like you have to have? And what if God were to take away the flavor of it and fill your heart with something more rich and lasting?