Greetings everyone; Rob here. I normally avoid cooking shows on TV. I mean, you can’t taste the food or smell it so what’s the point? However, I found myself idly watching one on Saturday evening. It’s called The Free-Range Cook and the host not only grows her own healthy, organic food; she also cooks it perfectly and hosts the most amazing dinner parties in a stunning, tranquil outdoor setting. She does this without a single hair falling out of place or a bead of sweat dropping from her brow. She is Wonder-Woman without the outfit – maybe next season!
Apart from selling her cookbooks the show was also selling something else – a lifestyle for us to covet. A lifestyle that on the surface is happy and serene; far removed from the fast-paced, preservative-filled, microwaved, urban ratrace that we supposedly live in. Now, while I would happily go to one of her dinner parties and wholeheartedly support anything that gets us back to a healthier, more natural way of living, I couldn’t help but wonder at our determination to find external solutions to internal problems.
You see the problem is that we lack peace, stillness, serenity and joy internally, not externally. We allow the busyness of life to dictate to us instead of coming at life from a heart that is truly centred in our identity in Christ. Listen to this prayer of Pauls as he prays for the church at Colossae:
“We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul- not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” (Colossians 1:10-12, The Message)
If life is a grind for you then escaping to the countryside to grow organic vegetables is probably not the answer. It starts with the heart, as it always does. But it’s not easy and there is no quick-fix. You simply must get away with Jesus and open your heart up to his heart.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, the Message)
Sure, getting out into the countryside may be what your heart needs; so might eating more vegetables and having a dinner party with friends, but it doesn’t start there. It starts with stopping, breathing and inviting Jesus to restore you to him from the inside-out. It starts with intentional time set aside for you and Christ to re-connect, re-calibrate and renew what really matters; our relationship with him. As Paul says, “Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” (Colossians 3:11, NLT)