Kitchen Diaries Part 1: If you don't ask...
From the time we moved into our house, I have always wanted to change the kitchen. From the outset, I have hated certain things about it: the cracked floor tiles and the worktops which are covered in small cracked tiles, the gaps between them full of dirty and bacteria-filled grout which breeds fruit flies. I never cared for the decor either, but living simply that wasn’t something top of the priority list. Over the past four years, despite regular cleaning, we have had insects and we have had mice move in and over the summer the cockroaches took over, their babies gloating at us from behind the glass in the microwave display. Returning from Australia, the fumigators having spread their anti-cockroach gel in every corner and crack, I spent the first two jet-lagged 3am mornings trying to deep-clean the kitchen and wondered if I had just got used to living in such filth over the years or if it had really got worse over our 3-week leave from Peru.
Sometimes we get so used to living in a dirty rut it becomes normal to us. We accept life as it is and call it simplicity and being content. Before going to Australia, I always wanted to change the kitchen, but I was also thankful for a large kitchen space that was good enough. Coming back, something in me shifted and suddenly, I felt like a new kitchen was on God’s agenda now. I woke up very early one morning and all that was in my head was redesigning the kitchen. I pulled out a sketchbook - wondered if creativity and plan drawing could be part of my quiet time - realized that that was the best place to do it and asked the Holy Spirit to show me how he wanted to have the kitchen! It moved quick. I kept telling people that I felt that God would provide the money to start the next week. It was just one of those moments I just knew God would provide in that timescale. We drew up a budget, made a phone call and had the money to start!
Being out of Peru for only a short time shifted my perception on what I should accept as good enough. Not in a presumptuous way, but rather it makes me realize how often I settle for less than what God desires for me and what He would love to do. God is such a relational God, and so often there is more available if we choose to partner with Him and see things from His perspective. Sometimes God is just waiting for us to ask! As Jesus said in John 16:24: Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
If I am honest, though, there is another reason that I haven’t asked - I know that it involves a huge time of upheaval and challenges, and I have not been willing to consider those - preferring to remain with the less than satisfactory until it got desperate.
And I think that is often like my life too. It has made me wonder how often I don’t bother fighting stuff because I can’t face the transition it will take to get breakthrough. I accept the bickering with my spouse because we can live with it and still function well, and I accept the children complaining about the food they eat because I just hope they will grow out of it. I accept mediocre quiet times until I get dry and desperate and I put up with my two year old occasionally wetting himself because it requires so much effort to try and remember to take him to the bathroom every 30 minutes.
And so now I am prayerfully asking God about those challenges which seem too big to address in my life, my marriage and my children’s character and I am beginning to address them prayerfully and practically - not focusing on the obstacles and the giants in the land, but the promises God has given me. He is faithful, He will overcome all obstacles in His power and I can trust Him.
Where is God offering you the promised land and you are tempted to remain in Egypt?
What are the first steps you can take to prepare for transition?