So right now, I'm sitting to write this blog, and I'm very aware that I should really be writing an essay. Or preparing for my next Japanese class. Or helping to move furniture (our school is undergoing some serious renovations this week…) Or going to buy some kind of caffeine. To, you know, assist with these various undertakings.
Life is full just now. It's happy and fun and challenging and brimming with blessings, but it's super, super full. And I would appreciate prayers that I can find the head space and physical time to wrap this current essay up by the weekend. So close… Yet so far… That's the point in writing I'm at!
Ok, so onto today's slightly-shorter-than-usual-blog-post…
Which is about.
Now, those of you who have been to Japan before will know, that of all the great sacrifices for the gospel moving here brings, the lack of seriously good cheese is high up on the list (I am joking by the way, you have to take this slightly tongue-in-cheek…).
But good quality cheese just isn't as well loved here as in the UK.
And it's really, really, really hard to find!
You can buy loads and loads of packets and types of the slightly-weird processed cheese that comes in separated plastic wrappers… You know? The stuff that normally only makes an appearance on cheap hamburgers at youth group budget parties twice a year? But cheddar is a bit like gold dust (if you like cheddar), and camembert only comes in one variety, and I've never seen ricotta outside of an import store, and if someone ever figures out a way to send me decent brie then I could possibly (or actually definitely) love them forever!!
So yesterday, in a quest to try and confront this problem, me and some friends took a trip to the local milk and cheese factory (Oh yes. We are the definition of cool.) But we figured that if anywhere was going to provide the answer to our cheese dilemma, this would be a good starting place! Check us out….
So yeah, we had a tour in Japanese that those non-fluent-Japanese-speakers amongst us understood about 13% of… We learnt that said factory does produce cheddar, and a decent variety of camembert (and also some pretty sweet milk products, ice cream and other dairy-related-awesomeness…) And then we drank milk. And ate cheese. Like you do.
Pretty good way to kill a couple of hours if you ask me… 😉
It reminded me of the lengths that we'll go to in order to find something that we love. Not just with cheese, but other life-central products: some things are worth sacrifices. More than that, some things mean we don't even realise the level of sacrifice because we love them just that much.
Like, to drink a decent cup of earl grey tea, I will happily walk half an hour in the snow. Some people would say that was crazy-town behaviour. But I wouldn't even realise it as a sacrifice. Because I love earl grey tea that much. And the certainty of having it makes every step a joy.
Seriously. Brie. Earl grey tea. I'm one easily pleased lady.
But applying that principle to the way I approach God is a little more challenging. Especially when I think about the way in which He has already done everything to be close to us.
So often we can look at our full and busy lives and see everything as burden. We fall into it. Approaching others and opportunities and even God… With a mentally of stress, and a mentality that has us right at the centre of everything. 'I have to write this essay.' 'I have to meet this person for coffee.' 'I have to get up and pray.' 'So-and-so is so needy, but I feel like I have to meet them.' But that attitude doesn't stem from thankfulness and it definitely doesn't make every step a joy.
It doesn't love anyone or anything rightly.
And I so want to learn and grow in loving God and people rightly.
Don't get me wrong. I think we need to time manage. I think we need to work from a place of overflowing rest. But what would it look like if we were open handed towards God and others and all that we do, not seeing these things as burden, but as the sweet walk to reach the place that He always wanted us to be. The journey of change and transformation, in which Jesus sits in the driving seat and I quiet my busy mind and anxious heart enough to give Him my full attention. In which I love others with open hands, knowing that I am filled to overflowing in a way that means there will always be enough, because He is more than enough.
What if I change my mind?
What if I were to focus so much on He who is everything, that I didn't even notice the walk, because the joy of knowing Him and the certainty of His promises made every step worth it?
I want to live like that.
To be crucified with Christ, knowing that when I just let go… He can pour in the resurrection life that lifts me up…
It's funny how in that place of surrender His yoke is easy and His burden light.
There's so much more on this issue that I want to write, but I have an essay to finish and a lesson to go to. So instead, enjoy some more pictures from the cheese factory and keep in mind that we can run to Jesus because He has done everything to be close to us… 🙂