Not Quite Right

Timmy with ice cream coneThe other day, the kids and I joined Phil in the cafeteria at his work for supper. The kids got to eat their favorite foods and play on the awesome playground. To top it all off, Daddy announced that he was buying everyone frozen yogurt!

We went to the frozen yogurt shop, where everyone got to have tastes of the various kinds and then choose a yogurt (cone or cup) with whatever kind of toppings they wanted. Even Timmy got some, as I partially filled a cone with vanilla yogurt for him.

Timmy immediately began eating his yogurt, diving right into it with his entire face. He was happy as a clam. Until, apparently, the yogurt level in the cone got too low and he had to find another solution for getting the remaining yogurt out of the cone and into his mouth.

“Mommy,” one of the kids called out, “Timmy’s eating his cone upside down, and he’s really making a mess.”

Sure enough, Timmy had turned the cone upside down to get at the last few bites of yogurt. The only problem was that some of the yogurt fell out the top of the cone and all over him. He had the cone about half eaten from the bottom by the time we discovered him. He didn’t seem to be bothered by the mess dripping down his face and arm and covering his clothes. He was content with having found a way to get at the remainder of his sweet treat.

The way Timmy was eating the cone was not quite right—at least not in the traditional sense. But it served his purposes. The only problem was that it made a huge mess.

You and I sometimes try to eat our cones from the bottom too. What do I mean? Simply this: that sometimes, when something’s not happening the way it’s “supposed” to, we turn to alternate means of getting the results we want.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we need a little creativity to make things happen. The problem comes in when we choose methods that aren’t in line with the way God wants things done. We try to force things ourselves. And when that happens, we always make a mess.

When our husband doesn’t show us the sensitivity or understanding we hope for, we choose to nag him instead of pray for him and speak with him calmly. We make a mess.

When our kids don’t obey us, instead of praying and working on discipline, we yell. Messy.

When we want to feel good about ourselves, instead of seeking affirmation from God and appropriate encouragement from others, we brag. Or we tear others down verbally. Or we gossip. Messy, messy, messy.

It all depends on whether or not God wants that last little bit of ice cream to be eaten. If so, it’s okay to turn the cone upside down. But if He doesn’t—if He’s said there is to be no more yogurt for us—we dare not turn the cone upside down unless we want to make a huge mess God never intended.

Getting the things God wants by using a little honest creativity (upside down cone) is probably fine. Getting things we want but God doesn’t by using that same creativity? Or forcing things to happen that God has said no to? Not okay.

Be careful when you turn that cone upside down. Getting what you want by the wrong means is never, ever as satisfying as getting, by the proper means, what God wants you to have.

Deuteronomy 10:12—And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (ESV) (emphasis mine)

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