So this summer I spun a lot of salad.
Every day in the dining hall, the staff of Camp Lurecrest goes through tremendous amounts of lettuce at the salad bar. And all that lettuce has to be washed and spun. It’s a long and laborious job, and no. one. likes doing it. It’s not fun like cutting pineapples or making chicken sandwiches. It’s just a pain.
And I did it almost every other day. If there wasn’t something else to be doing, I’d ask Nate if the lettuce needed to be washed and he’d say yes, so I’d head to the fridge ["Jordan" is her name ] and grab out a few bags. And I hated it the whole time, but I got really good at it.
I was thinking about washing that lettuce the other day, and about frying the french fries and making eggs [all jobs no one likes]. I would, almost without fail, volunteer to do them daily, even though I hated them.
Because I knew I was loved.
Now stay with me for a bit. This summer was a summer of soaking in God’s love, of resting in the gospel, of joy in friends and life and Jesus. I woke up daily aware of God’s presence and my desperate need for Him. There were questions I had and feelings I had that I didn’t talk to anyone about except Him. I would take my hopes and fears and desires and throw them on Him at every moment, and in return I experienced an assurance of His love.
So when it was time to volunteer for those awful kitchen jobs, I volunteered. After all, He was loving me so well, why not love the other cooks well? And I had such satisfaction in Him that even when I was doing things that were uncomfortable or unpleasant I was filled with joy. So I grew to love putting myself last and volunteering to go get the lettuce and cut it. Not because Sarah is so good and unselfish, but because the gospel destroys my unselfishness.
I haven’t spun lettuce in awhile.
Actually I did it a week ago when I made hot and spicy tofu, but it was dumb because I should have just washed my little lettuce by hand. But as I was spinning it in a normal-sized salad spinner, my mind flashed back to camp. And I realized that I’ve pretty much been doing things that make me comfortable.
Yes, I unload the dishes every once in awhile, but that’s more because I feel guilty if my roommate does it all the time and I don’t. I’ll pick up my room when I don’t feel like it and I’ll grade when I don’t, but that’s out of obligation and not joy.
So I’m going to run a half marathon [13.1 miles]. I start training tomorrow.
Really I’m terrified, because I lack mental toughness and that’s what running half marathons is all about. I don’t want to fail, I don’t want to under-train, and most of all I don’t want to spend my free time and free energy running. I’d rather come home, put on a record, and watercolor. All. Day. Long. This life isn’t about my happiness and comfort, however. And if I only do things that are easy and comfortable, what good is that? I read Proverbs 14.23 yesterday – “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.“
More important than fighting my selfishness is seeing Jesus. The reason I’m not dying to myself here and not doing hard things for the glory of God is because I’m not soaking in the love of God. I’m not soaking in all that is mine in Christ. I’m not resting in the forever-finished work on the cross. I’m not throwing my heart and emotions and hurts and fears on Him. I’m turning inward or going to friends or frittering away my time on useless things.
So those many, many hours of training will be useful because I can spend them in focused and intentional meditation on Christ and all that is mine in Him – all the “blessings in the Beloved”.
I’m telling you, friends, because I hate to fail. And if I tap out or give up because I’m selfish, I want my sin to be evident so I can’t excuse it. And if I successfully do this, I want it to be clear that it is only Jesus. May running this half-marathon be as fruitful as spinning salad.
Love you all
[P.S. It's March 3rd]