Empty supermarket shelves, low water pressure, uncollected bins… turns out we are not built for snow in this part of the world!
We ran out of bread and milk and apparently everyone had the same idea because we couldn’t get either for a couple of days and all the long-life milk had gone too. Walking around a big supermarket and seeing aisle after aisle of empty shelves was pretty humbling. We take so much for granted in this country. Or at least I have realised that I do.
I never stop to think that I might not be able to get what I want from the store. Usually I can get everything I need. In this day and age we can order things at the click of a button. I rarely stop to appreciate the blessing it is to get the essentials and the luxuries at a shop just down the road. And the choice. There is so much choice. My friend spent a year in Uganda and said she only had two flavours of crisp to choose from. Coming back to the UK, she found it really hard to make decisions in the supermarket because she was not used to not having the choice. I take it all for granted.
That wasn’t the only thing. Last night our water pressure dropped in the area where I live which meant the toilet didn’t flush properly and the taps were a bit slower. It made me stop to think that I never really appreciate the toilet which gets rid of the waste, the taps that allow for good hand hygiene and provide water to drink from. I take it for granted.
Seeing the uncollected bins lining the pavements made me realise what the environment could look like if there was nobody to collect it. It would pile up higher and higher. Bin bag after bin bag. The smell and the sight it would create is not something I want to think about. Every week or so, the bins are faithfully collected by the council. I take it for granted.
When did I get so comfortable? There are people throughout the world where living like this is the norm – actually, the circumstances are far worse than I describe. No food. Poor hygiene and sanitation. No running water. Nowhere for the waste to go.
In the West, we live comfortably and have a sense of entitlement to these comforts. It’s the norm and what we expect if we have lived here all our lives. I am very thankful for these provisions, but the last couple of days really made me think about how much I take for granted and the circumstances weren’t even that bad.
I have really felt the words of Jesus pierce into my heart this week where He says:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
Denying ‘self’. It’s a call to surrender. I want to be open-handed and hold everything in my life lightly. I do not want to live a moment longer with a sense of ‘deserving’ something. I want to say no to ‘self’. This doesn’t mean I am suddenly going to stop shopping, flushing the loo or leave the rubbish everywhere. Nor does it mean I cannot be thankful for the good things around me and the blessings I encounter. I desire to bring everything to the Lord with open hands and an open heart.
It’s certainly an adventure being a Christian and it’s not meant to be comfortable. C.S. Lewis once said:
“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
I have been a Christian for many years now and it certainly has been an adventure. Highs and lows. Times when God has felt so close and times when I have felt like I have struggled through. Yet, as each day goes by I find myself wanting to draw nearer and nearer to God on this adventure. How about you?
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
One guy who is no stranger to a life of adventure and denying himself the comforts of life is Bear Grylls. However, he tells of an adventure that surpasses all of the thrills, chills and crazy encounters he has been on.
If you are reading this and want to chat more about why I am pursuing this adventure or you want to find out more about anything I have shared, I would love to talk to you more! Comment below or contact me on the contact page or social media! 🙂