Carrots and Lasers
My cat and I were enjoying a game of laser pointer.
With little effort, I would lead him on wild and convoluted chases of the illustrious red dot as he wound through table legs, topped sofa cushions, and barreled down the hall. When his panting was sufficient, I would call a time out and we would rest. But soon, he was looking for the elusive object again, and I was all too happy to accommodate. A flick of my wrist and he scrambled onward in his never-to-be satisfied quest.
I recently read on a cat website that some people think laser pointers are cruel and should be taken off the market. They contend that the poor kitty never has the satisfaction of catching his prey, which is a reward in nature. Instead, the laser pointer can only cause him frustration and torturing disappointment.
That thought had never occurred to me. Slowly, a thought I had been entertaining about my own life began to emerge. I started to see that all my life, I have been waiting for a “dangling carrot,” just like that red dot. I was taught and believed that “more,” “better” and “greater” were out there just waiting for me. If I could just “believe” for it, it would be mine. I was taught to value future attainment – which is quite the opposite of the here and now. My well-intentioned Christianity had left me dangling.
True, it was not the obvious consumerism and narcissism that plagues society in general, like the lust for more things or more money. It was a far more subtle, prophetic futurism that promotes a dissatisfaction with the now. It was a belief that my spiritual life is never good enough, or grand enough, or perfect enough to satisfy. I was waiting for the perfect “revival,” the most awe-inspiring worship, the most worthwhile ministry, or some sort of unattainable maturation of myself to “succeed” in Christian terms. I could not accept myself otherwise.
While I think the prophetic has a noble and appropriate place, I think we are too easily led astray from the joy that is “today.” God has made today fine in itself. There is enough love, enough joy, enough revelation, enough wonder, enough kindness right in front of us. Better yet, it is right inside of us because He is living within me! How sad to think I cannot just bask in the awe of life in which I find myself today. The sun is shining outside my window. There are birds in the trees and paths in the nearby forest where my feet can wander. I can laugh with friends, hug my husband, and gather with family around my kitchen table. I can fellowship intimately with God face to face right now. Jesus really did do it all to bring us back to an Eden in Him and He has given it to us. I have inherited everything I need to be happy right now. It’s not that complicated.
I am returning to basics. I am enjoying the gift of life I have been given today. That joy is a laser-pointed focus for which I need no batteries.
Bess Rhoades is in awe of the wonder of life. She is a writer and speaker living in Charlotte, NC with her husband, Roy. She has worked for many major international ministries, served as United States Senate staff (back when it was respectable), and done a wide range of writing, consulting media, and marketing. Her clients ranged from medical experts on addiction to the founder of Nascar. Nothing impresses her more than the finished work of the Cross.
You can find her on her husband’s website, treasuresofjoyministries.com
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