Sounds like a snack food label, doesn’t it? Sort of like Gluten Free or Fat Free. I suppose if it’s Gluten Free, Fat Free, Lactose Free and Low Sodium that might qualify as a Guilt Free snack. But then again it’s probably Taste Free as well.
Speaking of guilt free snack foods and abundant life…the other day I was in Costco with my husband picking up just one thing. Have you ever tried to go to Costco and get just one thing? Well, that’s why I try to limit myself to one trip per week so I get everything at once because getting just one thing DOES NOT happen (can I get an amen?). Last week I managed to forget the one thing I couldn’t get through this week without.
One thing I love about Costco is that they often have interesting products that you can’t find other places, so as I go through the isles I see new things that I would like to try. The key phrase is that I would like to try them, but I have absolutely no sense of adventure, ESPECIALLY when it comes to food. I know what I like and I am perfectly willing to eat it every single day of my life.
So there I am on a Monday in Costco with my husband, who is NEVER off work on a week day and NEVER gets to go to Costco with me and whose sense of adventure extends well into the culinary realm. In other words, he is willing to try just about anything at least once and sometimes two or three times to determine if he does or does not like it.
Well, several weeks ago I spotted a snack that boasted pistachios, pomegranate seeds, dried cherries and black pepper. I have walked past that bag of snacks every week since and every week I pick it up, read the ingredients, check the weight and then check the price…15-ounces for $10.89. And every week I think, “That’s ridiculous,” and put it back, secretly dying to try it.
So as my hubby and I were cruising the snack isles I pointed out my fantasy snack and he grabs it and says, “Why don’t you get some and try it?” My jaw just about hit the floor and I heard myself say, “Do you know how guilty I would feel paying $10.89 for something I’m not sure I would even like? And it’s such a small bag?” Sometimes he just gets the craziest ideas in his head. And then he said, “Well, I’ll get it, we’ll pretend it’s for me and I’ll let you try some.”
And yes after knowing me and my version of crazy for over 26 years now, he knew that somehow that logic would work in my mind. And it did.
So…why in the world would I feel guilty about buying a snack food? (Just erase food issues from your mind, I wasn’t even going there ladies. This was all about how much it cost and how little product I felt I was getting for my money. I’ll get to food-issue-crazy another day.) Then I started thinking about other things I feel guilty about spending money on and why. Yes, I did just write a post a couple of weeks ago that included a message about there being no condemnation for those who are in Christ. I am slow.
What was there to feel guilty about? Absolutely nothing. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times in my adult life when $10.89 would have blown my weekly food budget and I remember it well. Back when my husband ran his own business and we had to pray in every single dollar and every assignment that came in…well, it makes me hyperventilate just to think back on it. The cost of that bag of snacks would have bought a week’s worth of diapers back then and it was a big deal to indiscriminately spend that much money. But not now.
Somehow though, in those LEAN years instead of seeing them as temporary struggles to count as joy, knowing that my faith was being tested and perfected to produce endurance (see James 1:2-3), I believed a lie that I didn’t deserve good things. I equated Christian living as doing without any and all forms of pleasure and fun. I resigned myself to the idea that doing without somehow made one more holy and God required it. With that mind-set, even when good things happened I couldn’t enjoy them because the guilt was too overwhelming (think everything from snacks to vacations to Christmas gifts).
Back to snack foods, abundant living and reigning in life, when Jesus said He came that we may have life and have it abundantly, I believe He truly intended for us to enjoy the good things He brings into our lives. Whether it’s a bag of our favorite snack, a nap, a vacation, our job, our relationships, our ministries, He intends for us to enter fully into each moment with Him free from guilt. Because as His children that is what we are, FREE FROM GUILT.
And now one more time let’s all say it together, out loud, just for me (the slow kid in the group):
Romans 8:1 (NASB) – “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!”