Taste & See

 

Ice cream. I don’t care if you’re lactose intolerant, on a sugar-free diet, or more of a “salty person;” I don’t care who you are; every red-blooded-American loves ice cream.  The fact that in 2015, consumer spending on ice cream was an estimated $12.2 billion dollars proves this.[1] One of the best parts about ice cream is going to get ice cream; going to the ice cream shop and seeing all of the flavors under the glass. But more so than looking at the variety of colors on display, there’s that blessed moment when the shop clerk offers you a handful of mini spoons and let’s you taste them.

I am in an interesting season of life. On all accounts it is a good season filled with blessings and provision.  I’m just over 7 months out of a capital campaign where I was able to raise support to record three new albums, all of which have officially been recorded now, and 2 have already released so far this year.  I have been spending the majority of my time lately doing my favorite thing: creating. Last month I recorded the Christmas EP I’ll be releasing later this fall, finished writing for a gospel album for an Arkansas-based singer, and just 2 weeks ago I released my second praise and worship album, More. Additionally, I’ve been given many opportunities to travel and lead worship at various churches and organizations. I also have a thriving business teaching voice lessons and other instruments. Teaching provides me many opportunities to mentor youth and simply encourage others on a daily basis of the gifts God has given them so that they have the confidence to use these gifts to their potential. All of these things bring fulfillment and give me a sense of purpose, knowing that God is using me to leave a mark on this world and point others toward Him.

God is really blessing me.

What’s fascinating about this season I’m in is, like everyone, I still have daily struggles. I still battle insecurities, temptations, and fears. So I’ve been challenging myself lately with how I can maybe get a little bit more radical in my prayer life and get this point of waking up every morning with a sense of pure, God-given joy.

As I reflect on this, what I find the most fascinating is that being in a season of blessings and “mountain top” experiences is…uncomfortable. Over the course of my life I feel as though I have truly walked through more valleys than mountaintops, so the mountaintops frankly freak me out. I don’t know how to camp atop them without the fear that sooner or later something will knock me off my ledge and I’ll roll right down that hill into a valley again. It's like a fear of heights. This attitude is a pretty skewed view of the way our Heavenly Father deals with us. Yes, He does allow valleys and dark seasons to shape us, mold us, build character and perseverance in us, to make us look like Him so that we may be used by Him, but that doesn’t mean He can’t also use our mountains as well.

I’ve observed, especially in my own life, that when we don’t trust God on the mountain, we easily become what I like to call anxious “mountain-hoppers,” dissatisfied with the mountain we are on, desperately trying to climb to a higher one, further away from that valley we left in our wake. This leads to discontentment and dissatisfaction with the blessings God is providing. It doesn’t matter what it is, because we don’t trust it and we still want more.

But what I keep coming back to in my prayer time and Bible reading is…God wants me to enjoy the mountain I’m on. Heck, He wants me to celebrate it. He wants me to take a look around and gaze at the scenery and breathe it in. He wants me to gaze upon the sunset in all its brilliance at that angle, smell the flowers that only bloom at that altitude, and appreciate it all.

Not only does He want me to enjoy these mountaintop gifts He’s given, He wants me to enjoy Him.

This past week the Lord brought me back to a verse I’ve read many times in the Psalms which simply states: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”[2]

Taste.

Meriam Webster puts it: "to have perception, experience, or enjoyment:  partake —often used with of"[3]

So often we approach the Throne of Grace with a grocery list of “needs” and requests, like a whiny kid begging for an ice cream cone, that we just skirt over the part of prayer that should simply look like enjoying Him and basking in His goodness.

As I read Psalm 34:8 God gave me a visual of an ice cream shop, and God handing out miniature spoons saying, “Taste and see that I AM good!”

The way we find contentment and joy, whether in the valley or on the mountain, is keeping our focus on Him. The altitude, scenery, and circumstances will always change, but He never will.  His goodness remains.

If I can encourage you of anything, I want you to approach your prayer time this week with a thousand little spoons, focusing on every facet of God’s goodness. Taste His kindness. Taste His love. Taste His compassion. Taste His mercy.

Go ahead, grab a spoon, and taste and see that the Lord is good.

 

Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." - Nehemiah 8:10

[1] http://www.researchamerica.org/advocacy-action/research/research-takes-cents

[2] New International Version. Psalm 34:8

[3] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taste

Kayla BaileyComment