Today I was driving along, enjoying a nice summer day when it hit me. It was slow at first, gradual really, but then it began to take over my body and I couldn’t focus on a single other thing. My mouth started watering and I started acting strange- my mind began a one-goal mission: obtaining a Diet Coke.
It was a close call. I almost went 10 minutes craving a Diet Coke before I was in the double lanes of McDonald’s ordering my large, icy soda. At the first sip, relief came over me and all was well in the world. My craving was satisfied and so was I. So then I started thinking. When was the last time I craved or really desired something and WASN’T able to obtain it? When are my cravings left unsatisfied? How many times this summer have I wanted something (in reason) and not gotten it? I realized the answer is almost never.
My life is a compilation of Starbucks receipts, ounces of frozen yogurt, trips to Target and shoes on clearance. Being an unmarried and childless 23 year old, satisfying my cravings is easy and simple. I have the money to get coffee 5x a week and I have the time to browse the purse section at TJMaxx. I don’t need to pay a babysitter when I want to head out to happy hour for mozzarella sticks (yes preferred over any drinks) and I have no one to answer to when I need to make a last minute trip somewhere because I want to. I live alone, so when my apartment is too hot, I crank the AC until I am comfortable. When I am cold, I choose from my seven pairs of comfy lounge pants and curl up with one of the 5 pillows on my bed. I not only want comfort and instant gratification, I have come to expect it.
Obviously my life is so much more than food and shopping and even though I am constantly looking for ways to invest my time and money into others, my life still appears to be this self-fulfilling, self-satisfying mission. This saddens me. I wanted a Diet Coke earlier. No other option crossed my mind besides going to get a Diet Coke. So here I am, sipping my drink and wondering, what if I couldn’t get what I wanted anytime I wanted it? Would I still be happy? Could I make it?
This applies to every area of my life. I want immediate answers and instant resolve in my relationships and career and body and mind. If I eat healthy foods and work out for one day, I expect to be dramatically skinnier in the morning, frail even. If I spend extra time prepping lessons and working at school, I better see instant improvement in my teaching the next day. And as perfect as my relationship may look on Facebook in my beautifully edited pictures at just the right angle to make my arms look skinnier, we have issues and problems and muck to deal with. Everything isn’t perfect all the time and as much as I want us to have it all figured out, we just simply don’t. There are times me and my boyfriend are really working through something. My self-seeking, self-satisfying self wants immediate results. It has been two and a half weeks! How are these issues and things not settled and buried deep down in the ground? The fact that growth is a process is a hard concept for me. I am used to getting what I want, when I want it. I was on the phone with my best friend yesterday talking through some life stuff, and she just reminded me that if I am committed to working through something, I have to be patient and allow time for growth to happen. I can’t just acknowledge that I want something and expect it to be obtained as easily as my Diet Coke.
What an incredibly hard concept to grasp in a world where I can get anything I want at the click of a button, or any craving satisfied with the passing of a Drive thru line. There are times in my life that I need to learn to be uncomfortable in the waiting, wanting, or even needing. God never promised us comfort, so I need to stop feeling as if I am doing something terribly wrong the moment I feel uncomfortable.
While I can’t promise you I am going to swear off Starbucks or dump this Diet Coke down the drain to dramatically prove my point, I can promise that I am going to work on what it means to be patient, be in waiting, and still be satisfied. It is important to realize that growth is a process, love is work, and life is just plain messy sometimes. In this culture, that is a hard thing to grasp, but I am somehow going to learn to appreciate the uncomfortable.**
**Unless the uncomfortable can easily be cured with caffeine because the Diet Coke was simply a metaphor and I have no intentions of not drinking coffee or Diet Coke.