I cried in my kitchen…yes, you read that correctly.
The other day I was in my kitchen tidying things up a bit before a short trip out of town. I wanted the kitchen to be neat and clean upon my return home so I began shelving my dishes and organizing items into their proper places. My only intent was to do “light cleaning” but as with most domestic tasks, it soon became something much greater.
You see, I have this wooden dish rack on my kitchen counter that sits to the right of the sink. Its purpose is to allow dishes to dry before placing them into them cupboard. However, due to its convenient location it has become a permanent home for many dishes and utensils. Rather than returning the items to their proper location once they’ve dried, I tend to leave them in the dish rack. Why? Because it’s just so much easier to lean over and grab a plate off the dish rack when I’m rushing in the morning, than to reach high, open the cupboard, and grab a dish.
“Ughhh…that’s so ugly”
I thought to myself. I glanced over at the wooden dish rack and noticed the ugly eyesore it had become. So, one by one, I began to grab every dish nested on its thick wooden fingers and I began to put them away. When I reached the last item, I came across a small black measuring cup that I hadn’t seen in months. The last time I saw it was 4 months ago during my homemade granola bar craze–I had a brief obsession with making granola bars from scratch that ended abruptly once I grew tired of oatmeal. Most of my meals don’t require me to measure beyond ½ cup so I hadn’t noticed its absence. Now reunited, I gazed around the kitchen to find a place to store it. I peaked into the drawer that held my other measuring cups but there was no space. Not wanting to waste time fiddling with the cup, I set it to the side and continued to clean.
The kitchen was finally beginning to look spotless but if only I could find somewhere for that little black measuring cup!
Within minutes, everything but that small cup was neatly stored and out of sight. Like a mad woman, I began opening every cupboard and drawer in my kitchen to find a place for this small cup when suddenly, I came across a cupboard full of empty space. Shocked to see an entire cabinet full of empty space, I thought “I’ve lived here over two years, how in the world do I still have an empty cupboard?” I peaked inside the cupboard a little further and noticed there was also a plastic ziplock bag laying inside, full of other household items like can openers, potato peelers and chip clips that I’d also forgotten about.
What happened next was a bit extraordinary but I began to weep when I saw that empty cupboard.
How did I not notice this large empty space?
How had I never opened this cupboard for over two years?
How had my desire for convenience and comfort caused me to overlook so many useful items?
As I stood in the middle of my kitchen crying, it was in that moment that I realized God was trying to speak to my heart.
It was greater than just being lazy and leaving dishes unattended on a wooden rack. I had become so set in my ways that I missed out on a good thing. Sometimes, we become so comfortable and familiar with a job, a person or a relationship that we too, overlook our most valuable spaces. We know the relationship is not meant for us but we want it, so we settle for what’s convenient. We know the friendship is not helping our walk with God but she’s been our friend since childhood and we don’t want the challenge of making new friends. We choose comfort over change and miss out on the things of God. We fail to understand that God longs to do new things inside of us because we’re fixated on the old and familiar things. We become comfortable.
If only we could become brave enough to move away from our comfort zone, imagine the wonders we would experience God perform in our lives. Imagine the unimaginable contracts we could land in our careers, and the healing that could take place in our heart. There’s another level of splendor and goodness that exists outside of our familiar ways and beyond our stubborn comfort zones. God is rich with more than we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20). The key to discovering those untapped empty spaces is establishing a relationship with God that allows Him to speak to us, and one that requires us to listen.
Are you in a familiar place right now?
Is there something or someone that God is nudging you to remove?
The first step is always the toughest but the journey thereafter is always worth it.
Be bold and dare to walk away from familiar people and things. Like the soldier whose courage rewards him with honor, God will reward your faith by showing you a new thing.
Scripture: Isaiah 43:19-21 (MSG)
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.”