The Real Thing

There I was, right smack dab in the middle of the new HEB. The fancy one, you know? With the sushi bar and the imported cheese. I was already feeling a little out of my element, considering I can’t even pronounce half the cheese varieties offered. But I held my head high and continued up and down the aisles as if I belonged there.

** ADVANCE FOR FRIDAY, DEC. 22--FILE **The isle of a Tallahassee, Fla., Target store is a virtual gridlock of shopping carts as customers take advantage of early store hours looking for bargains and sales, in this  Nov. 24, 2006, file photo. There's no doubt Americans are materialistic about Christmas. Almost half of all Americans crammed stores on the day after Thanksgiving this year, the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season. By the time the Christmas shopping season is over, the country will have spent in the neighborhood of $150 billion, most of it on gifts. That's an average of $500 for every man, woman and child in the United States.  (AP Photo/Phil Coale/FILE)

I got to the register and asked the lady to kindly set aside the fancy sodee-pop with a brand-name I’d never heard of, so I could drink it on my way home. I paid for my groceries, opened the soda, and before I knew it, the thing was spewing all over the register, all over me, all over the floor, creating a spectacle unlike any since the Beverly Hillbillies rolled into Beverly Hills.

Well, maybe not quite that bad.

gourmet soda And to top it all off, the high-fallutin’ soda didn’t even taste that great. I should have had a Coke and a smile, instead. So there I was, wet and sticky, my clothes and hair defiled with icky-tasting fruit-flavored soda, wondering what in the world I’d done to deserve such a thing.

On the way home, though, I got to thinking. And we all know what happens when I think and drive.

I’m not unlike that fancy soda. I want people to think I’m something special. I fix my hair and put on pretty clothes and a winning smile, and for all they know, I’m just as sweet on the inside as I try to look on the outside. But like that soda, the contents of my heart don’t always contain what I want people to believe is in there.

All too often, I hold stuff in. Nasty, vile stuff. I hold in stress and hurt and anger and disappointment . . . and all the while it’s building up pressure. Right beneath the pretty clothes and smiling face is an explosion waiting to happen, waiting to spew all over some poor unsuspecting soul who thought they were getting something good and sweet.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to keep all that junk inside. God has offered us a built-in pressure valve, in the Holy Spirit. As long as we keep coming to Him daily with our problems, our stresses, our hurts and disappointments, He promises to take them from us and replace them with His peace. He cares about us, and He wants to help us deal with the hard things in life.

 

A girl drinking a coke.  (Photo by Fernando Camino/Cover/Getty Images)

(Photo by Fernando Camino/Cover/Getty Images)

Oh, the problems don’t always disappear. But the stress, the explosive pressure seeps away when we pour out our hearts to Him. When we lay our worries at His feet, and trust Him with the results, we can relax. We can rest in His peace, and in knowing we don’t have to carry all that around inside. He’s got it. He’ll take care of it.

I’m so glad to know I don’t have to end up like that fancy soda, exploding all over people I care about, defiling them with my frustrations and fears. Instead, I can be like a good ol’ Coca Cola. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I can be the real thing.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7.

 

 

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