Carrots. Avocados. Beans. Peas. Rice. A seemingly innocuous list of wholesome foods from which our daughter was determined to keep her distance. After 6 months of witnessing what I thought must be an instinctive reflex to put everything from hand to mouth, we discovered that Hannah was able to discriminate between plastic and edible. And this was her reaction:
Hannah’s “carrot face” has been as convicting as it has been entertaining. Watching Hannah reluctantly smear her way into the world of semi-solid foods has been a daily reminder of my own hesitancy to grow in the way I should as a Christian. Paul drew on this analogy when he challenged the Corinthians to grow in unity and love towards one another. He wrote: “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” (1 Cor 3:2-3)
Recently, the Lord has been challenging me to love and serve my family. He is doing so by bringing to light the “jealousy and strife” that I harbor, revealing selfishness and entitlement. This is a painful process. I do not like to hear that I am inadequate. I like it about as much as a pile of pureed spinach. I desire to grow closer to the Lord and to be a better servant, but my natural inclination is to try do so while continuing in my “human ways.”
Milk has been good to Hannah. But if she does not branch out into wider gastronomic expanses her mono-liquid diet—once crucial for survival—will result in potentially fatal malnourishment.
(Note carrots on face, she loves them now!)
As I go through this time of uncomfortable stretching—as essential for my personal growth as it is for that of the Body of Christ–I like to think that God is watching my growth pangs and anticipating the day he can hand me a filet mignon without fear of choking hazard.
If you have been feeling stretched in your relationship with God or individuals I’d like to encourage you to persevere. And if you’re not currently feeling a particular challenge, I encourage you to ask God to reveal specific ways that you might “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18).
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.