The milkshake was totally not what I wanted.
I realize that the opening sentence of this rings reminiscent of days at the dinner table in the Gateway cafeteria last semester, when Heather and I carefully planned and founded the Fat Kid Association. But it's true.
I didn't want that blasted milkshake. The original discussion which prompted the obligatory trip to QT consisted of me bursting into Meghan's room (oh, there's a shock) after Hermeneutics, proclaiming that the perfect formula of Dr.Pepper with vanilla and cherry add-ins was necessary for my survival. And so we went to partake of this sixty-nine cent goodness.
It was all downhill from there. Darn QT and their catch "Buy 2 for a slightly less price each" deals, prompting Meghan to look into the milkshake freezer and say, "Hey, I'll pay for two of these if you want one." And besides, there was Reese's. That was new. Also, free. Well, free as a trade-in for some Flamin' Hot Cheetos.
The decision was good at the time. It brought joy to my taste buds and there was gladness in my heart. But then, the disasterous thought occurred to me, sitting on the floor of my friend's room after a deep soul-searching conversation. The oh-so-shallow proclamation of, "Oy. I shouldn't have got the milkshake."
"Why? Did it make you sick?"
"Um, no. It's just not what I wanted. I wanted Dr.Pepper with vanilla and cherry. And I got the stupid milkshake. I got what sounded good at the time but it was totally not what I wanted. That's all."
This was followed with the typical response of, "Oh, that'll preach," the typical reply when one of us says something redundant, shallow, or stupid.
Thirst is a fascinating mechanism. I remember in tenth grade biology (also known as the last year that I was good at science before I kissed my hopes and dreams of a career in medicine bye-bye) that my teacher also happened to be the Oceanography teacher. And the swim coach. Thus, she had a slight obsession with all things aquatic and water-related. I remember sitting in her classroom, during one of my ADD episodes, reading all of the posters on her wall. One of these had facts about thirst, in particular. Weird things, that I don't even know why I remember. Things like that the thirst mechanism is so weak, that if you aren't already hydrated, you'll probably mistake it for hunger. And that your body doesn't have a store of water if you get dehydrated, like it does of fat if you don't eat. That's why you have to drink all the time. And that a lack of water will kill you faster than a lack of food. That last one is pretty standard knowledge.
Sometimes you just crave water. Like when it's nine hundred degrees in the Gateway dorm and the Lord has decided he wants to smite you, so your fan doesn't work (not drawing from current personal experience or anything). Or sometimes you just crave...something. Like a Dr.Pepper with vanilla and cherry. And the worst thing that could happen in this scenario is for you to get distracted. Because the milkshake will be good at that moment, it just doesn't have the thirst quenching capabilities that an actual liquid does, you know? And you'll end up mad at yourself because you're still ridiculously thirsty and all the water bottles are gone, so you're stuck with nasty tap water.
It perplexes me that I'm so worked up about poor drink choices, when in reality I make this poor decision daily, on a much grander and more impacting scale. I'm at Bible School, studying a subject that will lead me into a ministry doing things I love, and I came here with a thirst for God and to do something great for Him. I craved time with Him, in prayer, in the Word, all that good stuff that good Christian kids do. If I'm going to be perfectly transparent and honest, my walk with God made me, ironically enough, a little arrogant. Made me feel like I was better than other people because I didn't have a problem with my prayer time. With my Bible. Pray without ceasing? Sure, no problem. Devour the Word? Um, of course. And it becomes so easy to make it commonplace, particularly here, at a school surrounded by people that (sometimes, just in theory) follow my core belief systems. God is so integrated into all that we do that we lose that awe. I'm not saying it's a bad thing that God is integrated. Actually, that's pretty much the bomb. He should be. That makes sense, if you're here studying for ministry. Why shouldn't you get immersed in Him? But the danger of that is that it becomes so common, a way of life, that we lose the reality of just how sacred and special that relationship with Him is. We lose that craving for Him, we get distracted, and something else gets in the way. Life does.
Life is delicious. Despite some bumps in the road, I've been blessed with a pretty great one. Good family, the best friends I could ask for, and some pretty great experiences with the promise of many more in the future. And because of all this, it becomes easy to see how appealing life can be. And while it's not really bad, per se, when the distraction eclipses the thirst, it becomes a problem. After all, according to Philippians 3:14, " I pursue, looking towards the goal, for the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus." You're supposed to be pursuing your call. Losing the thirst isn't supposed to be an option. The distractions that life promise are good, fun, and not necessarily immoral or unbiblical. But if they're keeping you from your thirst and/or quenching your thirst in other ways, it's just not going to end well for you. You're going to end up down the road, on your friends floor, puzzling over why on earth you lost sight of what it is you really wanted and got the milkshake instead. It's not that it's bad. It's just not what you wanted.
And maybe it's just not what you were supposed to have.