There are those days when even an old ciabatta bun seems like so much more than just an old ciabatta bun.
A few mornings ago, my family was busy scurrying around the house; everyone was trying to get ready for school and work all at the same time. Pam was busy trying to snuggle our sleepy two-year old adopted son and, at the same time, she was trying to bottle feed our little one-month-old foster daughter, all while coordinating the packing of lunches for our older three children, filling water bottles, and I believe she was helping our son Eli look for a lost shoe. She’s good at multitasking!
I was trying to multitask, too. I was making breakfast and ironing some clothes.
It was a stressful morning.
And that’s when it happened. My son, Ethan, pulled a gluten-free ciabatta bun out of the fridge.
I know… I know… what’s the big deal? Apparently it was the only bun left in the package and it came from the back of the fridge, which I guess made it seem suspect, so Ethan checked the expiration date. It was three months old!
Naturally, he wasn’t sure if this particular bun was worth eating. Pam told him to throw it away. I objected. An argument ensued.
Over a bun!
I know, in retrospect, it was stupid to get upset about it, but in the moment I felt so justified. Because I felt justified, I thought I was being very calm and rational, trying to explain that we usually freeze the buns after we buy them and that is why the packaging is old, but the bun is still fresh; throwing it out would be wasteful.
At least I thought I was being calm and rational. But Ethan and Pam didn’t see it that way. They claimed the bun had a smell. But I didn’t notice a smell… at least nothing a little time in the toaster couldn’t fix.
So next, I very calmly (or not) brought up the money issue, which is typical of me. And I can hear you asking, “How much can a ciabatta bun really be worth?” Well let me ask you, “Have you ever priced gluten-free ciabatta buns? They aren’t cheap!
Of course, it wasn’t really the money that bothered me. It was just a bun, after all. I just think in that moment the bun represented something bigger than just a bun. It was one of those “straw that broke the camel’s back” moments. Sometimes when life gets stressful all it takes is something small to set you off. I was a little stressed out. Things have been super busy at the church. For the last few years, I’ve been solo pastoring a rather large congregation–stressful. Covid has made ministry more complex–stressful. Being dad to three biological children, one adopted child and one foster child makes home life chaotic, at times–stressful. Plus, I had woken up that morning with a headache. My shirt was wrinkled and I had to be ironed (I hate ironing). And, to top it all off, my multitasking hadn’t gone so well that morning; I had accidentally cut my finger while making breakfast.
And that is why an old, gluten-free ciabatta bun suddenly seemed so very important.
A STUPID OLD BUN!
I hope you never have a morning like that. But you probably do from time to time.
I got to the office, sat down in my comfy chair and did my usual study of the psalms. I found a little relief in the words of Psalm 7. “O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge, save me from my pursuers and deliver me, lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver me.” I think I know what David was feeling. I may not have physical pursuers trying to get me, but life sure sometimes does feel like it’s chasing after you. And maybe it’s not just a miserable day or the last few weeks that have been rough. Maybe it’s the constant, day-to-day measuring of one trouble up against another frustration. And then a ciabatta bun goes stale in the back of the fridge and you lose it.
My study of Psalm 7 made me think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-29. “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest… rest for your souls.” And these words hit the spot!
How good it is to remember that when I feel like I’m having a miserable day, and my troubles convince me that that tomorrow won’t be any better, I can go to Jesus and put that weight on Him. He’ll carry it for me. If I struggle to complete simple tasks and even the little things in life exhaust me, I can go to Jesus with that too. Whether it’s the little things we can’t get right or the big things that exhaust us, Jesus won’t be harsh. He won’t harass us. He won’t add to our stress, chaos, failure, and hardships. Instead, he says, “Come to me…and I will give you rest.”
Today, we are half way through our 30 Days of Prayer and Purpose, and I’ve gotta say it was nice that morning –after the incident with the bun—to come to my office and spend a little time in prayer and God’s Word. It gave me the reset I needed. I can breathe easy and not stress the little stuff.
Thought to Ponder:
We can be so obsessed with doing what we think we should be doing that we miss what God wants us to do. All of us face the pressures of daily life, the constant pressure on us to produce or succeed. But there are times when we have to set aside our “to do” lists. If we don’t we will be overwhelmed. If we do, we learn that life is much more enjoyable when our main priority is making sure that we spend time with Jesus in prayer and His Word.
Dear God, I give thanks to You that I have found out about You and my Savior, Jesus, from my parents and from my pastor and teachers. I am glad I know that Jesus died for my sins and that I am saved. Keep me always happy, grateful, and humble about that, and help me to appreciate my Christian training more and more.
Of course, Lord, I do not always, at all times, show that I am glad I am a Christian. For this I am sincerely sorry. Forgive me, Lord Jesus. I do not always talk or think like a Christian. For this forgive me, Lord Jesus. Too easily I let the problems of this world stress me out and I completely let go of the joy I have from knowing You. For this, too, forgive me, Lord Jesus.
Help me to…