…But Do I Deserve It?

Welcome  I spent some time in March working through a Self-Love Challenge.  The goal was to start thinking more positively about myself and where I am in my life right now, ultimately leading to peace and contentment.  Yeah, I’m still working on that, but the challenge was still beneficial, as self-reflection often is, leading to a better understanding of ourselves and gratitude for people and things around us.  One prompt presented me with this question:  What is something I am working on that I believe I really deserve?  Wow!  In a society filled with people that think they deserve everything and we “owe” it to them, this question made me kind of uncomfortable.  What could I possibly deserve?

Food For Thought  I want many things from my life.  Some things are simple or necessary, others would simply make me feel happy, if only for a little while.  But do I deserve any of them?  To be deserving of something, means I am worthy.  Let’s face it, most days I feel pretty unworthy!  During that 30-day challenge, I believe this may have been the hardest question I had to answer.  It was a question I felt nervous about, wondering if there was a “right” answer.  As a Christian, I wondered if it was a question I was even meant to answer.  It was hard, too, because I know there have been times when I have thought more of myself than I should or times when I was envious of someone who got something I felt I “deserved.”  This is that valuable self-reflection I’m talking about.  Before I even attempted to answer the prompt for the day, I was learning a lot about who am I and the type of person I want to become.  I also know that the feeling of being undeserving balances on a fine line between being humble and self-loathing, or at least at can for me sometimes.  So did I answer the question?  Yes, I answered as honestly as I could for where I was on that day in the middle of March.  Here is what I wrote in my journal that day:

I guess I deserve whatever God feels I deserve, but the question references something that I’m working on that I believe I deserve.  I know I’m sure trying really hard to make this blog and book writing thing work out.  I’m investing a lot of time and money and heart and soul into these projects, hoping to achieve some level of success in these areas.  Only God knows where this will lead and how it will all turn out in the long run.  I just pray I’m not spinning my wheels and wasting my time.  I pray that my efforts have a purpose and that I will accept whatever that purpose may be.  I’d like to think I deserve these things, but ultimately, that is up to my heavenly Father.

I can see how easy it is to begin believing I deserve things because they are important to me.  It’s easy to feel like I deserve something when I see it as part of God’s plan and vision for my life.  It’s easy to feel like I deserve something when I personally know how hard I’m working to achieve it.  It’s easy to feel like I deserve something when I think my motives are pure.  But all of these feelings I may have are clouded by my imperfect human spirit.  It would be impossible to view everything clearly through a God-lens, as I’m not given that level of power.  So when it comes time to say I deserve it, I just don’t know.  I’ve made claims like that before in my life…I deserve a to find a good man to marry.  I deserve to have peace and support in my job.  I deserve to be rewarded for all the hard work I do.  I deserve to experience God’s blessings because I’ve been “good.”  These were arrogant claims that led to hard lessons…lessons in patience, humility, and a new dependence on God in all circumstances.  At the same time, I’ve been blessed by God, with so much more than I probably deserve, but also with things I thought I might have deserved.   So, for now, I have decided to trust God to handle what’s “deserved” in my life.  Will I still desire and want things?  Absolutely.  Do I still need to work hard to get the things I want?  Yes.  But releasing the idea of what’s deserved by myself or others takes away some worry and stress, allowing more peace and calm to come into my life.  And I’m willing to say we all deserve a little more peace in our lives!

Today’s Scripture  In my contemplation of what is deserved and how the Lord makes these determinations, I found myself reading chapter 103 in the book of Psalms.  This passage had me thinking about how grateful I am that God gives us what we deserve, but also spares us what we may deserve, regarding our sinful nature.  It’s really interesting to think about how God can determine and provide all the good things we need or deserve in our life, while extending grace and mercy to withhold punishment we may also deserve.  Can you spot both characteristics in this passage?

Psalm 103:6-18  “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.  He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.  The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.  But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children–with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”

Today’s Recipe  You may have noticed this week that I’m trying to make cool treats, as we are experiencing an early season “heat wave.”  You can check out the Sugar Free Strawberry Frozen Yogurt or Low Fat Nutella Ice Cream Bars here.  Or you can enjoy today’s simple Vanilla Mini-Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies, a sweet and inexpensive treat that even the kids can make.

Vanilla Mini-Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies
Just 3 ingredients! Make a few or make a lot! Easy enough for kids to make themselves! Inexpensive! Cool sweet treat for a hot summer day!

 

Vanilla Mini-Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

Make as many as you want and pop into the freezer for when you want a quick and cool snack!  You need an inexpensive box of vanilla wafer cookies, a carton of vanilla ice cream, sprinkles in your favorite summer colors, plastic wrap, and disposable plates.

Allow ice cream to soften just slightly so that it’s easy to scoop.  Pour sprinkles on a disposable plate.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out some vanilla ice cream and place on one vanilla wafer, top with second vanilla wafer, and squeeze gently to get the ice cream to the edges of the cookies.  Quickly rolls the edges of the cookie sandwich in the sprinkles so they stick to the outside of the ice cream.  Place cookie sandwiches on another disposable plate.  Repeat this process until the desired number of cookie sandwiches are made.  Wrap plate of cookies in plastic wrap and place in freezer to firm up the ice cream, about an hour.  Cookie sandwiches will keep in freezer, wrapped in plastic, for about a week.

Note: While making the cookie sandwiches, you may notice melting of the ice cream.  When this happens, wrap up what you already have made and get into the freezer ASAP.  Continue making desired number of cookie sandwiches and place on additional plates.  These plates stacked easily in our freezer, since I had to use two plates when I made 18 of the cookie sandwiches.