“Ugh,” I groaned as I felt the wet, gooey pumpkin batter spray my face and my glasses.
I surveyed my arms, my feet, my shorts, my shirt, and my sandals.
Orange blotches splattered my once-clean clothing. Not only that, I discovered that the pumpkin batter had catapulted to the counter, the coffee machine, the coffee grinder, and the floor.
What should have been a simple endeavor of mixing up the first round of pumpkin cake ingredients of sugar, eggs, oil, pumpkin, had morphed into a sticky, ooey–gooey sight.
“Ugh” was right.
I paused my pumpkin cake preparations to clean up the kitchen a bit and change my clothes.
As I set back to work on the cake, there were no more mishaps. It baked up just fine and I was gratified that it made a nice welcome home gift to my husband last night.
I’m not sure what caused the pumpkin batter to launch from the mixing bowl. The mixing speed wasn’t any higher or lower than normal. Yet, for some reason, the batter spun about so quickly that it couldn’t help but escape the confines of the bowl and onto me, the counter, the floor, and other of my kitchen appliances.
Now, sometimes, curious life events such as my pumpkin cake mixing fiasco, stir up deep thoughts within me.
A thought and conviction spun up in my heart and mind.
The joy and contentment I experience in relationship with my God needs to spill over and splat upon others in my life.
Really? That’s what I’ve come up with?
Stay with me now…
Shouldn’t we, as transformed people in relationship with Jesus Christ, be so joyful, so content, and so at peace that our joyful gratitude permeates not only in and through our lives, but also into the lives of others?
The Holy Spirit is mixing up great soul-filled gifts for us – joy, kindness, peace, goodness, forbearance, gentleness, faith, modesty, self-control, and contentment – that need to not only bless and encourage us but bless and encourage others.
Such pleasantries are discovered and experienced in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
New International Version, Psalm 16:11
Not only that, but our peace, our provision, and our purpose are fulfilled as we seek out the Lord and experience His guidance and care. In the safe, abiding refuge of the Lord, we find contentment.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
New International Version, Psalm 34: 8-9
Don’t we, our families, our friends, our workmates, and even the acquaintances we meet about town need to see, experience, and relish this sustaining and fulfilling joy and contentment we have in Jesus Christ?
How do we get some of that? How do we live more into that?
In my mind, just as my pumpkin batter was mixed up so strong and so powerful that it couldn’t be contained in the bowl, I believe the Holy Spirit is mixing up our joy and contentment to a powerfully strong and impactful level that it also has the potential to be too much for our hearts to contain as well.
Joy was always meant to be shared.
Contentment is a soul-satisfying gift we can offer in Christ, too.
His care and companionship empower us to be generous with our love, to be lavish with our joy, and to be open-handed with our kindness. So much so, that spreading the joy and contentment we find in Christ as far and as wide as we can is truly what we were meant to do.
Unless, we don’t.
Unless, we don’t let the love, the grace, the goodness, and the contentment we have in Christ spill forth from our lives, because instead, there is another kind of ooey-gooey mess that we’re allowing to gurgle and spurt from our thoughts and behaviors.
We’ve seen this kind of vitriolic spew erupt quite a bit in recent days, months and years. Need an example?
What happened inside of us when we saw that the forty-third President of the United States sat next to a popular actress and television talk show host at a professional football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers? We viewed a shared photo that they smiled together. It appeared that they laughed together. They most likely talked and shared anecdotal stories with one another, too.
What was our reaction?
Did we care?
Did we make it a point of conversation with others in person, on Facebook, Twitter, or in a blog post?
What spilled out of us?
This pair of football fans even became a talking point during the Democrat Presidential candidates’ debate this week.
We’re debating whether it’s okay for people to watch a football game together?
Did love, affirmation and grace gush from our hearts or did criticism and condemnation ooze from our lips instead?
What comes out of us, whether it splatters, spills, pours, or erupts – matters.
Jesus warned us:
But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts….
New International Version, Matthew 15: 18 – 19a
I believe that we, as followers of Christ, must do better.
In the words of Dr. Seuss:
As I shared, we have the gloriously powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit within us! These abiding gifts are meant to abound in our lives – joy, kindness, peace, goodness, forbearance, gentleness, faith, modesty, self-control, and contentment.
What is spilling out from us?
What do people see, hear, and experience when they are with us?
Are they blessed?
Are they encouraged?
Are they inspired with hope?
What is pouring out from us with each interaction we have with our family, our friends, and our wider sphere of influence?
Orange splotches of pumpkin batter remind me to live into the gifts of joy and contentment that I have in Christ.