It's been a busy few months. So busy that today, I must confess, Jesus is a car park.
Yesterday, Jesus was the last drips of milk in the bottom of the bottle.
Last week, Jesus was the winning goal I had to make in my netball game.
I'm going through one of those times where I've turned Jesus into a magician to provide, quite simply, the most urgent thing I need at that moment.
This morning I needed a car park in town for an appointment and the streets were crazy. And so the praying began.
'Please Jesus, I just need a car park. Please, just give me a car park'.
When no car park appeared, the apologies began.
'I'm sorry, Jesus, that I haven't made much time for you recently... but please don't punish me right now! I just need a car park!'
And voilÃ , a car park appears.
'Thanks Jesus, you're awesome. I promise I'll make time for you later'.
And off I go about my day.
Yesterday, the same scenario played out, except the urgent need of the moment was a few drops of milk for my coffee.
In fact, this scenario has played out too many times in the last few weeks. It's interesting how I suddenly want to talk to Jesus, just when I need something.
I spend panicked moments wishing I had more coins to put in the Jesus vending machine. I feel regret that I didn't store up some more spiritual brownie points so I could negotiate with Jesus to return the favour.
I can see patterns of this behaviour in the past. At those times, during communion at church on a Sunday morning, I have a few moments where I quickly confess my lukewarm attitude toward Jesus, and promise to do better. Then I gulp down my 'Jesus biscuit' like it's a magic potion, with every intention of fulfilling my promise. It doesn't always happen.
I am the bonus round
In the Bible, Jesus says he is a lot of things. He says, 'I am...'
- The bread of life
- The light of the world
- The door
- The good shepherd
- The resurrection and the life
- The way, the truth, and the life
- The true vine
But nope, Jesus never mentions being a vending machine, a magician, or an extra bit of sauce on the side. He's not the bonus round in this game called Life.
When I get overwhelmed with busyness, I stop keeping Jesus at the centre. As my focus shifts, I lose peace, which makes me feel even busier. Then Jesus becomes simply an insurance policy in my drawer to provide for my soul after death, and occasionally gets dragged out to masquerade as a car park or a biscuit.
The guilt and regret starts, which leads to even less peace, which creates more busyness.
It's a cruel circle and a noisy merry go round, with bells and whistles screaming.
Get off the rollercoaster
Am I really living? Is this crazy ride really a life I want?
Jesus says the two most important things in live are to love God and to love my neighbour (Luke chapter 10, verses 25â28). There's no time for loving anyone when I'm riding the rollercoaster.
It's time for me to get back into the lazy river, to put Jesus at the centre, and focus on loving him. The challenge will be to keep him at the centre when the next wave of busyness hits.
But I have the best example to follow. When the waves of busyness hit Jesus, he went off alone to pray (Luke chapter 5, verse 16), and he instructs us to do the same (Matthew chapter 6, verse 6).
So raise your glasses to this: It's time to stop treating Jesus like a biscuit.
Claire Debrois grew up in Feilding, NZ, and holds a communications degree in public relations from Massey University. She lives with her husband in Wellington and works in account management for a web design company. She enjoys keeping fit and active, and is a field engineer in the Army Reserves.