By the time we rolled out of the church parking lot yesterday, it was 56 degrees and sunny, this is rare on a February day in Michigan. Evidently, I was not the only person who needed a rotisserie chicken for lunch and decided making a quick Costco run might be a nice way to get out for a bit.
I pictured getting my three people out of the vehicle, mittens & hats left behind in the van, no one squealing at me to announce the bone-chilling temperature as I scrambled first to get baby brother into the cart. Mark was playing guitar for the first and second service and our speedy Costco run would get us out for a few minutes, get us an easy Sunday lunch, and we’d be home before Mark.
When the carts were few and far between, and I had to park in the next county I should have taken these as signs that Monday would be a better Costco-run day. But, we trundled ourselves into the store overflowing with Sunday shoppers. Seconds after crossing the threshold and flashing our membership card, the girls remembered Costco sometimes has samples.
The sheer volume of people in Costco already had me feeling uneasy. Sometime since the last trip to Costco, they had entirely rearranged the store causing me to take three laps around the lobster bisque and butternut squash soup section desperately searching for ground turkey. This route also led us past the microwave pot roast sample three times–the first time they were out of samples, the second time I snatched two for the girls, the third time Charlotte was bellowing, “I see another sample,” refusing to believe me when I told her we had already tried that sample.
Ground turkey in cart, we proceeded to find a few other items, as long as I had gotten myself into this Costco-mob mess. My girls’ enthusiasm for samples didn’t waver and they loudly announced each time they saw a sample cart. I would attempt to slip in and grab a sample for each of them, and every time my cart would somehow become pinned in by families of five & retired couples who must have all the time in the world to consider the taste, texture, and price of the samples while their bodies and carts immobilized mine.
And, mommas, all this while baby boy was trying to nab the samples from his sisters, and my bangs were hanging in my face getting greasy and sweaty (real problems here, right?) and I could not remember what else I wanted to grab.
By the time our receipt had been highlighted and we were rolling towards our van, I felt like a million holes had been poked in my religion. Let me explain, when I left church with my little people, I was refilled, refueled, repurposed, and ready for what God brought in the upcoming week. Our worship was powerful, the message was convicting & challenging, and my response had been authentic. And yet, slow-moving sample eaters, sweaty bangs, and a rearranged produce section had poked holes in all of it. It felt as if I’d left it all in puddles in the frozen section of Costco–drip by drip with my grumpy tone of voice & sighs.
Tell me I am not the only one who leaves church and finds herself with a crying toddler and zero ounces of grace. Tell me I am not the only one who gets up from a refreshing time in God’s Word and a good cup of coffee & responds grumpily when the hubby says he will be home late that evening. Tell me, I am not the only one losing my religion in the middle of Costco.
This hole-poking, it is a tool of the enemy.
If he can’t stop you, he’ll distract & discourage you. If he can’t turn you around, he will make you ineffective.
So, if we want to walk out of Costco still behaving like Jesus followers, we need to expect the enemy to be looking for places to poke. And when he pokes, let’s not be such easy bait,
– let’s thank God that we are following Him in such a way that we are ticking off the devil,
– let’s choose to be quiet until God’s graces us with the right words & tone.
– And, let’s put Ephesians 4:2 on our phones, and say it out loud (by the Lobster Bisque at Costco if necessary), “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
And when the holes are poked and you walk out of Costco feeling defeated; receive His grace and try again.