By: Jessica Comley
I am in a bit of a predicament. You see, I am a bit of an adrenaline junky-to say the least. I drive my car like it is a Formula One car or alternatively, like I am being chased by the mafia. I will always choose the craziest rides to go on at theme parks and will actually pay over and above to sit inside a giant sling which hurls you into the air like a … well … slingshot (as one trip to a theme park did). I slide down bannisters when I think nobody is looking- they usually are (around the point that I fall off of them)- and I run on wooden floors in socks to see how far I can possibly skate without slipping. You get the idea. Sadly though, the more I do crazy things, the more extreme you have to go to get a matching rush of adrenaline. I am determined that the next activity in which I have to partake is one of a slightly more risky nature. Skydiving. Most people would see no point in throwing yourself outside of an airplane. It is silly, it’s reckless and it is dangerous. But there’s another small percentage of crazy individuals out there who quite literally cannot wait to face the ground at 115 miles per hour. I am a member of this pack of individuals. My mother, bless her, is part of the former. “Safe” is the word I would describe. Happy with the regular plodding on of life, happy to stay on her side of the fence, and content to not push boundaries- I happen to think this is very advisable and wise. For me, however, I thrive on the excitement of doing something that is the right combination of not too dangerous (you wouldn’t catch me free climbing or hang gliding) but dangerous enough to jolt you with adrenaline. I don’t want to appear like a stupid person who looks for cheap thrills- I do weigh up the statistics. Skydiving is less dangerous than driving your car in South Africa and when jumping with a professional, only 1 jumps out of every 1000 results in an injury – let alone a fatality. I guess this leads me to ask myself, how much risk am I prepared to take? In this case, despite the absolute horror of my parents, I am almost certain I will at some point in my life pay a ridiculous amount of money to jump out of an airplane at 9000 feet in the air. Risky, yeah, but sometimes the fun in life comes from the small degree of uncertainty.
Ahh food. One of the many loves of my life. Usually conflicting with my love of exercise. Most days I will be running on that treadmill, watching each calorie burn off as I put my body through agony and I will think – I loathe chocolate, I loathe biscuits and chocolate chip cookies for the pain I have to go through. Then I think, is it really worth it? Of course it is. Food has a strange power over people. Some like it too much, some too little. It defines culture, is defined by some religions, and is used to fill many voids in peoples lives. But that is in itself another article. No, today, I am writing about food I cannot wait to try. There are many foods that I will never even try. Here in Scotland they eat a delicacy called Haggis. A traditional dish that is basically offal … even though it admittedly smells great, I just cannot bring myself to eat it- not knowing what’s in it. I also won’t allow myself to try Scotland’s second great love- “deep fried Marsbars”. Quite literally as it sounds- a mars bar dropped in a chip fryer. Most unhealthy thing I have ever heard of. Thirdly, I will never understand many South African’s love of “Walkie Talkies” – chicken heads and feet. I have literally watched some of my friends drool at the sight of them and look upon them with such longing that I have thought – maybe I am missing something. Not quite sure if I am willing to find out. But in terms of things I cannot wait to try- it usually goes hand in hand with the place I want to travel too. I want to go to Greece and Italy this year- and for this reason I am dying to try some traditional authentic Greek tapas or meze. I know you can get Greek food pretty much anywhere these days, but there’s something about food that it made in its own country that makes it taste so much better. For example, all of the times that I have tried to create an authentic “braai” experience in Scotland have been sub-standard (for non-South African’s reading this, a braai is a highly superior barbeque.) For one I cant get my hands on a beautiful, good quality steak that doesn’t cost as much as a handbags-its cruel to ask a woman to make that choice. Just as a side note- here in the UK they security tag their steak- which is just ridiculous. There is simply nothing like a braai when set in the African heat, with ice-cold coke or beer (for you heathens J) and the rugby on the TV. So point made, I cannot wait to try traditional tapas or meze in Greece. Likewise I heard the Italians do pasta and pizza very different to the rest of the world- minimalistic is the word I have heard used. Food is for me, not just about the food itself. It’s the entire experience. So my desire to try new food is hand in hand connected with my desire to see new places.
Isaiah 17: 10- 11
“You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing…”
(NIV. emphasis added)
How often do we rely on ourselves to bring tasks to completion? How often to rely solely on our abilities when preparing for exams, opening businesses or dealing with difficult situations? Why do we not reap the fullness of God’s blessings in our lives? Why does it appear that we put so much work in and get so little back in return financially or in our relationships?
I was asked to write about something God has spoken to me about this week and immediately this verse came to mind. It was a revelation to me for a variety of reasons. For one, I looked back at my life and looked into situations gone badly, or unfulfilled expectations or experiences that left me feeling disappointed and asking myself what went wrong. The honest answer is that I probably forgot God in all of it. Sometimes its easy to just run with what we think is best. We trust our own judgment and don’t have the time or patience to remember God’s will in it. That’s just because we are human, and we believe that we are capable of taking care of ourselves- of planting vineyards, creating avenues for success, or planting “trees” which we hope will bear fruit. For example you may have all of the business knowledge needed to open a business. You studied at university and you have confidence in your own abilities. Your business may yield something, but if you have not remembered and honoured God- depending on him as your rock and not on your own knowledge – your harvest will be as nothing. For two reasons- one, material wealth means absolutely nothing in God’s eyes. They are a way in which he can bless us, but what’s really important to him is being an immoveable part in your life and your spiritual wellbeing. Secondly, with the blessing of God in your life your harvest will be ten fold what you can humanly produce. When you remember God and trust in him and him alone, being obedient to his word and walking with him, the “floodgates of heaven” (Malachi 3) will be opened unto you and the fruit from your harvest will spill into every area of your life. I find it so beautiful that I don’t have to do everything in my own strength – because I know how capable I am of failure and making mistakes. I find it beautiful that God is there for me to depend on and if I don’t rely on my own understanding but on his, he will make my harvest plentiful and abundant- exceeding my wildest dreams and expectations. So I challenge you readers today, how are your vineyards looking?