My shopping cart had a mind of its own, so I looked down as I maneuvered my way into the frozen aisle. I nearly collided with the smoothie guy and his table of samples, but swerved in time to miss the corner of his display. He ignored me and never missed a beat in his conversation with another shopper. The shopper asked an inaudible question, but I heard his passionate answer, “No, ma’am. That is incorrect. They are an imitator, they are NOT our competition.”
On hearing this, I chuckled to myself because, let’s get real, dude. We’re talking about smoothies here. Imitator or not, you’re still just selling pulverized fruit. And yet, something about his fervor stuck with me. It brought to mind the many times I’ve settled for an imitation of something, rather than pursuing the real thing.
My mother says, “You get what you pay for.” And too often, I pay the smallest amount possible from my emotional and spiritual coffers. I dole out the coins of my favor and my time and my devotion as if they’re in short supply. And because I give only so much, I end up purchasing an imitation. This is true of my relationships, my spirit, my art.
I find myself worshipping a God of my own construction, rather than the God of my salvation. When did his voice become so hard to hear? Perhaps I have forgotten how to listen, how to hear the Word spoken in the muddle of competing voices.
I build friendships that have the look of the real thing, but which never go deeper because I stand on the other end of the relationship throwing small coins, pulling back.
I convince myself that spending time consuming art (and most of it sub-par, at best), is the same thing as dedicating the time to creating it. I throw a pittance of time at my work, and I expect it to become a masterpiece without the time or effort needed to make it so. The best artists give their life over to their vision. I give my Wednesday morning and a few minutes scribbling in the carpool line, and I expect similar results.
These empty coin slots, they yawn open, waiting to be filled with my time, my love, and my dedication.
There are so many things competing for my heart and my time, I want to be sure I give the best of myself to the ones that truly matter–the people I’m meant to care for, the work I’m meant to create, the God I’m called to serve. I don’t want a cheap imitation. I don’t want to throw coins into the slots of a jukebox that will never play the right tune. I want a taste of the real thing, the one that will set my feet dancing, and have me showering the air with a thousand shimmering coins–spending it all.
Have you settled for an imitation of something rather than the real thing? Where are you spending it all?