There are some things in life that just aren't worth it. One of those things happen to be Fat Free Ranch Dressing. My brother-in-law and I discovered that last night as we poured ranch dressing on our pizza and salad---it was disgusting. Never again will I buy fat free ranch dressing, it is simply not worth the it. My low calorie substitute was not even close to being comparable to the real thing.
Often we make decisions (conscious and subconsciously) to substitute what we know is good for something that is mediocre.
Do you find yourself speeding through things? Do you find yourself irratated if your phone doesn't load up the Facebook app in 3 seconds? In our microwave mentality we literally fly through our day. For social interaction we have Facebook, for our family we have 'quality time,' we eat at our desks, we have the 5 minute cookbook for dinners and we have tv on demand...do you get the picture? We have substituted a full and abundant life for something less than.
Those things that I listed earlier are great and they are supposed to enhance our productivity and time. But just like the fat free dressing, Facebook doesn't taste as good as having a coffee and conversation with a friend. Or spending a Sunday with the family with no agenda other than to enjoy eachother's presence.
I'm telling you right now, if you buy into the Quality Time notion-your full of it and your family needs you. You can't qualify time. It is simply a measurement. You can't measure laughter, love and the presence you bring to your family. Your work isn't that important, there were always be a chores, there will always be ministry needs and there will always be something to distract you (satan will make sure of it). For those of you who are 'martyrs,' ask someone for help with your work, your house, your ministry and spend some time with your family. For those of you who are workaholics, your are being disobedient to God by not honoring your spouse and your family with your presence.
There is no substitute for your presence.
You can apply this to every aspect of your life. Ask yourself this question: What have I been substituting for real wholesome things? Whether it's social interaction, physical or mental presence, unhealthy eating habits, vices or relationships, we all fall to the microwave mentality. But remember shortcuts aren't always satisfying.
And yet our society praises shortcuts. Our society praises quality time, whirlwind affairs, quick money, the latest gadgets and the hottest bods. They praise things that are quick, easy substitutes promising an amazing end result. So often their amazing end result is a 72 day marriage, or a stressed out dad or mom trying to give their kids every thing under the sun, or an unethical decision---because the end justifies the means right?
The best things in life take time and presence. This is your life, so show up. Don't fast forward. Don't substitute anything for what God has given you. You are responsible for your life and responsibilities. Oh, you can blame society and others for being less than. But the truth is: it is a daily decision whether or not substitute things of this world for the things God has given you. What decision are you making today?