Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Christian Bipolarity

     Please don't ridicule me or call me names for what I am about to share.  I feel certain that I cannot be alone in these feelings, yet I am struggling to find the words to express them.  You see, I am caught between two polar positions in my walk with Christ.
     On the one hand, I am yearning to give more.  I want Christ to make me His hands on this earth.  I want to extend myself to change the lives of others, for the better.  I long to sacrifice my own comfort in order to take the good news of Christ to the hurting and needy people of this world.  I am sometimes disgusted by the luxury in which I live.  I am occasionally disappointed in my children's addiction to the comforts of this American life.  Comforts which I have taught them to crave.
     On the other hand, I am terrified to lose my iron grip on those comforts.  I don't want to give up my stuff.  I love my iPhone.  Yes, I said, "love," and I meant it.  I am happy here in my middle-class suburb, confident that the drinking water will not leave parasites in my children's bellies.  Can't I just be grateful that God has chosen to give these good gifts to me?
     So, my dilemma boils down to the following:                 

                   1.  I long to sacrifice my comfort in service to Christ.
        2.  I am terrified of being asked to give up my creature comforts.
     What can I do?  How can I relieve the tension between these desires warring within me?  I have decided on my New Year's resolution.  I am going to keep a journal of all of the services and sacrifices Christ asks of me.  You see, my husband and I try to always be alert and open to opportunities to work for the Lord.  We pick up hitchhikers, replace flat tires, pay overdue bills, support children in other countries, support missionaries, etc.  We do whatever work Jesus puts before us, as much as seems possible.  I'll admit, sometimes we fail to notice opportunities, and sometimes we just get lazy.  I figure, though, that a journal will help me to see more clearly where Jesus is leading me.  And to run fast enough to dog His glorious heels.  
     Oh, Lord, lead me on.

     I have noticed that buying sweet tea is now considered the norm.  Why?  This quick-and-easy-to-make Southern beverage is SO much better homemade.  You can customize it to your tastes and needs.  And, trust me, there is nothing like freshly-brewed sweet tea.  I can give you the basics.  I suggest you make it, see how you like it, and tweak it a bit each time you make it until it is perfect.

Sweet Tea
4 or 5 family size (large) tea bags
small pot (saucepan)
1-2 cups sugar, or equivalent sweetener
1-gallon jar or pitcher

Fill your small saucepan/pot with water.  Bring it to a boil on high heat.  Turn off the burner and add your tea bags.   Leave to steep 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, put the pitcher down in your sink.  Fill about 3" with water and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. 

 Keeping the tea bags in the pot, pour the steeped tea into the pitcher.  Refill the pot with cold water.  More flavor will seep from the tea bags into this fresh water, so keep the tea bags in the pot throughout this process.  Pour the water into the tea.  

Keep refilling the pot and adding the water to the tea until you have a gallon.  Enjoy over ice while it is still warm.  Must be refrigerated after a while.  If you leave it on the counter overnight, it gets sour.  

Tweaks:  How sweet the tea should be is very subjective.  2 cups is very sweet, like a traditional Southern restaurant.  I use two regular and two decaf tea bags, plus 4 green tea bags.  I always use Lipton.  Some people take the water off the burner and wait for all boiling to stop before adding the tea bags.  Some people actually boil the bags.  I take a middle road.  I leave the pot on the hot burner, turn off the burner, and add the bags.  Boiling increases the strength of the flavor but adds a bit of bitterness.  Sugar counteracts bitterness though.  This is a matter of taste.  I suggest you try the middle road and move in whichever direction your tastebuds require.  You can also alter the length of steeping time.  I personally prefer a glass pitcher or jar for storage.  I like drinks in glass.  You may prefer the durability of plastic.  I use stevia to sweeten my tea.  Many people don't like the taste of stevia.  At any rate, I hope you will try and enjoy this traditional beverage, which is filled with antioxidants.  And so much more elegant than soda.  Happy sipping!