smoky mountains snow

This excerpt comes from Chapter 4 in the book.

In life, there are certain things we feel we cannot live without. They are the essentials. You have yours; I have mine.

For starters, there are particular foods that I cannot live without. I enjoy, or rather love, dairy foods. I can’t imagine life without milk, cheese, and ice cream! I need milk because it makes so many other foods better (cereal and Oreo cookies) or it is used as an ingredient in other important food groups—like pancakes, the greatest food group! Or what of cheese, which makes just about anything taste better? Imagine granny’s mushy vegetable casserole. Add some, or a lot of, mozzarella sprinkled on top, melt the cheese, and voilà, it’s all better. Better might be too strong a word. Perhaps it’s at least bearable.

I could continue speaking about the simple things that make life more satisfying. Wrapping our hands around a hot cup of coffee in the morning, the smell wafting up to our nose, the steam rising into our eyes. Being drawn into the enchanting and undiscovered world of a work of fiction. A weekend evening curling up on the couch with a loved one while catching up on an episode of your favorite show. Pushing your feet into the white sands of a beach that stretches for miles. A winter’s vacation breathing in the crisp air of the mountains as you peer out into the mist-covered valleys below.

All of these, and more, represent the beauty of the life we are able to encounter on a regular basis. All of these stir me toward the mysterious and majestic, God himself. They enliven the five senses, reminding me of God’s good gifts all around us.

I cannot imagine life without them.

I am convinced the same is true when it comes to the specific calling of God’s people. Those things God has set within us that bring life and deep fulfillment are more important than we first imagined. In the movie, Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell tells his sister, Jenny, that God has made him fast and that he feels the Lord’s pleasure when he runs. I certainly am not fast and I can’t quite say I feel the pleasure of the Lord upon me when I run (though my wife does). Still, there are things that stir a deep-seated excitement within that have truly become a part of who I am and how I live.