Originally published Saturday, 30 July 2016.
MISSPENT MOMENTS AT THE CHAOTIC CAFÉ
My husband and I took my tween to Orlando for his spring break. I’m fortunate that he isn’t a big Disney fan, but I do have a Disney credit card that accumulates money that can be used at certain Disney restaurants and shops. I’d racked up a couple hundred dollars in the past five years, and I was excited to be able to spend it on a $17 kid’s meal and other overly-priced stuff, like ten-dollar-custom-made Rice Krispies treats, and a week’s supply of Goofy’s taffy—the imperatives of any magical vacation.
After wandering around for hours and then waiting forever to be seated at a certain café (that shall remain nameless), the three of us were exhausted and ready to eat just about anything that would hold still. We quickly ordered and waited. And waited. And waited. The temperature was just shy of what felt like 45 degrees and it was dark and LOUD. (If you’ve ever been to this place, you know what I’m talking about.) The jungle soundtrack looped, cranking out, again and again, every kind of animal sound you can imagine from the Rainforest. It even included a giant thunderstorm. So there we were, overly stimulated, tired and starving—our sweat turning to icicles, and our patience growing thin. I started doubting what was going on behind the scenes and contemplated entering the kitchen door to my left. Had they forgotten our order?
A large family came and sat next to us. There were lots of little ones. Immediately, two of the five kids became frightened by the darkness and the overwhelming sounds. There were lots of tears—loud tears, I mean. My heart broke for the one little guy. He obviously had been traumatized by monkeys in the past. I didn’t know a two-year-old could possess a set of lungs like that. The surroundings got so loud and scary that one of the little girls slid under the table and hid, crying as the audio loop banged out what had to be the 250th thunderstorm we’d heard since arriving. The thunderous storm was just too much for her, and she curled in the fetal position at her daddy’s feet.
THIS PLACE WAS UTTERLY CHAOTIC!
Anything. But. Magical.
And why was everyone who had arrived and ordered after us already eating? No fair. It had been over an hour since ordering. At this time, we contemplated leaving, but how could we after the time we’d invested—and what about the meal that we weren’t even going to have to pay for? So there we sat, freezing and fuming, even fussing with each other a bit.
Finally, our food came. The poor, earsplitting monkey-fearer had thankfully screamed himself semi-unconscious. The traumatized girl under the table had apparently, at last, become desensitized and was now quietly playing games on her mom’s iPhone. Things were then more to my liking, and the three of us happily shut out the rest of the world (and its noisy animals) and chowed down on our free, “eat-like-a-king” dinners. Only then did we finally start enjoying each other’s company.
I KEEP MY EYES ALWAYS ON THE LORD. WITH HIM AT MY RIGHT HAND, I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. PSALM 16:8 (NIV)
Sometimes we get our eyes off of what really should be the focus, don’t we? We allow the enemy to distract us, to bombard us with chaos, steal our joy, and cause us to doubt what’s going on behind the scenes. I should’ve been focused on being grateful for the time my husband had off from his hectic and demanding job that viciously imposes itself on our every minute. I should’ve been focused on enjoying the fact that we weren’t in our small, one-horse town. I should’ve been grateful for a giant meal I wasn’t going to have to cook or even pay for. I should’ve been listening to my kid and holding hands with my hubby.
But I wasn’t.
My joy, my gratefulness, and my focus got lost somewhere in the noise and chaos of the moment. Oh, how many times I’m guilty of succumbing to my feelings based on my current circumstances, allowing the enemy to distract me from what’s really important, and forgetting that my God is always working behind the scenes, even when it seems like it’s taking forever. (Even when others are the first to get what I want or need.) The two hours we were at that table—that time was a gift. That was a moment in time that I can never get back. And I made the mistake of allowing the enemy to steal it from me.
Do you ever get caught up in the moment? Do you ever become distracted and forget to focus on what’s really important? Please tell me I’m not the only one.
No matter if you’re a new mom struggling to figure things out, a fearful introvert crawling out of your comfort zone, or a recovering addict attempting to do life over again, may we strive to be grateful in the waiting time, not allowing the enemy’s distraction, lies, and trickery to steal the blessings we have available to us in every moment. Regardless of what the circumstances are and what the enemy would have me believe, God is always working behind the scenes.
Today, I’m reminded to fix my eyes on Him and the truly important and precious things even when I’m impatient, screaming like a banshee, and when…
I’m hidden and crying at my Heavenly Daddy’s feet, waiting for the storm to pass.
I hope you’ve been encouraged to make the most of your moments and that you’ll share this post with someone who may be losing focus on what truly matters.