I never thought I would be a coupon clipper. There’s something about someone who will argue with a cashier about a mere 25 cents that just rubbed me the wrong way. BUT, I was knocking it (coupon clipping, not cashier arguing) before I tried it and you can feel free to brand me a penny pincher (when it comes to groceries). It’s like an addictive game. Game? Why yes. The Grocery Game. My neighbor Sarah turned me on to it and it has become a fun obsession for Alex and me. There’s nothing in the world like getting free or almost free deodorant. The idea behind the Grocery Game is that you stockpile items when they’re on sale. So, when an item goes on sale, you buy five of them. As a result, Alex and I have at least 15 shampoo/conditioner/body wash sitting below our bathroom sink waiting to be used.
(Warning: If you’re uncomfortable with the word “tampon”, you might as well stop here. I promise that’s as personal as it gets but I will say “tampon” again in this blog. So you can either quit reading or we can try that trick where you say the word tampon over and over again (tampon tampon tampon) so that “tampon” doesn’t even make sense anymore. Then you can proceed with the feeling that I’m talking about boxes of nonsense. Your choice. Tampon. Or I can be nice and substitute the word “macaroni” for “tampon”.)
Well, this Sunday, Kroger was having a big blowout sale event so we had a long list. We got up early to go shopping and spent at least 4 minutes deciding what kind of rice we should buy. The decision process involves going through all of our coupons in that section, pulling out every possible option (usually while squatting on the floor for lack of a table), and then analyzing each coupon until we find the lowest price. We are nerds but we will be great old people. Anyway, near the end of our shopping trip, we only had a few things left on our list- toothpast, free Halls cough drops, and tamp…ahem, “macaroni”. My husband wants nothing to do with any “macaroni”. So, Alex skipped the “macaroni” part and and took the cart to go look for the other more testosterone based items on our grocery list.
Now, I had three coupons for the “macaroni” (remember- STOCKPILING). For those of you that don’t coupon shop, many coupons require that you buy 2 or more of the item in question. That is how they getcha. So, if you do the math (three coupons each requiring two items each), that means that I would be purchasing SIX boxes of “macaroni”. After I had made my choices, I realized that my embarassed husband had absconded with the grocery cart leaving me stranded to carry my embarassing cargo myself. How would I carry six boxes of “macaroni”? I’ll tell you. I had a box shoved under each armpit, one under my chin, and three balanced precariously in my arms.
Let me just share something with you. I am not one of those women who hide their “macaroni” in their jacket or something until they get to the checkout. However, I also do not scream, “I need some more “macaroni”” across the store to my husband and then wear it as a hat to finish my shopping. It’s a part of life and I treat it as such.
BUT, when you have six boxes of them stuffed in all parts of your body and you can barely see over them, you can’t help but realize that the middle-aged dad buying milk and awkwardly trying to avoid eye contact must think you have some kind of horrible female disease. So with my head hung low and my menacing pile of “macaroni”, I set off to find my husband and the beloved shopping cart. I tried to walk along the walls and down aisles that no one really goes to, like the chip aisle, and avoid the dreaded busy cereal aisle. When I finally made it to the toothpaste section, after leaving a few more mortified males in my path, I lost my grip in my right armpit and they all came crashing down. Fortunately, the male employee who was stocking the toothpaste was there to look away. I hurriedly collected my “macaroni” again and set off in a haphazard path.
After what seemed like ten minutes (probably two minutes- tops), I finally heard that glorious sound- “Beth!” I turned and there at the end of the razor aisle stood my knight in shining armor and his trusty shopping cart. I ran, continuing to balance the boxes of “macaroni”, and when I almost reached the cart, I threw them with reckless abandon, leaned over the side of the cart, and wept with joy.
Okay, actually, I laughed until I cried (or actually I was doing both). There were real tears and confusion on my poor husband’s part. It sounds funny now but I couldn’t wait to rid myself of that burden and I felt immense relief when I was no longer an embarassment to mankind.
Friends, here is the spiritual application to that story. My life lately has been like one long “macaroni” shopping experience. When I am in “crisis”, I am really good at depending on the Lord for strength, patience, all the good stuff…. I’m great at crying out in desperation when the situation calls for it.
What I’m not great at is recognizing that I DAILY need Him. I collect one or two boxes of “macaroni” a day and figure I can handle them myself.
Who needs the Lord’s shopping basket to carry all my stuff? I’ve got armpits!
But then it gets to be too much and I realize that I am carrying all this crap by myself and I don’t want to anymore. It’s just not natural. The cool thing about the spiritual side of this story is that, unlike Alex, the Lord is always ready to take your boxes of “macaroni”. He wants to take your burdens and help you out.
Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (Throw all your “macaroni” in His shopping cart, because He loves you)
We weren’t meant to go through life alone. God is ready, willing, and able to take your worries from you so that you can be free to love and enjoy Him. I promise you- it will be a BIG load off. You might even laugh-cry.