Burnt Popcorn Lessons

Lately I’ve been volunteering to help in our church office on Monday afternoons.

I show up with half my house usually—plus my homeschooled daughter (every now and then). There are times when I have extra task to do while I’m there so I keep busy, other times I’m able to settle in and catch up on a good book or work on a Bible study or other personal things.

Having McKenzie with me I make sure to keep her occupied by leaving schoolwork for the afternoon so she has something to do to pass time.

Last Monday after her and I situated ourselves in the office she declared she was ready for her popcorn snack. She’s pretty serious about popcorn so I headed off to the kitchen immediately with the unpopped bag of popcorn in my hand and an eagerness to please my child as my mission.

All microwaves are different right?!!!

I placed the bag inside, closed the door, and hit the popcorn button…1 minute and 30 seconds…‘that doesn’t seem like it’ll be long enough’…I confidently thought to myself. And when the time was up sure enough there were still many pops happening one right after the other. I determined it was definitely in need of more cook-time and that surely there were unpopped kernels still nestled inside…so within a few seconds I had the microwave fired up again, setting the timer for one minute, and listening closely for the pops to begin again….ten seconds gone by…no pops…ten more seconds…still no pops..burnt scent…yes!!! I removed the bag with a puff of smoke trailing behind but was still hopeful that the contents might be salvageable.

Returning to the office where my sweet and charming girl was waiting for her buttery, salty treat I was greeted instead by an unimpressed, dejected expression followed by, “What did you do, mom?!!?”

The smell of burnt popcorn lingered all around.

I quickly explained and tried to resolve my poor attempt at popcorn-making by deciding I’d sift through the bag to gather any edible pieces, but once I pulled apart the seams, smoke poured out!! And continued to pour out…Y’all this isn’t even me being my overdramatized self, this is 100% serious-me right now!! McKenzie sulked in disgust and I laughed in true Alicia-character, it was all I could do in my humiliation.

Pastor Jeff came down to the office and his look said it all; any question of my craziness he may have ever had well he now had full confirmation. His wife and I are best friends and he knows we’re nuts together but this gave final validation that I’m crazy even without her. Our senior pastor strolled on down to the office as well and gave a chuckle of his own, as did the children’s director (actually she was laughing before she even stepped in).

I was nervous the smoke alarms were gonna sound…in some buildings when that happens the fire department waste no time and shows right up and I absolutely was not okay with that happening.

Each time I’d open the bag to cool, the smoke would billow out. I contemplated what to do…If I put it in the trashcan it might set papers on fire, if I kept it sitting out in the office the smell would choke us out.

I finally rolled it up, clipped it with a clothespin, and shoved it into my lunch bag zipping the top of my lunch bag closed tightly.

The smoke cleared after a while, but my hands smelled of burnt popcorn for the remainder of the afternoon even after washing with soap and water and using hand sanitizer several times.

I share this story with you because later that evening when I told my husband about it I laughed hysterically while McKenzie and I recalled the details — by then McKenzie had finally found laughter in the situation.

But as we explained our afternoon, I soon thought about how this was actually a result of me wanting more!!…unsatisfied with what I’d received.

And on a broader scale there are many times I’m guilty of wanting more…more shoes, more money, more home updates, more gluten-free peach crisp…more popped kernels of popcorn.

But “more” isn’t always in favor with me…because “more” can, at times, be the direct indication of selfishness.

If I want more shoes, then I need more closet space; if I want more home updates then I need more money. More peach-crisp means more sugar intake…you get the idea..

“More” can be overwhelming as it begs to cause discontent in my life and it threatens to take my eyes off Jesus.

Hebrews 13:5 says, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

When the popcorn is burnt beyond rescuing, or the bank account is lingering below comfort, the Ray-ban shades don’t fit our budget, a friendship is faltering — we must remember that God is still God and He alone offers MORE than we could ever imagine to satisfy our greedy tendency.

My desire for more, needs to be wrapped up in wanting more Jesus. Through a healthy relationship in Him, true contentment and satisfaction are found with a lasting fulfillment.