Christianity, Friendship, Practical Living

Guilt and Gas Station Food

I have a pretty simple rule about food: do not buy food from gas stations. Fake nacho cheese, foot long hot dogs, combos, and beef jerky…Food of champions?

No. That’s the diet of Lenny that no one wants to sit next to at the office party.

In college, I had a temporary lapse in judgment. Someone introduced me to Sheetz. I was really skeptical at first. “You mean you are driving to get food, at a gas station…willingly?”

Eventually my curiosity and my desire to be included won the day.  My inhibitions melted away when I saw the touch screen order pad. What Sheetz lacked in taste it made up for in progress. The touch screen made me feel safe. I kept it simple and went with a chicken sub and fries. It met my other 3 college food standards:

1) Is it under seven dollars?

2) Can I heat up the leftovers in the microwave?

3) Could I somehow stretch this to two meals?

I frequented Sheetz for quite some time in college, until I made a poor choice at 3 am.

After a late night road trip, on the way home I decided to purchase no-bake cookies, not just one but 3. At Sheetz they are 3 for 99 cents, a heavenly bargain.

They terrorized my stomach. When I was a kid, I used to imagine little soldiers marching around in my stomach when I was sick. That night it felt like D-day. I can’t remember feeling so horrible.

That night cured me of my sickness, and today I uphold my no-food-at-gas-stations rule.

The other day I lay awake in my bed, feeling terrible.

Guilt feels a lot like Sheetz no-bake cookies at 3 am—the churning, the shame, the same stony dread.

One of my greatest fears is being guilty, well of being found guilty of something. It drives me to be the best worker, the best mom, the best wife, and the best friend. I never want the fault to be mine.

Of course, I never think these things out loud. Most of these things are subconscious desires that drive my behavior, but whenever I think about why I do the things that I do, they point back there. I don’t want to be found guilty. I always want to forgive, but I never want to be forgiven.

It is enslaving. A few years ago, I realized that no matter what something would always be my fault and I couldn’t earn my way out of it. It terrified me.

I realized that I wanted to be better for my own sake. Deep down, I wanted to prove that I didn’t need to be forgiven, but that somehow, I could make up for my mistakes.

These verses prove me wrong; I’m an enemy:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good, not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

–Romans 3: 10-18

These verses give me hope; this hope reaches beyond my poor attempt at good behavior:

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

–Romans 5: 6-11
My guilt has been taken care of. I was an enemy, but I’ve been forgiven. Hallelujah, what a Savior.

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