During one particularly stressful year of teaching, I developed an unhealthy habit of eating Tootsie Roll Midgees. Not just one or two pieces at a time, one or two HANDFULS.
It was mindless munching in a failed attempt to ease the never-ending pressure of too many demands and too little time.
As was my habit, I sat in my classroom long after the students, and everyone except the janitorial staff, left the school, trying to find ways to help my students grasp essential math concepts.
One of my sweet co-teachers stepped into my room and spied the pile of discarded candy wrappers next to the pile of uneaten candy on my desk.
I offered Paula several Tootsie Rolls as I continued to unwrap and pop the remainder into my mouth with record speed.
“What are you doing?”
“Going over these math scores again. Susan’s not happy with the results,” I said between bites.
“No. What are you doing eating all this candy?”
Paula held out her hands. I gave her another piece of candy. She shook her head.
“I’m here to save you from yourself. Give me all the candy.”
I looked at my friend, then back to my desk. I willingly scooped up the Tootsie Rolls and handed them to her. She must have been suspicious regarding my lack of resistance.
After a moment, I opened my desk drawer and pulled out a sandwich sized baggie full of candy.
I sat for a moment. Then walked to the closet. From there I pulled out a half-full bag of that chocolatey delight. It wasn’t just a small sized bag. Nope. This was one of the mega sized bags you need two arms to carry.
Paula’s eyes grew big as I sheepishly handed over my stash.
“Do you have any more?” I doubt she really believed I did.
When I walked to the front of the classroom and opened up the file cabinet, we both started laughing.
Paula wiped tears from her eyes as I handed over another 720 piece bag.
After all these years that moment in time is as fresh as if it just happened. But I’d like to explore the concept of surrendering all my Tootsie Rolls to what Jesus asks us to do.
Jesus asks us to surrender everything to him. Not just the candy on our desk that people see, but also the candy we’ve hidden away hoping no one will discover.
We are asked to surrender our time. Our resources. Our talent.
We are asked to surrender our families. Our health. Our jobs. Our hurts, scars, unhealthy habits.
We are asked to surrender our hopes, dreams, ambitions, wants, desires, all so we can become the person God created us to be.
It is my belief that as Paula stood in my classroom with her hand outstretched to receive all the Tootsie Rolls I’d stashed away to save me from myself, Jesus holds out his hand to save us, as well.
Jesus wants us to lay it all down. Hand it all over to him, and pick up only what he wants us to pick up in his perfect timing.
Even though Paula promised she’d hold onto my candy and dole it out a little at a time if I needed it, I realized those Midgees really weren’t what was going to get me through the stress of that year.
And he did.
Dealing with stressful situations? Surrender them to Jesus.
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So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you. James 4:7 (NCV)
I wish you well,