Take Life's Lemons... and Make Orange Juice?
Updated: Dec 13, 2018
"When life gives you lemons, make orange juice and leave the world wondering how you did it."
This is the life I want to live.
Before you start thinking I'm crazy, talking about making orange juice with lemons, let's all get on the same page about two things:
Life WILL give you lemons...and more often than not it gives them to you by throwing them at you.
You have to do something with them.
And everyone does something different. Some collect them; store them away somewhere because we're not sure what to do with them. Some let them pile up on top of us. Some just eat them as they are, consuming the bitterness. Most of us would say (or like to believe) that we do our best to make lemonade; we take the lemons and make something good, something better out of them.
But you know the thing about lemonade? It still tastes like lemons.
The truth is, making lemonade is simply our attempt to make the bitter, undesirable things about life into something we can stomach. Don't get me wrong, that's admirable and sometimes it is the absolute best we can get ourselves to do.
My question to you is - aren't you tired of drinking lemonade yet? Aren't you tired of doing just enough to make life "bearable"?
I'll tell you what, I'm not willing to live this life with a "just get by" mentality. Maybe life will keep throwing lemons at me, and maybe there's nothing I can do about that, but I'm no longer just making lemonade with them. I'm being creative.
I'm taking those lemons, and I'm mixing them with the sweeter parts of life. I'm making lemon bars, tropical fruit punch, lemon pound cake, maybe I'll be really creative and make braised chicken in a lemon sauce... My point is, I'll take the lemons if they come. I'm not suggesting something ridiculous like throwing the lemons back at life - that never really pans out. But I am saying that you don't have to just sit there sucking on the lemons life gave you. The bitterness that breeds will consume you faster than you consumed it.
I'm suggesting, or rather impressing upon you, to take the lemons for all that they are and combine them with sweeter parts of life to make something that's better than just bearable.
(And if you are reading this thinking, "I don't have 'sweeter' parts of life," keep an eye out for my next blog post!)
This life is meant to be enjoyed, not barely stomached. If you're drowning in lemons right now, and the best you can do is make some semblance of lemonade, I applaud you for doing the best you can!
But I also encourage you to challenge yourself to make something sweeter; so sweet that the world is left wondering how you did it.
I wanted to take a moment for anyone ambitious enough to keep reading to tell you how I've done it - or really, how I haven't actually done much of anything.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result. Genesis 50:20
I don't want to leave you with the false belief that we have the power to make orange juice from lemonade (literally or metaphorically, ha). You can most definitely get something sweet out lemons, but not on your own. That only happens with God.
The last few months of my life I've had lemons coming at me. The details aren't important right now, but just so we're clear, life wasn't lobbing these lemons; we're talking fast-pitch baseball. Life was throwing hard. For a while, I was just sucking on the lemons, but like I said in my post above, that leaves you really bitter, really quickly. So I started making lemonade.
Because that's the best we can do - make some lemonade and try to find a way to prevent ourselves from getting sick of the taste of lemons. See, only God can take something as bitter as lemons and show you how to use them to make something sweet. You can choose to let Him, or you can choose to keep sucking on lemons. I, for one, prefer to let Him and I'm loving the "present result" of that.
I realized the foolishness of allowing myself to "just get by." Jesus didn't die for that; He gave His life for me so I could live abundantly.
"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10
There is nothing abundant about living our lives sucking on lemons, consuming the bitterness. Don't settle for it.