dangling carrots

You know the dangling carrot idiom, right? Where the donkey is supposed to be pulling a cart but he won’t budge? And the boy in the cart ties a carrot to the end of a stick and holds it just far enough in front of the donkey that he can’t reach it. He takes a step, hoping his lips make contact with the coveted veggie. But alas, when he moves, the carrot moves. Being the ass he is, the poor thing tries again. And again. And pretty soon the boy has tricked the dumb donkey into walking all the way to the market.

I felt like that donkey pretty much all day today.

“Here’s some financial relief! Oh no, wait. Not yet.”

“Here’s a really awesome opportunity! Well, maybe not.”

“I know! Let’s go visit someone special this weekend! Oh, good point. That’s not going to work.”

“At least I still have another speaking engagement this week. Wait, it’s canceled too??”

And on and on and blah, yah, yah.

I believe this is why the Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, not the carrot.

And it’s also why it says that God’s not a carrot-dangler (well, it might not technically say this). He’s not a cruel tease. He doesn’t sit back laughing while I jump through hoop after hoop and then say, “Oh, sorry. Not good enough.” Or, “Whoops. Changed my mind again!”

He is a good God. Always good. Always love. And never, ever acts contrary to His character.

Carrot or no, I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’m not going to sit down in the middle of the path and quit. If I can’t reach the carrot, it’s because it’s not in my best interest to have it yet. Or maybe the carrot is just a decoy and there’s Pei Wei Mongolian Chicken waiting for me at the end of the road.

I don’t know.

Choosing to trust in the Lord with all my heart today. And choosing to trust with joy.

It’s been awhile since I’ve asked you to share prayer requests. How can I pray for you this weekend?

p.s. I don’t have quite enough $ yet to pay my publisher for my last book order, so I can get my Diapers books. If you’re still interested in buying some at a discount, let me know! (via comment, twitter, facebook or e-mail).

17 thoughts on “dangling carrots

  1. gretchen

    I think I never tried to go for the carrot thing b/c I grew up never thinking that I could get it. Turns out that goal setting is okay, but His plans must be included. I’m learning that each day. I think you are so far ahead of where you really think you are. We get hard on ourselves. But I see you always being thoughtful and glorifying God. Even through the yuck. And your transparency makes you real. Nobody needs Christian in a box.

  2. Gaile Uka

    Marla, i love your post. Thank you for wqriting from your heart always. I will like to ask for prayer and the strength to take a hard decision over the next couple of weeks. God bless you.

  3. Kimberly

    I’m sorry sweet girl. I don’t know how it will all play out, but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He has a plan!

    I’d love a prayer or two. I’m going to have to have surgery and really would like the results to be normal 🙂 Mostly prayers for peace during the waiting!

  4. Sara

    So know how you feel. We have been praying that God would change our situation for a long time and bring us to a place where we can be in service for Him. Now my husband might be losing his job (telling?), I haven’t closed a loan in 2 months and my basement flooded with sewer yesterday. With $20 in the bank it took everything in me to not stop and get frustrated with the timing and the unanswered question of ‘whats next’. BUT…then I realized my babies aren’t standing in that sewage, looking for water to drink. He is so good…and so wise…and His timing IS perfect. Hang in there.

  5. Gabe Taviano

    Becca – you get much respect from this house for what you and your family are doing. It’s sometimes irritating watching suburbians try to figure out how to serve their own people, when they don’t need them as much.

  6. meghan @ spicy magnolia

    Oh, those dangling carrots. It’s such a hard place to be in: waiting. I’m thankful to have read your Twitter status about a proposal coming together…that’s exciting and can’t wait to hear more.

    All 3 of us have been sick this week. We’re worn out and praying we get good rest this weekend and feel better. Love to you!!

  7. amber

    Oh how I know that blasted carrot all too well. And I’m even allergic to carrots. And yet I keep chasing it. I would be the dumb donkey.

    But, my sweet friend, my prayers are all over you and your family. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for you, and I’m rejoicing ahead of time for the day it is all realized.

  8. AKat

    Marla, this reminds me of the lesson we heard in Houston…that “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet…”, and if we had a spotlight into the future, we’d go on without the Lord’s guidance. So, yes, the carrot metaphor works, but maybe it’s us holding that carrot pole in faith. Just like we have to hold tightly on to that lantern – God’s word and precepts – in faith. Day by day, step by step.

    You’re a rock star, Marla Taviano.

    I’m almost done with a quilt, then I’ll put all those scraps in the mail for you for those boas! 🙂

    Prayer request? Neil and I are sick. Bleh.

  9. Missy

    This is great word picture for a frustrating feeling. I’m sorry to hear so many plans seem foiled, delayed or questionable right now. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the Master Plan up front? I suppose that takes faith out of the equasion, though. It sounds like many other commenters relate to your feelings today. I’m learning (or at least trying to learn) to live in the moment, because truly, our plans are so fragile.

    For me, you may pray for my marriage.

    Thank you.
    Missy

  10. Kim Webb

    Why do I keep following the carrot thinking it will satisfy me and make things all better. I feel it – thanks for the good word today.

    You can pray for safe travel for me a friend 🙂 that are going to Bowling Green this weekend for her speaking engagement. Pray that I would have have ears to hear Him. And health for Kara of course. Love you!!!

  11. Sarah M

    Maybe your carrot is God’s way of saying “wait on me, I have something better in store” you never know!

    Hang in there! Please pray for me, just had a spot on my leg biopsied at the dermatologist yesterday, don’t find out for 2 weeks, but praying it’s NOT skin cancer. Thanks Marla!

  12. Mary

    hang in there – sometimes i hate that blasted carrot!

    wouldn’t you rather have the honey seared shrimp though?

    praying for you! i still have my same request! 🙂

  13. Becca

    Oh my word I LOVE this post. You have such a way with word my friend. I know, I all of a sudden started commenting all the time . . . weird 🙂 But I would love for you to pray that our house will SELL so we can move into the ghetto. But seriously, we want to do ministry and live in community in inner-city Atlanta, but we need to sell our nice house in the suburbs first! 🙂

  14. Liz

    Well, you can pray that I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and not that darn carrot obstructing my view. I’ll be praying the same for you.

    And that I get a chance to eat at Pei Wei this weekend! 🙂
    (The lettuce wraps are amazing!)

    Oh, please pray for my boys. Just like many other kids, they have been sick all winter. Bronchitis? Pnemonia? Asthma? Allergies? We don’t know and just when we think they’re getting better it gets worse. Is it Spring yet?

  15. Jen L

    Hi Marla! I haven’t commented in a while, but I’m still reading and praying for you. 🙂 I’d appreciate your prayers for my mom…she had knee replacement surgery last week, and she’s had some complications in her recovery and ended up in the ER today. She’s home now but still does not feel very well. Thank you!

  16. Tiffani

    what a perfect way to describe that feeling…goodness gracious, how I follow that carrot at times!! Praying for you my friend that you will “follow Jesus not the carrot” (so true but made me giggle and I think we should make it a t-shirt) and that there WILL be Mongolian Chicken as a bonus reward!

    For me, I’d love for you to pray over a housing situation we’ll be facing in the next few months. Just that right now God would begin to order the steps, our finances, the owner (we’re leasing), the loan process…it won’t happen for a few more months but a lot needs to happen before the official closing. It tends to be my achilles heel to worry about this and feel it pressing heavy on my chest…will it happen, is it gonna work out…sooo many thoughts. I can’t spend the next few months feeling so overwhelmed by all of it. So, I would greatly covet your prayers!! Love you!

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