The Five (Million) Second Rule

Life has a lot of rules. Some of them are written down, like the Ten Commandments or the “No Diving” sign at the pool. Others, though, fall into the common knowledge category. Here are some examples:

When in a crowded elevator, look straight forward with gaze slightly above eye-level. Keep your elbows in. And don’t you dare pass gas.

Look both ways before crossing the street. And if you’re vacationing in the UK, look again just to be safe. (Hint: Oncoming traffic will be coming from the right. Winston Churchill made this mistake; you could too.)

If it’s stuck to the bottom of a park bench, don’t eat it. The gum’s pretty color doesn’t change its “ABC” status. In case you missed kindergarten,  that stands for “Already Been Chewed.” Sick nasty.

Finally, there’s the Five-Second Rule. This one really needs no explanation because we all know it and most of us follow it. Although this rule comes with a few possible variations, such as the Three-Second Rule, the Eight-Second Rule, and, in extreme cases, the No-Second Rule. In short, if a piece of food has been on the ground or other unwanted surface for more than __X___ number of seconds, it’s no longer fit for consumption. Or put simply, DO NOT EAT IT. The length of time may vary based on the nature of the food, its level of stickiness, the cleanliness of the environment, the location (i.e., at home or in a public restroom), and other similar factors. But the one underlying principle doesn’t change: Food can become too contaminated for us to eat. Unless maybe you’re from Louisiana….

As the daughter of an anti-pathogen activist (also known as a germaphobe), I observe the Five-Second Rule with strict adherence, oftentimes leaning more toward the No-Second variety. However, occasionally, against my better anti-bacterial judgment, I make an exception. To be eaten by me after contamination, the food must be incredible, irreplaceable, and scrumdidilyumptious. Such an event is noteworthy and rare, like what happened to me a few weeks ago.

I was in Norman, Oklahoma (another rare event, especially for an OSU alum). It was early, and I was leaving the home of my dear friend and former co-counselor Lydia. And I was hungry. Fortunately, though, I had anticipated this moment a few days before while in Stillwater, where I purchased an extra cinnamon roll from Spudnuts.  Since most of the world hasn’t been lucky enough to eat a Spudnut, let me enlighten you about these heavenly pastries. Made from a secret recipe from elves from Germany using potato flour, these donuts don’t just melt in your mouth; they melt your mouth. And to top it all off, they are basically gluten free. Which means that I LOVE them. Unfortunately, though, Stillwater is my closest source for Spudnuts and since I don’t make the I-35 trek very often anymore, my Spudnut encounters are few and far between. However, in a moment of brilliant foresight, I bought an extra cinnamon roll to eat in Lydia’s driveway. And that’s when things got a little “Spud-nutty.”

If I had to wager, I’d bet that 99% of the cinnamon-roll-eating population eats them the same way: From the outside in. I’m no exception to this; I like to eat the outer layers before savoring the ooey, gooey, cinnamon-y center. That morning, I followed this usual pattern with my Spudnut,. I was just about to eat the middle when—BAM!—gravity suddenly cut in.

As if in slow motion, the center of the Spudnut slipped off the remaining outer shell and fell from my hand. Desperately, I reached out to save it, but in my frantic state, I only managed to redirect its fall (and get icing on my arm). Heartbroken, I looked down, expecting to see the ooey, gooey object of my longing covered with countless nasty things from the floorboard. But then I found it! Instead of falling to the land of the No-Second Rule, the Spudnut rested in the space between my seat and the door, miraculously not touching anything disgusting. After close examination, I declared it worthy of consumption, and I enjoyed the last bite of my Spudnut cinnamon roll. Mmmm, delicious. Then a thought interrupted my moment of glucose-induced bliss:

God has no Five-Second Rule.

At first glance, that may seem condemning. “Of course,” you might think, “God is judgmental and angry, like a dad I can never please. I’ve messed up so many times; there’s no way He would ever want me.” But that’s not the point at all. No, quite on the contrary. God doesn’t have a Five-Second Rule; He has a Five-MILLION Second Rule!!!

You see, God loves you. Even though you’ve messed up. In fact, the Bible says that God proves His love by sending Christ to die for us while we were sinners. He doesn’t look for people who are perfect; He’s not interested in the trophies in your case or the zeroes at the end of your paycheck; He wants you.  Exactly as you are. No matter what you’ve done. No matter where you’ve been. If you have Jesus Christ as your Savior, nothing, I repeat nothing, can separate you from His love. It’s too unwavering, too unconditional, too unconventional and too unrelenting. You may feel like squished pea on the floor; even if you weren’t stuck to the ground, no one would want you anyway. But that’s not how your Heavenly Father sees you. To Him, you’re the center of the cinnamon roll, the most important thing on His plate, so to speak. He cares about you more than you can even imagine, and He isn’t going to let you go. So quit running away, quit making excuses, and quit buying into the enemy’s lies and run. Run to Him. Cry out to Him. Ask Him to pick you up again.

And when you do, you’ll see something amazing: He’s been holding you all along. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “The Five (Million) Second Rule

  1. Steffi!!! I started checking out your blog because you posted the link on twitter. But then decided to go a few back and landed here. I miss you!! These last few post have made me a little teary eyed because your voice is so strong in them, it’s like we’re having a conversation but you’re doing all the talking. 🙂 I love you Steffi and have just been super encouraged by your last few posts. The way you write is just so you and I love it 🙂 though at times I may need to look up a Latin word (and to be honest, some English words as well, that are too advanced for my vocabulary) or a reference to Churchill. But the way you write is just so fun. The way you take your everyday stuff and plug it into Bible stuff is super cool. Sorry if this comment has gotten ridiculously long. I may have tried to be a blogger at the Institute but that failed and with it the etiquette of the blogging world, hence the long comment.
    Anyways, the reason for me commenting here and not the last few posts which were great (and I did go read Romans 8 by the way and had to just sit in awe for awhile at how great our God is) is that I love the five-second rule, but use it more to justify eating food that has fallen on the floor and not to disqualify it. The five second rule is good but then if your food has been on the floor longer you just bump up the time so you can still eat whatever delicious thing has fallen. But this five second rule justification only needs to be said out loud when I’m around people that will be grossed out when I eat a cookie off the floor that has been there for a few minutes or longer. My dad likes to say “it fell on a napkin” which my grandma used to say when he was growing up because they were really poor and couldn’t waste food. I don’t use this saying though because there are surfaces that I will not eat off of. But for the most part when something delicious falls on the floor no rules come to mind just thoughts of how delicious my next few moments will be, because I love food! (Did you ever hear how I prayed/ didn’t pray for chips while at the Institute? Thats a funny God story.)
    Anyways, it was fun reading your blog and hearing that God has a five second rule more like me. Ok one more thing before I go… A few weeks ago my sister and her friends were hanging out in her room so I went in to go talk to her and while having a conversation I see a pink candy shaped object lying on the floor, but finish the conversation and leave. Then maybe an hour later I go back in to tell her something else but get distracted when I notice that the pink candy shaped object is still there and has not been eaten yet. So I quickly ask “Is that a candy? And can I have it?” But before anybody could give a response the candy was in my mouth then quickly back in my hand because it was not full of chocolatey goodness like I had imagined, but it was bitter more like tums or something. My sisters’ friends all laughed at this but I left the room rather disappointed that I didn’t get my taste of chocolatey goodness I was hoping for. I also tend to put cookies in my jacket pockets and other places they don’t belong, but I think this rambling comment has gone on long enough.
    Steffi, thanks again for you and your awesome blog and that you continually allow Christ to mold and shape you into His image. Love you girl!!

    -Erica

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