Peanut Butter Days

I was 20 years old.  The world seemed big and bright to this wide-eyed small town girl from Northern Wisconsin.  I had already spent two years 1000 miles away from home beginning my education and now was taking one of the greatest risks yet.  I was loading up my 1992 4-door burgundy Saturn named “Alice” and we were moving to music city.  I had landed my dream job… or more accurately my dream opportunity – the chance to work for FREE for the company I had dreamed of working for since I was 13 years old.

That season of my life is remarkably vivid even 14 years later.  I was interning at the company I dreamed of working for.  I was living in the city that I’d always wanted to move to.  I was working two part-time jobs to make my rent payment.  I was dirt poor… and totally happy!

I fondly refer to those days as my “peanut butter days”.  Peanut butter days because, seriously that’s all I lived on!  I would literally walk into the grocery store with a budget of $20, buy a big jar of peanut butter, a loaf of bread, and a few other essentials like soap and toothpaste and live off of that for a week or so.

But in spite of my limited resources, I saw God’s provision, His favor and His blessing all over my life. It was one of the most exciting seasons of my life and also one of the most stretching.

You’ve probably experienced peanut butter days too…

… Maybe it was when you went off to college and lived off of Ramen Noodles because all your money went into tuition and books

… Maybe it was when you were newly married, sharing one car without AC, but giddy in love

… Maybe it was when you decided to start a family and to live off of one income, complete with coupon clipping and strategic meal planning

I would venture to guess that most of us have experienced “peanut butter days”.   We not only experience peanut butter days in our personal lives, but organizations also have their share of peanut butter days.  And although we all would rather avoid these days (or seasons), I think peanut butter days can be important for you and your team to lead and learn through.

Peanut Butter Days:

  1. Remind us of God’s provision. We’re much more tuned into the little blessings.  Perhaps someone gives you a gift card, an unexpected check in the mail, etc.  It means more when you need it most.
  2. Breed creativity. Limited resources draw out unique ideas and new ways of accomplishing goals.
  3. Keep us focused on what’s most important. You don’t take for granted the things that really matter like friendships, family and what God is growing in you.
  4. Can unify and unite a family or a team if we choose to lean into one another.

Don’t be afraid of the peanut butter days.  Embrace them.  Lead through them.  Learn from them.

They are a greater gift than you may even know.

What’s your “peanut butter days” story?

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  • Lindsey_Nobles June 22, 2010  

    Love this…

  • morgsmsquared June 22, 2010  

    Your name of Peanut Butter Days is a lot more fun than my Oodles of Noodles days where sometimes I would even hit the Top Ramen for breakfast if the milk smelled funny that day. I can remember 3 major times in my life where I lived on the absolute bare minimum: the one year of college I did in Wyoming, when I moved to Texas from Alaska at age 20, and then nearly 4 years ago when I moved to Nashville from Virginia. Nashville was this sparkly and exciting city that I too had dreamed of living in. I played too hard when I got here, and it took working 4 jobs at one point and having my power shut off to really open my eyes. It's been a long, slow, uphill climb that I wouldn't trade for the world. God has humbled me many times and for that I'm thankful and much more appreciative of the small blessings that show up in my life.

    • jcatron June 22, 2010  

      I like "Oodles of Noodles" too 😉 Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Nicole Unice June 22, 2010  

    I've experienced the best peanut butter days through the experience of being "all in" with a new church. When we needed to raise a million dollars in about three weeks. When we gathered in living rooms and talked about our hearts and about giving sacrificially. There was such a sweet sense of community, of gathering together and choosing a different, less comfortable path for the sake of a vision much greater than ourselves. I didn't know that I'd look back at those days with such fondness!

    • jcatron June 22, 2010  

      Those are such exciting seasons Nicole!

  • Nick Henderson June 22, 2010  

    I have completely been there before – there were days I was glad to have a hotdog to eat for lunch, but I saw more provision from God those days then I often see when I am sitting fat and all good. It reminds me that not matter where I am at in life, I give Glory to God and not matter where I am at he is the provider not me.
    thanks for the blog.

    • jcatron June 22, 2010  

      It's amazing how quickly I lose site of God's provision the more stuff I have.

  • Curt Harding June 22, 2010  

    Great post! What amazes me about my "peanut butter days" is that I never gave God a second thought in those days. Funny he was carrying me and I wasn't even acknowledging Him. I said thank you today. I don;t think he cares that it's been 25 years. 🙂

    • jcatron June 22, 2010  

      Sometimes it takes awhile to realize all that we learned in those seasons. Thanks for joining the discussion Curt!

  • brewster June 22, 2010  

    I lived on the floor in Jay King and JD Webbs apartment. I remember calling my mom the first day I was in Nashville from a pay phone (dated) and breaking down. God always reminds us of those times so we can be thankful for the "stuff" He blesses us with, always.

    • jcatron June 22, 2010  

      So true!

  • Laura Anne June 22, 2010  

    2007 began my peanut butter days, as I began to realise that the journey God had taken me on to bring me back to my home city was not to come and have a wonderful full-time job, but to do what I'd been expecting to do part-time with a whole lot of family drama (my Dad and stepmother ran off to another country and left me with almost £2000 bills to pay) and over the last few years I've had to live without dental care, got to South Africa (God's provision amazing), and am unbelievably thankful for the NHS healthcare system in the UK! Most importantly over the last 3 years I have been learning the difference between my 'wants' and my 'needs'.

    I can't say that it has been happy or easy, but certainly I've known that this is where God wants me to be.

    So I guess I'm still in my peanut butter days! Though it's more 'pasta days' for me 🙂