Lessons from a tube of toothpaste

Updated: Jan 24

I brushed my teeth this morning and I realized that I am just like a bag of chips.


I opened a new tube of toothpaste and it was half empty. Even the toothpaste companies have succumbed to the art of providing half the product for full price, just like bags of chips. Opening something new should be exciting (maybe exciting is too strong of a word for opening a tube of toothpaste, but hey, it’s the little things in life, right?), but how disappointing is it to find that your new toothpaste or chips or anything else is only half of what you were expecting?


I haven’t been around for that long, but in my time I have noticed this epidemic — we just don’t seem to get what we pay for. We are getting gypped!


But we aren’t just getting gypped in the marketplace. The chip and toothpaste companies are not the only swindlers in our society. I don’t think it’s too far fetched to say each one of us is guilty of being a swindler.


I am Calli Townsend, and I am a bag of chips.


On the outside, a bag of chips promises a full bag of salty, flavorful goodness, but when opened, we find half of what we paid for is just air. One time, my friend got chips without any flavor. No salt, no spices, nothing. She did call the company and got a huge box of chips as an apology, though, so it wasn’t a complete loss.


I try to talk to grown ups with my best, polite manners, but I often talk to my brothers with my barely present, annoyed attitude.


I can write inspiring and thoughtful words, but I can also say discouraging and rash ones.


I might post a picture of Chance and me looking all cute and happy, but I know that minutes after the photo is taken, I very easily could be upset with him.


I’m reading this book called Everybody, Always by Bob Goff. It’s an incredibly challenging book about loving everybody all the time. I know, that’s a lot to ask for, but he makes it sound worth it. I’m going to give it a try, but we’ll see how long that lasts. But anyways, in this book he shares his own struggle with impatience.


“I’m always in a hurry,” he writes. “I put on my socks two at a time. I lace up my tennis shoes while I run to save save a couple of minutes. I order sushi at restaurants so I don’t have to wait for them to cook the fish — and I don’t even like sushi. When I’m not in a hurry, I spend my time being impatient. It’s so extreme, sometimes I think I make coffee nervous.”


I don’t think there was another paragraph in that book I related to more strongly. To combat his impatience, he literally carried around a bucket and metaphorically filled it with patience. He had just spoken at a church and was heading back to the airport when the guy working in the car rental return place was moving as a snail’s pace.

Bob got really frustrated, really fast. But he looked at his bucket and when he got to the front of the line, he spoke kindly to this man instead of telling him what a snail he was.

And you know what that guy said?


He told Bob that he really enjoyed his message at church earlier that morning.


It’s a good thing Bob didn’t tell that man what he was really thinking. In that moment, the Bob on the stage who seemed so inspiring and loving matched the Bob painstakingly waiting in the car rental return line. And if the two didn’t match, the message he shared earlier would’ve lost all credibility with that man.


Each of our lives shares a message. Often times, we try to make that message be one of goodness, love, and patience. We like to let everyone believe we’ve got it all together. I keep my room super clean, but I shove a majority of my clothes on the bottom of my trundle bed where the mattress used to be.


The message we share whether it’s in the form of a social media post, speaking from a stage, or talking to a person in the grocery store, carries far greater weight when we actually live it out. As Christ followers, we carry His message, but do our actions match His?


I’m not saying you have to be perfect. I’m saying let your product match what you’re advertising, and try your best to put your best product out on the marketplace.

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© 2020 by Calli Townsend.