My daughter posted to my Facebook wall last night with this:

As I was reading Green Eggs and Ham to Lilli, she told me I wasn’t reading it correctly, and “that’s not how Mimmie reads the words.” Um, I was just reading the text; what are you doing???

After I had a good chuckle, I told her that I was pretty animated with it, and sped up during the long rhyming parts, which she tried, only to get…

Stop Mommy! Not like THAT!

The problem with Green Eggs and Ham is that I introduced her to that book. We read it here at my house, first, over and over on one of her visits, and then I brought it to Florida and let her keep it there for us to read on my next visit. That’s sort of been “our book,” so this whole debacle from last night doesn’t really surprise me.  After all, substitutions can often disappoint.

And they really can, can’t they? Substitutions for anything can often find the result lacking. Not long ago, I realized I’d forgotten to pick up an ingredient for a recipe at the store, and because I live on the edge of nowhere, I decided to consult the Google for a possible substitute. Let me just say that good ol’ Goog totally let me down. I also tried using a different type of screw in a project, recently, as the one required was no where to be found. The result was disastrous.

More seriously, however, I also find myself substituting other things for God. If you’re honest, you do it, too. You might be tempted to think that forming “idols” is just for the addicted, but think again. Our focus can easily shift to other things that take precedence over Him, like TV, for instance, or food, exercise, social media, our work, our kids…the list is endless. Kelly Minter, author of No Other Gods defines an idol like this:

[An idol is] something other than God that we set our heart on, that motivates us, masters and rules us, or that we trust or serve.

I don’t know about you, but within those guidelines, I have quite a few dusty substitutions sitting on my shelf.

If I’m honest, even the good and worthy ones can leave me feeling a little lacking because they’re all founded on me, and my own humanness.

And you know what?

My own humanness is a very poor substitute for the omniscient, omnipresent, all-encompassing God.

From now on, I think Green Eggs and Ham will just be Lilli’s and Mimmie’s book alone. And I think I’ll work on cleaning off that cluttered shelf in my heart, too. There really should be no room for substitutes.


I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:2-5 NIV

God, your name is eternal,
    God, you’ll never be out-of-date.
God stands up for his people,
    God holds the hands of his people.
The gods of the godless nations are mere trinkets,
    made for quick sale in the markets:
Chiseled mouths that can’t talk,
    painted eyes that can’t see,
Carved ears that can’t hear—
    dead wood! cold metal!
Those who make and trust them
    become like them.” Psalm 135:15-17 MSG

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Romans 1:21-23 ESV