How Come You Put the Peanut Butter on First?

by Rachel


WHAT? How come I put the peanut butter on first? 

This morning, as I was making my son, Brennan, a sandwich, he looked up at me and asked me the peanut butter order question.  As I stood there with a knife loaded with peanut butter, I didn’t know what to say. I had never thought about why I put the peanut butter on before the jelly. I’ve just always done it that way.

So I told him that I didn’t know and that’s the way I always do it. 

His response? “Maybe you could try to do the jelly first sometime?”  My jaw dropped. Do the jelly first? How does that work?

Putting the peanut butter on first is a habit. Not only is it a habit, but it is one that I don’t ever think about why I do it. Certainly in the scheme of life it’s a very little thing, but my son’s comments allowed me to ponder my choices and responses. 

Think about this: there are good habits and habits that need to be re-examined. A good habit would be daily waking up and giving over the day and anxieties to our Lord. A bad habit, for me, would be sitting down at the computer in the morning and frittering away time, and then starting late and allowing my own lack of time management set the tone for the day. In that instance, I need to re-evaluate why that pattern is one that I follow.

It’s so easy to go through life on auto-pilot. We dash here and there, we shout out answers, we are busy.

My encouragement for you is to look at your life and to identify patterns of your own.  Do you have any “peanut butter on first” responses?  The Lord is good – He will help you discover them.  More than that, with Him you can develop a new pattern.  And maybe, just maybe, it involves putting the jelly on first.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit,

and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Galatians 5:16 (NIV)

Email Author    |    Website About Rachel

Rachel Martin is a wife to a fabulous cancer-surviving husband, and a homeschooling mother to seven amazing children. Her days are filled with diaper changes to algebra to helping run a local home school association. Her blog Finding Joy chronicles her journey of faith, daily life with seven children, and the humor of every day. She strives to be real, raw, funny, and encouraging -- make sure to visit her blog or follow her on facebook.

View all articles by


This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you support this site. Thank you!
See our Disclosure Policy for details.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbie January 4, 2011 at 1:35 am

My entire life is a pattern and very routine. Day in and day out. I am going to ask God to open my eyes to those patterns and allow Him to change the order if He desires! Thank you for this post my friend!


2 Rachel January 4, 2011 at 7:26 am

Thanks, Barbie!

Ever since writing this I catch myself while I am making a pbj — which is almost every day — and tend to force myself to start with the jam. It’s an interesting thing how the Lord speaks to us in our every day life.



3 Kimberly January 4, 2011 at 7:50 am

It is definitely intersting how He can grab our attention through little things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 🙂 And it is definitely easy to walk through each day on auto-pilot.

One of my desires for this year is to be more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I won’t be surprised if He has something to say about some of my habits.

Thanks for this!


4 Tricia January 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm

This is an amazing eye opener. I am creating some routines and schedules right now and this came at the first time.

Thank you for this and for lighting a little fire under me and allowing me to open my heart and my eyes and helping me find those little time wasters…


5 Beth January 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Kids really do say the darndest things!

It’s so easy to get caught in a rut. I think we should purposely change things up on a regular basis to keep things fresh, and to in the proper perspective.

Great post!


6 Val Garner January 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm

That is SO good. Kids really come up with something and make you think, don’t they? It’s why I have a difficult time teaching them about God, they can so much baffle you at any point, if you really stop and think what they’re asking.


7 Carol Hatcher January 6, 2011 at 11:54 am

This really spoke to me Rachel! I need to sit down and do a little reflecting with God. Thanks for this great lesson. I won’t make a PB&J without thinking about your story. 🙂


8 Junglewife January 7, 2011 at 6:30 am

I agree with all the above comments, BUT… sometimes we do things the way we do them (out of habit or not) for a reason. I also put the peanut butter on first – first on BOTH pieces of bread. That way the pb forms a sort of barrier between the bread and the jelly so that the bread doesn’t get soggy. So, I agree with you, but don’t throw out a habit just because it’s a habit. DO think about it, but keep the ones that are worth keeping, even while you are re-thinking the ones that need re-thinking 🙂


9 Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) January 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I love the way kids question the world — and the way we approach it! And I love that none of us will ever make a pbj sandwich without thinking of you and this post! 🙂


10 Joy Jackson January 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Wow! Exactly what I needed to read. I agree with Carol above…I’ll now think of your son’s comments each time I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I guess you weren’t expecting God to use your son in a way that would touch other mom’s hearts. God is so good!


11 Lorie Shewbridge January 9, 2011 at 2:08 am

I’m with Janice, I will never look at making a PB&J sandwich the same again. This is truly a wonderful post, I definitely need to examine my routine and ways to let God guide me more.
Although I know that I will never put the jelly on first… my OCD won’t let me. 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend.


12 Rebecca C January 12, 2011 at 8:36 pm

There is a very good reason to put the pb on first, if you use a squeeze bottle for jelly. If you spread the jam first, it dirties the knife so you can’t dip it in the peanut butter jar.

Very good post. 🙂


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: