Granted, it was St. Patrick's Day when most wear green and talk shamrocks and leprechauns for the day. However with Italian relatives extending a dinner invite before our weary family trekked 300 miles back home, I assumed we'd be eatingItalian. All morning my mind partnered with my stomach and together they concocted a great menu: garlic bread, lasagna, salad with homemade dressing, ziti and sauce chocked with so much meat my cholesterol rose imagining the simmering pot.
I walked in their kitchen, eyes wide open and took a whiff. My gut repulsed at the smell. Cabbage. Corned beef. Not a sauce or salad in sight. My meal wasn't quite what I expected. It spoiled the rest of my day and definitely made for a long trip home!
I believe surprise menu choices aren't the only area where expectations fall. There are people we love, respect and look up to that we desperately await a serving of lasagna-type praise. Instead, the plate we find before us is filled with foul smelling cabbage.
For instance, many of us can relate to loving our parents and we're excited to share our report card. With a cursory glance and a sigh it's handed back with the bland response,
"Nice job. How come you didn't get all A+'s?"
There isn't much to savor when we're criticized or discouraged. Most people we love don't wake up and decide to dash our dreams with the curse of their words. Usually they have been served their own corned beef where the typical reaction during a dinner is to pass the plate and keep serving the food. Words like lazy, ugly, stupid, no good, ignorant, and clumsy are sadly passed around as often as salt during meal time. Worse yet, those offerings sting as much as salt on an open wound. Time doesn't help, nor does the ridiculous phrase that 'sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us.' Too many negative words tossed our way and we can leave the dinner table smelling like Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoon.
Is it possible to overcome a lifetime of meals where the menu every time was a fresh plate of discouragement? Absolutely! Grab a new plate called His Word. No matter what meal is on special at your home, school or place of work, grab the Bible and dig in. The appetizer, meal and dessert are all from the Master Chef. His words are always special. When you receive anything discouraging or negative, toss it off that new plate. As it states in 2 Corinthians 10:5:
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
As diners, we're special, beloved and heirs. Just because we've been served the corned beef and cabbage surprises of life doesn't mean we have to eat it.
May this prayer be a tasty morsel to chew on as you enjoy this day:
"Lord Jesus, continue to be my Master Chef who helps me push away the discouraging meals and instead feast on the scrumptious truth found in Your Word. Every day I'm your special of the day. Thank You Jesus for loving me. Amen."
(Scripture taken from the NIV Bible)
Julie Arduini, http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com/, is devoted to writing for Christ in ways that encourage and inspire. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, her writing resume is on her blog's sidebar. Happily married to Tom, they have two children.