Monday, September 20, 2010

Chili Theology

Well, I really, really, really didn't want to clean my house today. But then I remembered "humility" and that I was supposed to be a servant, and I thought, "what a better way to show servitude than to clean up the messy house for my family." So I did. To tell you the truth, though, it wasn't the servant attitude that kept me going all morning long, it was the bagel calling my name at the finish line--my beloved Panera.

That, however, has nothing to do with what I wanted to tell you this fine evening. It just kind of snuck in their for some reason. Here's the little tidbit I intended to share:

The other night, we were going to have chili for the second night in a row and I put the pot on the stove to heat it up. Of course I turned the burner to high; I am impatient and I like to heat my food fast. I then proceeded to get the rest of the meal ready--forgetting that I put the soup on HIGH. And guess what, next thing I know, my soup is boiling--and burning. Because I am proud and I don't like people to say I am a bad cook, I quickly turned the soup off , stirred it up and tried to fish out all the little black specks now floating on the top. Despite my meticulous efforts, I could not get all of the burned pieces and I tried to push them down to the bottom. This didn't work very well. Now painfully aware of the obvious fact that I was a bad and distracted cook tonight (and tonight only...OK, I'm mostly kidding), I ladeled out the soup to my family and said, in my most Julia Child-like, nonchalant way, "Just ignore the burnt spots and enjoy!"

And you know what? They did. And they didn't say anything about how burnt it tasted either. They just spooned it in, as if it were excellent, and enjoyed the pleasant conversation. I was very pleased...and relieved. It was easy for them to ignore the burnt spots--why was I focusing so much of my energy on them? Why couldn't I ignore the burnt spots too?

I find myself acting this way with my own burnt spots. I have lots of imperfections--things I don't do well. I worry about what these burnt spots will say to others, so I try to hide them by pushing them to the bottom and covering them with feigned confidence. What if I stopped trying to cover my weaknesses? What if I just let them float to the top? "That's really me--the authentic, and sometimes not-quite-right, Tori." If I just let my burnt spots give me personality, maybe I could freely engage with others--and not worry about their judgement of me--or my evaluation of them (and their burnt spots) and I would be able to say, in my most Christ-like way, "Let's just ignore the burnt spots and enjoy!"

I think God would like that. Don't you?

" 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

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