A Thankful Heart
By Lisa Bell
I quit. Look at all the things I do. No one appreciates me and frankly, I’m tired of giving and never getting anything in return. Humpf. Let me just stop taking care of everyone and everything and see how much they miss me then. Maybe if I just up and leave, then they’ll appreciate me.
For once, I have a common bond with women all over the world. Surely, other women feel unappreciated, unnoticed, and unloved. Other women sail along in this same boat – or at least a matching one. The holidays approach and I have so many tasks on my to-do list. How will I ever accomplish all of them? An already busy schedule explodes into unachievable and I push myself beyond human limitations.
I really do love the holidays –the preparations and expectations – children coming home and everyone gathering in love and thankfulness for so many blessings. Still, I get so focused on stuff that my heart feels anything but thankful. Now how did that sneak up on me?
Help! Quick! I need a recipe to restore a thankful heart!
First, take a cup of spiritual renewal. As I set priorities and put my time with the Lord at the very top of the shopping list, everything else falls into line. Okay, maybe that one pie never makes the journey from mental conception to the windowsill, but guess what. No one notices.
Next, prepare ahead of time and share the load. I never think about chopping, dicing, and slicing before I actually start creating some wonderful dish. That simple change of behavior relieves mounds of stress on the big day. I can ask for help from whoever dares enter my kitchen, and guests sometimes enjoy bringing their favorite dish. I feel frustrated because no one helps only to realize I never ask. Could that be a dash of pride getting in the way and puffing me up? Hmmm….not a very tasty spice in any dish.
Add simplicity. Small touches – a sprig of parsley or paprika on the deviled eggs – bring a touch of flair without spending hours on elaborate gourmet dishes. In truth, my family’s favorite foods most often are the simplest to prepare. Think outside of the box especially for the other meals of the weekend. Go for light and easy.
Remove the floaters of myself. (Those little unappetizing pieces of me float to the top of a great soup and ruin the ambiance of gourmet cooking.) When my own needs and emotions overtake my thoughts, I lose sight of why I’m going to all this trouble. The resulting selfishness leaves the worst aftertaste and no one wants seconds.
Infuse the mixture with a servant’s heart. Oh, if I can just see that this scrumptious meal is an offering of worship and a delightful opportunity to honor my King by serving others, my attitude changes completely. Praise and worship music played during the arduous preparations keeps my focus on Him and I soon forget that I’m working. Make it all about Him and the little things matter far less.
Finally, eliminate the side of perfectionism. It is highly overrated. My table decorations and food may look beautiful, but if served with grumpiness because some new recipe failed or my pressure cooker exploded from stress, the entire celebration tastes bitter and even the least distinguished palate cringes in disgust.
Serve with thanksgiving to the Creator. Without Him, my efforts belong in the trash heap. As a host, I set the tone for my family and friends. Perhaps I’m unappreciated because I show little appreciation for others and even less for the Lord. Wonder beyond wonders…my thankfulness spills over onto those around me and the tummy pats and moans of fullness tell me all I need to know. They do love me and still deeply appreciate my cooking.