I have a confession to make. I am probably the least risky person I know. In fact, taking risks feels terrifying to me. I like the illusion (or delusion) that I am 100% in control at all times. I plan for the future, I stay away from dangerous places and dangerous people, and I don’t try things that could lead to failure. And I used to be proud of that. It made my life simple and predictable. I may have even thought it a righteous way to live to some degree. Turns out, I’ve been wrong.
As God has me on an incredibly unpredictable ride currently, I’m coming to realize my simple and predictable outlook may have caused me to miss out on some great adventures. It is likely there have been amazing people in my path who could’ve been blessings to me or at the very least taught me some things had I not so often avoided those who didn’t live like me or think like me. It seems my simple and predictable outlook might also be translated as boring and limited. Or even worse…unfaithful.
What has me thinking such deep thoughts this morning? My china cabinet. Yes, you read that right…my china cabinet.
We are getting some new flooring this week. After 20 years of living in a home, there are some necessary upgrades that must occur and money that must be spent (also something I have a hard time doing…letting go of large sums of money.) Often, in order to get to the fun of having something new, there are a few days of living in a big mess in order to make it happen. Part of that mess for us this week includes having all of the contents of our china cabinet sprawled across the kitchen counters so the cabinet could be safely moved in order to get flooring underneath it.
My husband and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this year. Almost all of the china and crystal was given to us as wedding gifts in 1991. It’s beautiful and delicate. I still adore the pattern. However, I’ve used the dishes one time and I’ve never used the crystal. I laughed to myself as I noticed there are still stickers on the crystal glasses – 30 years later.
I guess one argument might be that purchasing china is a frivolous and unnecessary purchase. I think in my case that could be fair to say. Another might be that I clearly don’t invite guests to my home often enough or when I do, I don’t provide a luxurious experience…fair as well.
But what I couldn’t help thinking with the careful counter-top placement of every dish and every glass is “what am I waiting for?” What occasion or event or guest would warrant the use of the china? What would make a day so special that the dishes which have safely been displayed in a closed cabinet for 30 years can make their debut? And in that moment, I literally said aloud, “Use the dang china!” In fact, I am telling you right now that our first meal will be served on that china once these floors are installed and the house is “put back together”. It may be grilled cheese or take-out pizza, but we will enjoy it on the china.
Maybe it’s my age? Maybe it’s RV living? Maybe it’s watching a dear friend fight an intense battle with cancer that threatens every moment for her? Maybe it’s the last year we’ve lived through? Maybe it’s studying the hospitality culture of Jesus’ day through Kristi McClelland’s “Jesus and Women” study? Or maybe I’m just realizing more about what really matters? But I have decided that I want my mantra the rest of this year to be “Use the dang china!” And along with that I hope to take the trips. Maybe take some risks? Say the things I need to say to the people I love. Love and learn from those who are different from me. Stop putting things on shelves for a day that may never come. And, most importantly, make sure that I am secure in the one thing that is eternal…my relationship with Jesus Christ.
I don’t know where life has you right now. Maybe you are just starting your adult life and you have no idea what the future might hold? Maybe you are parenting small children and are doing all you can just to get through a day? Maybe you have teenagers who are testing your faith regularly? Maybe you desperately want something and it seems that the Lord is not hearing your prayers? Maybe you are in a job you hate or no longer have any passion towards? Maybe, your story is completely different from mine and you’ve taken so many risks that everything feels uncertain? Whatever the case may be, you are seen and loved…just as you are… by a God who sees and knows. He wants to bless you and give you the desires of your heart, when you surrender your heart fully to Him. Let go of your illusion of control and allow His will to direct your path. When we live lives fully surrendered to Him, we have the assurance that we can cease striving…trust His plan…and even “use the dang china” knowing that His blessings are being poured out onto us. Don't put off until tomorrow what you need to do today...especially if that decision is surrendering your heart to Jesus.
"I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." Jeremiah 29:11 (Message Translation)
Stephani Cook is a life coach, speaker, writer, podcast host and the creator of On Purpose Coaching. Through On Purpose Coaching she helps others to improve relationships and to discover intentional abundant living. She does that through group and/or individual coaching, live event speaking or Enneagram workshops in private and corporate settings.
To connect with Stephani about the possibility of coaching or speaking to your group or organization, visit her website http://www.stephanicook.org