The breakfast parable


Food, Walking with Jesus / Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Thank you so much for your responses! I am in email dialogue with a few of you.

Computing… Computing…

Compiling…

Soon, some more thoughts on blogging. For tonight, Jesus is telling me to publish this, for one of you.

*****

What does complete surrender look like?

I always thought it meant an open book. An empty plate. A flat hand. The flip of a coin. I can do this, or I can do that. Yes, Lord, yes.

The problem is, I am rarely in such a position. In fact, in all areas of importance that I can think of, and many of unimportance, I start by CARING. Whom will I marry? When will I have another baby? What job shall I pursue? What church should I attend? What book shall I read next? What will I eat for breakfast?

I care!

(We will follow the breakfast analogy; it is less painful than the others.)

How I care!

Whether or not there is a distinction in God’s Will For My Life concerning scrambled eggs versus oatmeal with cinnamon on the morning of March 26th, there is certainly a distinction in my own.

a. I love scrambled eggs.
b. I woke up hungry for them.
c. I’m pretty sure God wants me to eat oatmeal with cinnamon.
d. I just have this feeling, you know?
e. And now I checked in my refrigerator and I’m all out of eggs, so…
f. I guess I will make oatmeal.
g. And He wants me to add cinnamon! Good grief. Nothing like spelling it out…
h. I wanted eggs.
i. I really wanted eggs.
j. Now that I have discovered the complete impossibility of eggs, it has become absolutely necessary for me to eat them. Now.

I used to think the only way to be completely surrendered was to achieve a spiritual state of neutrality. Well, Lord. I see that oatmeal with cinnamon is on the plate for the morning, so… I mean, I do LIKE oatmeal, and lots of people around the world are starving, so I gotta be grateful. (I would not admit even to myself that oatmeal tastes like sawdust to a mouth that’s watering for scrambled eggs.)

More difficult still is the morning when there is no breakfast in the cupboard at all, when, George-Müller-like, I sit at the table praying for provision, longing for eggs, trying to reconcile my mind to the possibility of oatmeal OR eggs OR nothing at all. There is a knock at the door. I jump up and open the door to discover it was my dog wanting in. I sit down and pray some more. A real knock this time, and I open the door to discover a plate of hot, creamy, aromatic breakfast on my mat.

It’s oatmeal.

With cinnamon.

It’s the cinnamon that gets me: God rubbing it in.

I have lived just long enough to discover one thing: It is no sacrilege at this moment to sit down upon the mat and cry—to take the plate upon my lap and baptize it with salty tears of loss and grief. It will become holy food.

That, more than anything, is complete surrender. Sitting on the doormat of miraculous provision, eating the first bite of tear-salted oatmeal

and letting it nourish.

17 Replies to “The breakfast parable”

  1. Wow, yes! Thank you so much for this analogy! I have been thinking about surrender quite a bit, as there are things in my life currently that are beyond my control or were never for me to control in the first place. 🙂 Thanks so much for these beautiful words!

  2. If I’m paraphrasing correctly, surrender is taking that which is, in my eyes, less than what I hoped for, and seeking nourishment in it. As an idealist, these are good words to hear. Solid admonition, if you will. I need to stop pining for eggs and put my fork in the oatmeal.

  3. . . .and my surrender this morning was to eat the egg all the while wishing for a hearty bowl of granola. . . or at least a bran muffin. Thanks, Shari, for giving us food for thought.

  4. Very well written. That’s something I’ve been thinking of lately too. Sometimes it’s so hard to trust God with my future, and to allow Him to work thru my life HOWEVER He chooses. I want what He wants, but somehow, it’s hard to surrender to that. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you for writing this! This helps me sort through some of the tough stuff. I felt like I had to “be ok” with what I knew couldn’t be ok or else I would just fight it tooth and nail. I’m sitting here crying finally because the grief is ok…when I grieve it opens the door for surrender to come. Thanks again!

  6. Ever wonder if it’s really ok to ask God for scrambled eggs……because 1) you’re fairly certain that nothing will change; you will keep eating oatmeal every morning for the rest of your life and 2) if he does give you eggs, you wonder if they are going to be all that eggs are “cracked up” to be?? (no pun intended) =) Hmm….having a hard time putting my spoon into the oatmeal….

    1. Thanks for making me laugh over your pun!

      It is always okay to ask. When I can cry about the oatmeal it saves my heart from the two scenarios you described: hopelessness (nothing will ever change) and sour grapes (it wouldn’t have been that great anyway), both of which can become a way of protecting myself from the pain.

      I’m not scolding; I’m right there too in my family’s efforts to foster a child, and I get exasperated with God in the whole “soft heart” idea—does He WANT me to keep hurting, or what? I think He wants me to keep hoping. Life situations are rarely as long term as they seem. If I’m going to be nourished, I must eat what’s on the plate for today, and trust that He serves good breakfasts. But the longing for eggs is okay, and there is always tomorrow…

  7. Much food for thought. I have not understood why the one thing I do not have is the one thing i really want. Surrendering does not necessarily make a person feel all holy and cozy,but it is a necessary process to mature our walk with the Lord. Thanks for doing what God asked you to do!

  8. But, but, but… how do you know whether the discontent you are feeling means that you need to surrender or means that you are in the wrong place? Sigh. I guess that if it comes from God, it’s time to surrender. Thank you for the tangible illustration of surrender!

    1. Brave question!

      Sometimes we talk about “holy discontent,” which is what the people of God often feel in a broken world: all is not as it should be! And sometimes a stirring of more focused discontent can be God’s way of preparing us for an upcoming transition. But it shouldn’t become our habitual mindset toward life, or it will begin to sour every good gift we receive.

      I’m not sure it’s possible for a child of God to be in the wrong place, except by a direct act of rebellion. He has laid out the lines of your life and walks with you in it… There is no better place than here to trust His leading and celebrate His presence.

      1. There is something comforting about asking a question that has been on your mind, and receiving a quick, sensible, thoughtful answer. =) Thank you!

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