This week has been a particularly busy week. We only got to share one whole family meal between last Sunday and next Sunday. I was in the middle of preparing a fancy spread. Okay, it was meatloaf and ketchup. I gave Richard a call to check on his arrival status, and he was running late. Now, I am going to confess something. Some nights I have all kinds of grace for my husband working late, but most nights when it happens I get flat out aggravated. It’s something I need to work on, I know this. That night, as I hung up the phone with him, I could literally see myself at the crossroads – do I stay calm or do I get upset?? Then, light bulb! I have a warming drawer in the bottom of my oven. This is my first oven to have one, so I rarely think to use it. What a great invention. I had lots of extra time to “top chef” my side dishes instead of just steaming vegetables. Everything looked so good we had to upgrade the meatloaf to barbecue sauce instead of ketchup. And, I had to take a picture. It’s the prettiest meatloaf dinner I ever made.
This little story does have a deeper lesson for me. I am a planner and an organizer. Once I have my plans made, I expect them to be carried out in just the way I’ve intended. I can be extremely inflexible. In my current bible study we are learning about Jonah (boat, storm, big fish – that one). The focus for me has been how to welcome divine interventions in my life with an attitude that serves God’s purposes and not my own. I need to desire His results, not my own. There is a difference between ownership and management. I can really relate to Priscilla Shirer as she writes, “Jonah is a quintessential picture of a person who serves God and yet still seeks to hold the title role in his story…Jonah had done what we often do – take ownership of that which we’ve only been asked to manage…We receive a gift from God and subconsciously take ownership of it. We become disgruntled when God tells us to use it in a way we hadn’t planned.” (Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted p.24)
What does this have to do with meatloaf? Well, for me it breaks down like this. God gave me the ability to make meatloaf and serve it to my family. I decide I am going to do that at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday night and Richard, Caroline, Martha Claire and William will eat it. If something comes along like Richard working late, my plans get interrupted, and I have a tendency to get mad and frustrated that it is not working out my way. I am not looking for the opportunity that the interruption has presented. On Tuesday the interruption of Richard’s working late gave me the opportunity to prepare something much more tasty and beautiful than the meal that was originally intended. What if the interruption was a hungry neighbor, and we got the opportunity to serve and fellowship with them. And, that’s just some interrupted meatloaf. God has interrupted our lives for much larger opportunities than dinner. Sometimes we can take our current plan and put it in the warming drawer for later, and the final product ends up way better than it originally would have turned out. Sometimes we have to scrap our current plan altogether. The important thing is that we having the willingness to follow God’s “recipe” and design and not our own. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)