I was feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed yesterday, having taken on too much (as usual), and felt for a few minutes like I’m no good at anything I try to do. The house was a mess, K was fussy, it’s like slogging through mud to finish my work projects, I sent my birthday invites wicked late… Contrast that with this morning, when, as I loaded boxes of food into the car, I felt peaceful and calm and thought, “I am really good at feeding people!”
A couple years ago, Matthew and I led a Vision Seminar for the college and career group at our church, challenging them to find what it is God has planned for them to do with the gifts He’s given them and then do it. That process begins with considering your talents. We used the excellent series of questions in the book More Than You and Me by Kevin and Karen Miller (who might just happen to be related to us). The book is out of print, but you can get used copies on half.com. (It’s the best marriage book we’ve ever read, and I’m not just saying that because Matthew’s aunt and uncle wrote it. If you’re married or planning to be married, read it! It’ll change your marriage and your life.)The questions help you examine how God might have uniquely gifted you for serving other people. (Questions like: what can you do for long periods of time without getting tired? What can you fail at and then, instead of getting discouraged, try it again?)
I looked over my answers when I was done and realized that in some form or another, “cooking” was involved in every single one. I took the hint and joined the meal team at church.
I’ve also found other ways to serve people through food, starting with my own family. I love cooking for my husband and packing tasty lunches for him (and it works out really well – he enjoys EATING!), and I feel very blessed to be still almost-exclusively-breastfeeding my seven-month-old (which gives “feeding people” a whole new and much more personal meaning!).
Just this week, I’ve been able to contribute to our grocery bill by cooking for our upstairs neighbor, a young bachelor friend of Matthew. Boomer was spending exorbitant amounts of money eating out every day, so Matthew worked a deal where I pack a lunch and dinner for Boomer to take to work every day, and he pays … well, now that I think about it, pretty much half our weekly grocery bill. (He eats a LOT…he’s a big guy, and he does manual labor.) It saves him money and helps us out a ton.
This morning I was able to bring a meal to a couple in our Centering Group (couples in our midwifery practice who had babies in October – we get together once a month); the husband had a major accident at work and is recuperating. I also got to bring a meal to a couple in our newlyweds Sunday School class; the wife has mono. This weekend, we’re having a couple families over for pizza Friday night, our pastor is coming over on Saturday morning for brunch to talk about where we’re at in our preparation for joining Wycliffe and how our church can help, and on Saturday afternoon I’m hostessing a table at the annual Women’s Tea.
There are many things I struggle with doing, feel overwhelmed by, or fail at. Feeding people is not usually one of them. I like having something I can do that’s a tangible way to bless people, to connect with people, to facilitate relationships and communication.I don’t say all this to toot my own horn. I mention these anecdotes to spark your thinking…what are YOU really good at, and how could you use it to serve people in a way that comes naturally to you, rather than struggling to do things you’re not gifted to do?