Take chances. Abandon all the rules. Ditch the recipe. Color outside the lines.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Potato Salad People

A few fun facts about me:  I am passion driven; I am entirely too honest; I sometimes have no filter at all when it comes to being sensitive to people’s feelings; and I read people extremely quickly.  Some of those things are wonderful assets that make me the beautiful mess that I am, but they also create difficulties when it comes to relating to other people. 

Relating to some people comes extremely easy to me, I love the rebels, the broken, the dark horses, and the outcasts.  I share a kindred spirit with them; I understand their struggles.   I am quick to offer forgiveness and grace to them even when they hurt me. Other people… I struggle understanding.  These “others” I like to call my Potato Salad People.

I live in the south, so potato salad is an appropriate side dish for any and all occasions.  It’s really popular, southern people love potato salad.  I, however, do not.  It makes no sense!  Potato salad has all the makings of something wonderful: potatoes, mayo (or mustard), way too many calories, and even sometimes pickles! I should love potato salad, and so, any time I am somewhere where it is served, I try it.  Every single time, and every time it’s just as disgusting as I remember it to be. 

I desire whole heartedly to love and give grace to those who frustrate me.  I want to love those who are most unlovable.  I really want to like potato salad!

I love grace when I’m on the receiving end of it.  I love to take advantage of it, to bask in its glory, and am quick to lean on it when I fail (which is quite often).  I’m not always so great at grace when it comes to relating to potato salad people, though.  I admittedly have a shorter temper, I am quick to see faults in them and overlook my own, I sometimes find joy in seeing those who have hurt me get “justice.”  It’s only human of me, I suppose.  At least, that’s what I tell myself, to justify my hoarding of grace.

I blatantly overlook the truth that really I am just putting limits on what grace can do, on what one way love can do, on what God can do.  I build up walls in my heart to section off what parts I allow God to touch, dams that hold back the fullness of the river God wants to overtake me with.  I think, well, I just can’t give grace to that person, I’ve tried 100 times and I just can’t.  So I write them off.  I write them off, just like so many people have done to me, as a lost cause.  Maybe we really aren’t so different. 

I’m beginning to realize that beauty of God’ banquet is the variety in it.  See, because God is never limited by our expectations of him.  His river doesn’t stop flowing just because we put up dams.  His table is filled with meat, cheese, chocolate, milk, mac and cheese, and yes, even potato salad.  His grace is scandalously inclusive that way. 

When I sat down to write this I didn’t really have a plan in mind for it, I like to have a plan.  When I began I didn’t really know how to end it because I feel quite unresolved on this subject. 

I am torn between my desire to let the river flow and my craving for control of the dam.
I am torn between my want to like potato salad and the way it turn my stomach.
I am torn between grace and justice.
I am torn.
And I am burdened by the tearing.

I have been feeling recently, like a failure.  Like I’ve been a piss poor example of the grace I preach so fervently, and I have.  I am thankful that my worth is not defined by that failure.  I am relieved that grace is not withheld from me even when I fail to show it. 

I am comforted and unsettled by how unfair grace makes life; it’s a beautiful vulgarity.

I guess my final point will be this; don’t be disheartened by the times you fail to like potato salad.  Instead, remember the beauty of the banquet and the fullness of the table, let that be your focus.  Take down your dams and just let the river flow, you might be amazed at what new life it brings with it.  Enjoy the journey that taking in Christ leads you on.  Embrace the struggle.  

1 comment:

  1. This is good potato salad! I love potato salad so I always put it on my plate and then yuk. What have they done to it? How could they deceive me like that! So I decided long ago to just receive the bite I have taken and let God take care of the rest. We are all so different but at the same time we are all so precious to God. He doesn't ask me to eat the whole bowl, just receive the bite I have taken. It helps when I remember the scripture in Romans 15: 7