Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Tea

In the kitchen, there has been a handful of apple mint steeping in boiling water in my favorite "everyday" teapot.

The red teakettle and the yellow teapot and the slightly dried apple mint leaves from my garden (dried only because they were sitting for two days awaiting their turn at tea time), all a part of a favorite ritual.

Sigh... so much better than throwing a tea bag in a mug of water heated in the microwave, not to mention I feel like a real gardener when using herbs I grew.  :)

These ponderings... in a roundabout way... led me to today's Sunday Afternoon Tea (which almost had to be called Sunday Evening Tea).   It is being written quickly and in real time as the writer is in serious wedding-caterer-gardener mode. 

For I often have had to remind myself a rural-small town girl from the American Midwest, whose first house had no indoor plumbing... could enjoy a real English tea time and real bone china and silver (albeit silver plated) and Beauty.

I was also reminded of a blog post written by a friend who IS a wonderful writer but felt odd calling herself a writer, she didn't think of herself as an author as she was not published (yet).   I will read whatever she writes, including her grocery list... she is so good.

No one has to be perfect or professional (being paid for what they do) to be called what they are... although our society teaches this.  For instance, I find it hard to call myself a gardener even after years of gardening.  I never call myself a writer... always blogger... although I have written since childhood.

I still consider myself a chef wannabe even if my pastry draws applause (from family and friends) and I can write a recipe in my mind while trying something new at a restaurant.  (Although a TV cook whose show I love always says, "The difference between a chef and a cook is a cook has to do their own dishes")  ;)

This past week I've been pondering Proverbs 23:7 and in the original King James Version in which it was memorized long ago, "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he...".   What brought this verse to me?  Well, as I've been walking at least five days a week (weather permitting), I've had to reprogram my self talk!

For years when I thought of myself, I had a huge label over my head with words like chronic illness, diabetic, and after spending two days in intensive care about eight years ago... terminal.  My specialist at one time thought I wouldn't last ten years!

But here I am eight years later and still alive and contributing to family life... slowly and a little at a time... but able to once again have a regular exercise program.  My new labels include words like working out and semi-vegetarian and determination (instead of throwing my hands up and asking what use is it to try anything!).

This all reminded me of a moment when I realized how I had overcome self taught labels in my former corporate life... in a universe long ago and far away... when I was sitting in a board room with the president and vice presidents of the company for which I worked... on first name basis with all of them.

It just hit me at the time, how God had brought the right people and at the right time to mold me and shape me for that moment.  Although I had been a reader since I first learned to put letters into words, I never thought myself very intelligent because I didn't know how to use good grammar or communicate.

In my mid-teens, I became a Christian and began volunteering at a Christian coffeehouse ministry (for two or three years) where God brought together a group of slightly older college students who taught me how to talk, how to share my faith, how to get up in front of people and communicate, basic social etiquette, and how to read deeply and well.

That day as I was working with the executives as an Organization Development Administrator, I was able to stand in front of them and share how they could use new techniques in long range planning... and I was still having to remind myself I was good at what I did... my self image slipping back into "country girl who can't talk" if I was not careful.

Now, don't laugh... but I even had the same thoughts when I started homeschooling because I did not think of myself as a "real" homeschooler.  Why?  Because I was educating only one child and we didn't live in a rural area.  No, really.  Of course, through the years I realized each homeschooling family was unique but those were the only homeschoolers I knew at first!

I am certain some self talk comes from the enemy of our souls.  However, the older I get the more I realize many of the voices I hear (in my thoughts) sound a lot like people I've known and even loved... telling me what I can and can't do, who I really am, how smart or talented I am, what is wrong, what is right, and how I can live given challenges in life.

Their version of what they saw as truth... not necessarily what is the Truth.

God knew this would be a major battle in our life when he told us to "take every thought captive" in 2 Corinthians 10:5...

"Casting down imaginations,
and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..."

We are not to think too highly of ourselves, of course.  But as we read the Word and talk to Him... our life becomes a reflection of the Jesus we follow.

Even if we were something else, we have changed from how we were and we must be very careful not to let others tell us we are what we were... each day as we walk this journey with Jesus, we are being shaped more into His likeness.

We may be poor in money but never in His provision!  We may have trouble talking but like Moses... he uses us!  We may still have times we feel fear but we are not a fearful person.  We may not get paid to write but we are still writers!  We may have an illness... but the illness does not define who we are.

After all these years, I realized I was still filtering what I thought of myself through other people's words, and expectations, and my own experiences.  I suppose I will be "casting down imaginations" until that day I step into Perfection.

This writer asks your grace as she must write quickly and not always proofreading well... today and in the next month!  :)

13 comments:

Ann said...

On the run or not ... your Sunday Afternoon Thoughts are always right on the spot. Thanks for taking the time in the midst of all on your plate to write.

Angela said...

I like your new labels! Keep on walking:)

Mrs.Rabe said...

Yes, I think we under estimate ourselves also. We don't tend to value what we do well...

Thanks for this post! Enjoy your wedding catererness. So special!

Deanna

Meredith said...

A lovely post. Thank you. How good God is, and how rich we are.
Have a great week.

Martina said...

What a beautiful and thoughtprovoking post. Thank you for allowing us to participate in your journey. I need to remind myself constantly not to listen to the enemies of my soul...
Blessings, Martina

Vee said...

This is probably a universal truth, Brenda, as I feel the same way and I know so many others who do as well. I have a giant "pretender" floating above my head. It always has and I suppose that it always will. Still, I know in my heart of hearts that the Lord has better thoughts of me. And isn't it terrible to actually have to listen to a dear one do the same things to herself as we do to ourselves? I want to screech whenever I hear such bashings.

Vee said...

Oh, I wish that I could join you and bake and bake and bake. What fun it can be getting ready for such a grand thing as a wedding!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic and very well written, dear one. I echo it!! Praying for strength for you as you head into May! Pam from SD

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I always feel very happy, if I were a cat I'd be purring, when I pick herbs from my garden and take them in for cooking....

I've been working with my mind a lot lately. The few years before my knee surgery I became used to looking at a walk of a short distance and telling myself, "No, you can't do that. It's too much". And it was. Then. But now I find the same thoughts intruding their way into my mind and I have to keep saying, "Oh, yes I can. I know I can. Just do it." Slowly, it becomes easier.

HeatherMavis said...

Dear Sister, you are right on the mark. "I suppose I will be 'casting down imaginations' until that day I step into perfection" Indeed! These words "step into perfection" gave me a little thrill, reminding me of all His precious promises awaiting us who are In Christ.
Meanwhile we must cling to Him who gives us the wisdom and strength to cast down the imaginations. He frees us to do His will with joy.

Anonymous said...

You always say something I need to hear, especially the last paragraph. Thank you so much.

Front Porch Grace said...

Words have such power. Our Creator framed our universe, our world, and all that is within them with words. Proverbs 18:21 teaches us that we will consume the fruit of our words.

Thank you for reminding us all, Brenda, that we need to filter those words and labels in our thoughts that define us.

Your post, as usual, has been thought-provoking and uplifting. I smiled as I imagined you taking those thoughts captive and recognizing who you are in Christ.

Storybook Woods said...

Great post and well written ;- ) You know life is a process. I think as a society we focus too much on the end result, the product. But really I think we never arrive. I mean we are always growing, getting better. I have a very hard time calling myself a writer and really do not feel like one. But I still write, I just do what is in my heart. Just like you !!! Clarice