Tender or Toxic – My Unlikely Cafeteria Surprise

Tender or Toxic – My Unlikely Cafeteria Surprise

This week I had a rather unlikely place for an “aha moment”… the cafeteria at work, the stir fry station to be exact. The chicken and broccoli had become a favorite given my new food intolerances. Making conversation with the cafeteria worker, I mentioned that as much as I loved their sauces I could no longer eat them. She responded asking if I was aware that the chicken was marinated in several seasonings including soy sauce, something I can’t eat. Suddenly I realized the healthy seemingly “safe” dish, one that I had eaten recently was actually toxic to me. I’d been struggling with a health issue and the doctor very recently was considering a very strong medication to help me when all along I’ve been eating one of the very things I needed to avoid. No wonder I’ve been getting worse not better! That’s when it hit me. Just like that chicken, we’re changed by what we marinate in. We may look fine on the outside, but what do we soak our hearts and minds in? We may be tempted to hold on to hurts, grudges, and anger that poisons our hearts with bitterness. We can get stuck basting in thoughts of inadequacy, comparison, or past failures forgetting that God made us exactly who we are. Or perhaps we replay judgment or criticism allowing negative voices to drown out His encouragement or His word. Isn’t it far better to marinate in gratefulness, kindness and compassion causing our hearts to become increasingly tender? If we choose our marinade well, our lives become richer. The choice is ours. Its powerful imagery...

5 Life Traps to Avoid

In just a few short days, millions of Americans will celebrate Independence Day. As I thought about this week’s post, I reflected on the root of this summer holiday summed up in one word – “freedom.” Despite being a nation that is free, and as believers, children of God who are free, way too many of us allow a few common traps prevent us from really truly living free – free to pursue God’s purpose for our lives, free to enjoy the best life has to offer, and free to be ourselves.. 5 Common Traps and What You Can Do About Them: Assumptions – Assumptions cause us to “fill in a blank” in a situation we encounter based on our own perception without proof and regardless of the truth. We interpret the world around us through a filter we’ve created. If for example someone doesn’t respond to a message we’ve sent, we conclude they’re mad at us, don’t agree with us, or worse yet don’t like us. We don’t consider that they might not have had the time, energy, or bandwidth to respond yet. Unchecked assumptions fuel our own internal negative self talk and can damage relationships. What to do about assumptions: Ask yourself, is this really true? Do I have proof? Am I basing what I’m interpreting on current actions or on the past? Identify assumptions for what they are and do not give them the same weight as truth. Expectations – Expectations cause us to set the bar too high or too low. Our preconceived ideas can tell us something will be perfectly wonderful and then when in...