“No! It’s yucky!” My five-year-old scowled at her dinner plate.
“It’s not yucky,” I said. “It’s pot roast.”
“Eew! It’s gross!”
“It’s not gross.”
“It’s LOOKING at me!!”
“It is not looking—”
“Yes!” My husband cut in. “It’s looking at you. It’s saying, eeeeeat me! I’m tasty!”
Heaven help us.
In our house, we have a one-bite rule. My children are free to decline their parents’ cooking, but they must first try a small taste of a new dish to determine whether or not they actually hate it. This strategy works (often they end up liking their torturous meal) but it’s definitely painful.
We’ve dripped sweat and tears over grilled chicken (thumbs up), tuna casserole (thumbs down), and tacos (thumbs to the side; what is wrong with my children).
We’ve withheld ice cream until broccoli is swallowed, apple slices are gone, or milk has disappeared down the hatch. Not that we believe in clean plates—I teach my kids to stop when they’re full—but if you’re hungry in my house, then I have plenty of rice and carrots to consume before we move on to chocolate sauce and Reddi Whip.
Some days you’d think those carrots were live worms, for all the gagging that goes on.
When are my kids going to acquire a taste for real food?
Hmmm. When am I?
“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong” (Hebrews 5:12–14).
I have a pastor friend who says believers don’t necessarily need to be taught so much as they need to be reminded. So true, isn’t it? We all forget from time to time how much God loves us and why it’s a good idea to trust Him. Oh how we need His grace.
Like when I know I should speak softly to my kids but I bark instead.
Or when I know I should respect my husband but I nag the poor man out of frustration or fatigue.
When I know God created me according to His perfect design, yet I allow criticism from others to define how to see myself. Or worse, when that criticism comes from my own head.
When I know God has a plan for my life, and still I freak out over bad news, uncertainties, or interruptions. As if I somehow know more than God.
We have opportunities day after day to grow in our faith, but we need to consume God’s teaching. We need to digest it and let it condition us from the inside out. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Because if we don’t? We miss the chance to develop our palate. To choose right over wrong, solid food over Similac. To “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
In other words, we need to eat the pot roast.
I want to experience the growth that comes with obedience, don’t you? Yes, I know, sometimes we’re fooled into thinking it looks and smells yucky, especially compared to other tempting options (pizza! spaghetti! candy! oh my!) but we might be surprised at how delicious following God really is. And so much healthier in the end.
“Take a bite. One tiny bite.” My husband dangled a fork in front of our daughter’s face. “If you eat it, you’ll get whipped cream on your dessert.”
She scrunched her nose and stared at the shred of meat—seriously, it was a tiny thread, covered in enough gravy to hide the taste of the actual roast. How much easier could it be?
“Well . . . okay.” Slowly, she stuck out her tongue until it barely grazed the fork. She smacked her lips a couple times, looked up at her Dad and me, and grinned.
“Did you like it?” I smiled back. “Not bad, eh?”
She stuck out her fists, popped up her thumbs, and quickly rotated her wrists. “Sides.”
“Fair enough. Thank you for trying it.”
“Can I have ice cream now?”
“Sure. After you finish your broccoli.”