I did the impossible and actually cooked a meal I had pinned on Pinterest- Carne Guisado (Tejano stewed beef). Cooking is not an out of ordinary task for me in the House of Jacobs; its a regular part of how I contribute to my family. So when dinner time comes around my husband (Matt) and I fall into our respective roles almost without thinking. While he gets the kids in their chairs and washes their hands, I portion out their food and let it cool. Often, I prepare my husband's plate and bring it to him. This particular dinner though, I was nervous to present him with the meal as Matt tends to be on the picky side. This was a meal that I had never made before, and I am not immune to the erroneous but hilarious Pinterest fails plastered across the web.
I watched expectantly as he took his first bite–no immediate reaction, and his true feelings were yet to be determined. Carefully, I asked him if he wanted me to warm another tortilla…
He agreed! Score! No Pinterest fail for this chica! I had conquered Carne Guisado. During my mental celebration, unexpectedly he looked up from the table to me and says
I wait patiently. I see the kids fist deep in their bowls, beef flying every which way. I'm suspended by the stove, my own food cooling as I care for others, and he finishes
"I really like it when you serve me."
"How I serve?….. SERVE?!," My inner feminist screams from the depth of my inner-most being. Just something about that sentence didn't sit well with me. I, an educated millennial woman, copious amounts of training tells me to reject his oppressive sentiment! How dare he say that I serve him! I think over the nastiness of that word as I prepare my rebuttal with poise, wit, and intelligence!
Though he didn't say this out of malice.
I have no problem making my husband a plate so the concept of my servanthood was not outrageous to me, rather it seems it was his recognition of it that rubbed me the wrong way. Or, maybe it was the word itself and the connotations that surround it that kept me from experiencing a sincere display of gratitude from my husband.
Around this time, in the life of my family, I was going through a leadership track at my church for men and women that focused on the "Servant Leader." We read passages about Jesus' servanthood, we commissioned a painting of the famous foot washing as a reminder of our service to each other and we read books on how to be a true servant leader. While the term "Servant Leader" has recently become a buzzword in Christian leadership I wonder if maybe we are more comfortable with the idea of servanthood than the actuality of it. This was evidenced by my visceral reaction to my husband merely mentioning the word. When we really dissect Jesus' ultimate act of service in dying on the cross we realize that He was willing to set aside his rightful place beside the father, and the sinless God-Man took on sin for our own sake (Philippians 2:1-9). Even when we catch a glimmer of his servanthood at the washing of the disciples' feet, we find Jesus who should be most esteemed, taking on the dirty grimy role of a slave (John 13:1-17). While Servant Leadership is often associated with titles and rank I wonder if we, myself included, are truly ready for the self-sacrificial, and all-encompassing servanthood that Jesus demonstrated for us.
I don't mean to equate my service through cooking for my family to the ultimate act of Love through the death of Christ, however, I tell you this story of my pridefulness rising up against this word in the setting of my kitchen only to spark a much deeper conversation. Are we really ok with being servants for our Lord? Are we ok with doing the grimy work? Are we ok with thinking of ourselves last and letting our food cool as we feed others?
I readied my response to my husband. "Babe I like it when you serve me…" I let his statement hang in the air as I thought it over and finally, I responded: "and I really like serving you!"
I could almost hear the inner me screaming at the outer me– "did I just say that and mean it?" It took a bit of an internal struggle about the facets of being a servant, but yeah, I really do relish in serving my husband. As I pondered the truthfulness of my own response I felt a wall come down; one that has told me that my womanhood and my dignity are derived from what I can do for myself rather than what I can bring to my collective whole which is my family. Instead of being offended that I was a servant, I felt honored and even better, thankful that my husband took the time to notice it.