This Is Not What I Ordered!

I read a story a few weeks ago about a couple who went to a fancy restaurant that served their dinner on plates covered with shiny domes. When the covers were lifted, the exact dinners they had ordered were revealed. The author went on to say what we get on our plates of life may be different than what we ordered and maybe something we didn’t want![1] I thought some examples of perceived wrong orders could arrive as difficult relationships with family/friends/work, challenges in health, struggles with finances, changes in locations, or places of service.     

The story prompted me to ponder what my plate of life looks like that God has chosen to give me. Certainly, many things on my plate at first sight seem pleasant and beneficial. I have much to be grateful to God for His blessings that overflow (Psalm 103). However, there are some things on my plate that I did not order and that I do not want (subconsciously or consciously)! When my heart begins to grumble or fret, I have to choose to focus my thoughts on God and His truths.

A good place to start is to remind my heart who God is. God is sovereign (He chooses my life circumstances, Psa 135:6; Eph 2:10). He is good (He is capable of only doing good, Psa 119:68). He is omniscient (He knows everything past, present, and future, Psa 147:5). He is perfect (He cannot do anything wrong, Deut 32:4). He is incomprehensible (my finite mind cannot comprehend all of who He is and all of His actions, Rom 11:33-34). When I gaze upon a compound blend of who He is (Psa 27:4), my perspective on my plate of life adjusts accordingly. Instead of sensing I was served the wrong order, I realize what I got was just what God knew was best for His glory and my good. What is on my plate of life is more nutritious for me in my journey to be transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18)! This heart process leads me to worship Him!

An area I currently struggle in is the place of service God did not call me to. I find staying in God’s Word keeps teaching, reminding, and maturing me in this area (and in all areas of life!). For instance, when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet in John 13, He was not concerned about the social or cultural expectations that a Teacher and Lord should not wash His disciples’ feet. Likewise, in John 12, Mary’s anointing of Jesus demonstrated she cared more about her relationship with Jesus than what was culturally or socially expected. She unashamedly walked into a room of men and proceeded to pour expensive ointment (over a year’s wages and perhaps her dowry or status symbol) lavishly on Christ wiping His feet with her unbound hair as an act of love and devotion. Mary’s identity was in Christ and not her reputation with other people. She did not thrive on man’s outward validation. She extravagantly worshiped Jesus. It is all too easy for me to desire other’s approval of my actions. Also, I have subconscious expectations of what it should look like for me to serve God. Both of these desires and expectations are wrong and lead me to wrong thinking, wrong emotions, wrong attitudes, and wrong actions.   

Embracing God’s choice of where He wants me to serve shows up when I mentally take off the silver dome of my plate of life and think, “Look, I’m serving where and how God wants me to serve Him! Thank you, God, for letting me serve you in this way. Thank you that you have called me to this place of service. And look at all the other blessings on my plate that come from this place of service!” My heart becomes overwhelmed with gratitude to God! This heart adjustment allows me to worship my Creator and Sovereign Lord! Also, I am free to focus on others’ needs. I am free to pray for other people’s ministries and ask genuine questions of care about their ministries.    How about you? When the silver dome is removed and you see the plate of life (whether it is concerning relationships, health, finances, locations, or service) that God has served you, how do you respond? Do you grumble, fret, or worship? “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand” (Psa 95:6-7)! 

Image from “Carter’s Price Guide to Antiques,” Carters.com., accessed January 27, 2024,  https://www.carters.com.au/index.cfm/item/1291716-vintage-silver-plate-meat-dome-engraved-decoration-removable-han/.

[1] Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Revive My Heart: A Year of Daily Reflections (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2023), 16.

PJ Beets is passionate about encouraging women and children through the Scriptures and life to see the compassionate God who redeems the rejected by acceptance, the silenced by expression, the labored by grace, and the lonely by love in order to set them free to serve in His ordained place and way for them individually and corporately. She has served the Lord through Bible Study Fellowship and her home church in various capacities with women and children. Upon turning fifty, she sought the Lord on how He would have her finish well which began her journey at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies as well as a Doctor of Educational Ministry in Spiritual Formation, both from from DTS. PJ is married to Tom, has three children, and six grandchildren.

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