Like many of you I grilled over the holiday. Although I had a myriad of things that I really needed to get done, I took time off from external demands to catch up on sleep and fire up the grill. Too often people feel guilty about taking time to care for themselves however; life will quickly teach us that time spent being restored personally helps our ability to minister to others in the long run. Sometimes we simply need to slow down and sit down. Every now and than I find that taking a day for oneself is not only helpful, it is essential. This weekend as I enjoyed the barefoot bliss of my back patio I took a few lessons from the grill.
Let the fire die down – When I was much younger, I thought the real grilling took place on the roaring fire. After a few charred burgers and shriveled hot dogs I quickly learned that you have to let the fire die down and wait until there was heat but no fire. In life sometimes we try to manage life through the flames treating everything as an emergency rather than simply waiting to let the flames die down, look at the situation and respond more appropriately. Many times after the initial flare up, you look down only to see that while the flames were dramatic – they weren’t very useful. Don’t panic, God is in control.
Recognize that everything doesn’t fit – When grilling you need to be strategic about the placement of food so that everything fits. In life there are times that you have to do things in shifts because rushing to make everything fit only means that something will be overdone and something else will be raw. The best way to ensure even cooking (and a balanced life) is the place things in order of their priority and enjoy the process while watching carefully to ensure success. In our daily lives we plan with pencil and give God the eraser and allow God to move freely in our lives.
Quality products make the difference –Taking the time to select the right products makes all the difference in the world when barbequing. Have you ever noticed that you don’t grill Spam or bologna with the red paper on it? That’s because we tend to grill the best we have in order to have the best flavor when the grilling process is over. Likewise, there is no substitute for a relationship with God. It is through the power of God that we are saved, healed, delivered and set free.
Slow down – low and slow is the number one rule of BBQ. Allowing meat to smoke or to cook very slowly gives the best flavor. It takes longer, but the effort is rewarded in flavor and overall quality. The hours can be tasted as you bite into the ribs. You can tell by the appearance and the taste when someone has taken the time to let the heat stay low and the grilling go slow. In life we also have to find balance. God has given us wisdom, and an innate need, to rest. By resting God is able to restore us and empower us for the next steps.
If the fire flares up, throwing water on it only creates a cloud of ashes. Just cut off the air supply – Too often when situations arise we respond to the flames with a quick solution only to create a problem of a different kind. All we really needed to do is close the grill and cut off the oxygen supply. Whether it is rumors, or other issues sometimes we need to learn to stop chasing the situation with a quick fix that we think will put it out – rather we need to stop giving it so much power that it controls us and our behavior.
This week, take a lesson from the grill, and from the Lord and allow him to refresh and equip you – it may seen slow but it will be worth it in the end.