" LOST "

By Michelle Self

Scripture Reference:  Jeremiah 29:11

I don’t enjoy cooking all that much. Well, I enjoy the actual cooking, I just don’t enjoy everything else that goes with it. The grocery list – shopping – unpacking – de-packaging – dirtying so many bowls and utensils – and hoping it all turns out alright. And then the clean up! Ugh. Sometimes, it’s just easier to grab a salad or go out for a dinner. But there’s a lot to be said for a homecooked meal, isn’t there? I mean, I hear it often. You can even get a “homecooked” ​meal at restaurants now-a-days!

My husband’s favorite main dish is meatloaf. There’s nothing like the look on his face, compliments, and repeat visits to the plate to make me feel so accomplished. And he knows it’s an act of LOVE (see first paragraph to explain, if needed).

There’s something funny about that confidence .. er, I mean those compliments. I begin to think more highly of myself than I should. I start to wonder if I could make that recipe a little better. More mine (and maybe I could receive even more compliments!). I could bake a meatloaf that I created! Hmmm

So, my meatloaf. I thought about it, in the grocery store; I wondered if sausage would spice up my main dish (after all, I’ve read that two types of meat can deepen the flavor!). So ¾ ground beef and ¼ sausage? Hmmmm .. Go big! Half and half. Yep! One pound of ground beef and one pound of sausage! This will be perfect!

I followed the recipe, changing only the meat. Everything else was fine – I just wanted to “improve” on the wow-factor! I carefully massaged all of the ingredients into the ball of meat, with the additional pork. It smelled delicious and it wasn’t even in the oven yet! I was so excited. The anticipation was killing me!

My husband walked in from work just a few minutes after I pulled the beautifully-crusted meatloaf from the oven. The scent wafted through the whole house and he was as eager to taste it as I was for him to taste it. The moment of truth! Interesting. He wasn’t making any joyful “mmmm’s” or “ahhhhhh’s.” He said he liked it but he didn’t sound like he meant it. I was so disheartened.

Then I took a bite. Ohmygoodness!!!! The salt! Is there a lot of SALT in sausage?! We could hardly get it down. He said, “what did you do differently to this?” I sheepishly said, “I thought a mixture of sausage and ground beef would be good.” We kinda laughed, after all, if HE thinks it’s too salty no one can eat it!

This memory had me thinking today. How many things do we, even with the best of intentions, change from God’s way or His intended purpose? How often do we say we’ll follow this command and that law, but I’m going to bypass that one, or add my own “flavor” to this one? Do we think we can improve the recipe for God’s plan? Wow. I’m feeling convicted. Remember that “confidence” I shared earlier? Do I think I can do a better job than God? *Gulp!*

In this world of “I’ll have it my way” and “don’t tell me what to do,” we can forget that He’s the Master. He created us for His plan … whether we agree with it or not. And we’ll end up with lots of salty meals if we’re not willing to follow His recipe! In Jeremiah 29:11 God said, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

If I may suggest, take a minute and consider if you’re following His recipe for your life, or have you taken out a few ingredients? Maybe added a few? You might even be trying to make lasagna instead of

meatloaf. Whatever you come up with in your time with God, He’ll help you find that perfect concoction that will create the perfect life - er, I mean meatloaf 😉