I have never in my life sent food back.
Saturday night I went to Pei Wei. I was craving a Dan Dan Noodle Bowl with shrimp.
After a total emotional meltdown on Friday, I went home and rolled up my sleeves, and sank myself into physical labor, so I wouldn’t spend too much time thinking about all of the things that were breaking my heart. I hauled the almost-forty-year-old, gargantuan, non-functioning microwave my parents gave me when I moved into my apartment to the dumpster by myself – imagine a lot of duct tape and a suitcase and a neighbor who watched the entire time. Then, I went and got a new microwave. I deep-cleaned my bathroom and kitchen. On Saturday, I went to the laundromat and did about two months worth of laundry, because I haven’t had a day off in that long, and I needed clothes for the week. Then I started hanging pictures that I hadn’t gotten around to hanging yet, and there were a lot.
So when I say I was craving an Dan Dan Noodle Bowl with shrimp, I mean it. I didn’t want anything else.
I went to Pei Wei and placed my order. When it came up for packaging, the manager took one look at it and said to the cook, “This is not good enough. It looks overcooked and there’s not enough sauce.” Then she comes over to me and she says, “I’m sorry for the delay, but I couldn’t serve you that. It wouldn’t have been good.”
I started tearing up. Not because there was a delay, but because I would have accepted whatever they had given me, and if it wasn’t done right, it wouldn’t have been satisfying. It would have done what I ultimately needed it to do, I suppose, in feeding my body, but it wouldn’t have filled me. And I would have taken it, and I would have eaten it, and I wouldn’t have complained about it, but someone else stepped in and said, “This is not good enough.”
And as I sat on my couch, eating my Dan Dan Noodle Bowl with shrimp and watching a movie, I was so glad that manager sent my food back to get it right. It was exactly what I hoped it would be after my hard week and day.
And as I ponder this deeply satisfying and relaxing moment with food and my movie, God starts speaking to my heart: “This is what I’m trying to do for you, what I’m trying to teach you to do for yourself. Stop accepting things that are not good enough for you.”
He reminds me of a quote from The Curate of Glaston by George MacDonald that I read and wrestled with earlier this year, “To be content is not to be satisfied. No one ought to be satisfied with the imperfect.”
It feels … entitled. I can hear the sneer in my mind that I’ve heard out loud most of my life, “Who do you think you are? You don’t deserve anything.”
He calls to mind Clara Bewick Colby’s commentary on Sarah and Hagar in The Woman’s Bible (1895): “Western thinkers are so matter-of-fact in their speech and thought that it might not have occurred to them that the true value of this story of Sarah and Hagar, like that of all else, not only in our own Bible but in the scriptures of other faiths, lies in the esoteric meaning, had it not been for Paul, that prince of occult philosophers, who distinctly says, according to the old version, that it is an allegory; according to the revised, that it contains an allegory: ‘for these women are two covenants,’ one bearing children unto bondage, the other unto freedom. It is our privilege, Paul goes on to teach, to be children of the free woman, but although we are this by birthright, yet there has to be a personal appreciation of that fact, and an effort to maintain our liberty. The mystical significance of this allegory has never been elucidated in reference to the position of woman, but it may well be considered as establishing her claim, not only for personal freedom, but for the integrity of the home. Acting according to the customs of the day, Sarah connived at her own degradation. Later, when her womanly dignity was developed by reason of her motherhood, she saw what should be her true position in her home, and she made her rightful demand for unrivalled supremacy in that home and in her husband’s affections. She was blessed of God in taking that attitude, and was held up to the elect descendants of Abraham nearly 1660 years later by the Apostle Peter as an example to be imitated. And these later women are to be Sarah’s daughters, we are told, if like her, they ‘are not afraid with any amazement,’ or as the new version hath it, if they ‘are not put in fear by any terror.'”
Entitled? I am a daughter of the King. Why should I be shy about my position? Why should I surround and fill myself with things that don’t satisfy? Why should I accept shallow interactions?
It’s very simple: I shouldn’t.
I should go higher and wider and deeper until I am satisfied.
The theologians in my circle will be quick to say I won’t be fully satisfied until heaven, and I’ll concede that. However, I am in Christ now; I have the power of the Holy Spirit within me now; I am a daughter of the Heavenly Father now. And so I’m claiming my birthright now.
I invite you to do the same.