Saturday, January 16, 2010

When I _____ I feel His pleasure

That has been the theme at our church lately. Taken, apparently from a line in Chariots of Fire - "When I run I feel His pleasure." And I've been wondering what I fill in that blank with (certainly not running!)

Parenting, definitely. When I connect with my kids, I know God is smiling. But what else? Not that that's not enough, because it certainly would be if that were all I did that brought God pleasure. But what about the passions we have? If those are given to us by God, then presumably they make Him smile.

Thinking on that, I wonder about my passion for cooking and for food. Right now I am simmering a dish called Beef Rendang. It's a Malaysian curry of sorts, made with many ingredients that I love using. Lime leaf, lemongrass, coconut milk, ginger, shallots... And some that I don't get to use as often, or have never used, like chilies, galangal, star anise and palm sugar. As I mentioned in my Temple Food post, I love southeast Asian ingredients, so I am just loving making this curry. It's for my gourmet group, by the way. The one I mentioned in October when I did the autumn harvest menu.

So I'm thinking; my passion for food is a gift from God. Do I feel His pleasure when I cook? Um.. not always, no. In fact, often I find it more of a chore than a joy lately to cook. The kids can be picky, which makes being adventurous more tricky. Sometimes money is tight, or the pantry is bare or things don't work out the way I'd intended, and I get more down than up about the whole process.

And I have to wonder about my part in "feeling His joy." That's not a passive statement. Feeling is active. It's something that we DO, rather than have done to or for us. Do I spend time aware of God with me as I take the time to enjoy something that I am passionate about, like cooking this wonderful curry today? Well, I am thinking about it as I blog. But generally my mind is not on God as I cook. I don't think about what He's thinking as I indulge in my passion for food. In fact, sometimes I'm ashamed by my passion for it. Being an overweight person means that food and I don't always get along, and believing that my love of food is a gift from God means that I am either way off base, or that I am misusing His gift. I suspect the latter.

What can I do with this passion, besides cook for myself and my family? I sincerely think that cooking for others is an amazingly wonderful way to show them that I care. And I know that God smiles at that. I recently bought a barbecue cookbook and every time I open it, I see something that I want to share with friends. Partly because I really want to cook whatever it is and partly because I really want to share whatever it is. There's that passion for food coming out again, coupled with a desire to share it with others. I want to host at least one barbecue this year. Proper slow smoked pulled pork, ribs, baked beans, the works. And I want to share that with people I care about.

I suspect there is far more to write, but I have to think first. And stir the curry, which smells AMAZING! And wake the little miss, who no doubt will be up late tonight. Oh well. Maybe we can share some popcorn together. :-D

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