Hardly Pinterest-worthy is the picture above. In my meager attempts to live a shiny, compartmentalized, ‘I’ve got it under control’ kind of life, I often forget what’s most important.
This post was going to include a recipe for Stove-top Potpourri and explain ways to get to know your neighbors during the holiday season, and it still is…sort of. When trying out the recipe, God showed me in greater depths how he wants me to engage with Him and others.
After realizing I cut the orange “wrong”, and that my lemons were too moldy to use, I noticed a sad, crusty French fry from last night’s gourmet dinner on the stove. Although some might see this picture as a Pinterest-fail, I was reminded that this is still a beautiful picture in God’s eyes.
In 1 John, the apostle starts out by saying, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest and we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.”
The word manifest means “clear, obvious.” With every sense, God wanted us to recognize the truth of who He is – that He sent His son out of His great love from us to deliver us from sin. God made clear the truth of Christ by engaging us on every level. He made his truth evident by sight, sound and even touch.
When the disciples saw that Jesus filled their nets with fish, when the woman was healed after touching His robe and when a little girl was brought back from death upon Jesus only hearing her story, Jesus made it clear that He wants to engage with us on every level possible. Notice that He didn’t wait until these people had their act together or got well, He engaged with them at the time of their greatest need. God wants us to come to Him as we are. He doesn’t care that we don’t have it all together (and no one does), He just wants us to show up and to seek to engage with Him.
The picture of my Stovetop Potpourri will never make it on the pages of a magazine, but it still counts. I still “showed up.” It brings glory to God in that He knows my heart’s intent to build relationships with my neighbors to hopefully be a vehicle for His love. He doesn’t care that the process wasn’t perfect. Your Heavenly Father doesn’t want you “clean yourself up” before presenting your requests to Him. He wants to engage you in your greatest time of need and come as you are. He is delighted when His children “just show up”!
The same can be said in how we engage with others. A couple months ago, I didn’t take a rare opportunity to talk to my neighbor because my hair wasn’t done and I wasn’t wearing makeup. Ironically, sometimes the things that we try to hide from others are the things that can form a bridge to connect on an interpersonal level. Often when others see that we care more about them instead of maintaining appearances, it makes us more approachable and so much more real. In making an effort to be transparent, perhaps our next conversation won’t be just be a quick exchange of pleasantries, but an opportunity to engage in real conversation.
God wants us to be transparent about the depths from which He has saved us. Thankfully, He doesn’t want us to engage with him as a sterile, June Cleaver, ‘my lipstick is always on’ version of ourselves and neither do our neighbors.
God longs to engage your every sense in such a way that we are no longer focused on how we are perceived but only on how HE is perceived by others through us. God does not require us to be perfect but He simply wants us to be presence. He wants us to be real with others about the difficult and pain that life brings, knowing that God can heal our every wound and alleviate every fear.
As in 2 Corinthians 2:15, may we be the “pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” The reality of ourselves might not always be pretty but there is an opportunity for others to see His love when the abundance of His all-sufficient love meets our insufficiency. Don’t forget the power in just showing up.
Stove Top Potpourri Recipe
- 1 orange
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 T. whole cloves
- ¼ c. cranberries
Use this download to make your own labels for your neighbors. I tied them with baker’s twine and my daughter and I had fun putting them in each neighbor’s mailbox!