Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Power of Humility


I was pretty sure I hated Brussels sprouts.

But the menu at the farm-to-table restaurant where I was having brunch last week described them so beautifully, they sounded delicious. 

Actually all the offerings on the menu were presented as food and drinks that were humble, yet powerfully impressive. 

It was a thought-provoking tagline.

The trendiest places to dine these days declare they feature organic, artisanal, seasonal and local fare. The server said the eggs came from a nearby farm and the juice was fresh-squeezed from Florida citrus groves.

There was croissant bread pudding on the menu, along with lemon ricotta pancakes and blueberry cream cheese-stuffed French toast. 





So I’m not quite sure why a Brussels sprouts salad tossed with golden beets {another food I dislike}, avocado and grilled pineapple appealed to me. 

I remember my mother making me try Brussels sprouts once as a child and I don't even recall what they tasted like. That memory was probably overpowered by the noxious odor that filled the house as she cooked them because I’ve never eaten them since.

But I wanted to give them a second chance to impress me. 

So I ordered the salad.



It's a little humbling to discover you're wrong.

My natural tendency is to view things in my life with a practical and straightforward lens. I'm quite emphatic when I think I've settled on the right approach


But sometimes the higher ground I've staked my claim on and dug in my heels about, turns out to be a bog filled with quicksand.


I realize how little I really do know. And how much more I need to know of God, who knows me so well.

Surprisingly, this brings a refreshing shower of humility.




When I'm so sure I'm right, I can stay closed in and refuse to keep my heart open and tender. I can cling to the feelings that whine and whisper, hey girl, no one understands you

And my heart begins to harden a little with a protective mask of self-pity and arrogance. 

But this posture unnecessarily weighs heavy on me. It lets me take the credit if things go my way and it also lets me place the blame on myself when things don't work out the way I think they should.

I think there might be a better way to do life.
Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 
- Col 3:12 VOICE

When I give God access to all those weak expanses in my life, he brings the results.

Sometimes they are what I want; other times they are what I need. But all the time, he is working what happens in my life -- the good and the not-so-good -- together for my ultimate good. 

I'm invited to taste and see that God is good (Ps. 34:8) and that even the bitter things in life can taste sweet (Prov. 27:7).

When I finally come to the conclusion that a change in course or a judgment reversal is called for, I'm surprised at what follows.

The air clears, peace reigns, and least likely of all, joy and hope spring up.

Because humility bows a heart low enough to be lifted up in God's upside-down kingdom.



My batter-dipped Brussels sprouts arrived perched on my plate.

They were crunchy like cauliflower and the taste reminded me of fried green tomatoes {which I most definitely love}.

I am happy to report that I was quite wrong about Brussels sprouts. 

I thought the salad was scrumptious. 

But my sparkling drink being delivered in a silver French press and my water arriving in a vintage milk jar might have had something to do with it too.




I must admit I’m drawn to stylishly arranged dining spaces.

White booths, gray brick walls, art that could be food {or is just a geometric shape that reminds me of food?}, luminous curtains, lamps and candles.

It all makes me feel as if I’m in the midst of a glamorously chic page of an Anthropologie catalog.

Even while I’m eating Brussels sprouts, the humblest of food.




I'm joining my friends at Holley Gerth's place for Coffee for your Heart. Click the image for more encouraging posts!



28 comments:

  1. I love this! What a quaint and chic little place all at the same time! Love the industrial/glam farm decor! ♥ And I think we were on the same wavelength this week! Grace and humility abounding... God calls us to bow down to be lifted up and I'm finding a lot of peace in realizing just how wrong I was about some of my own stubborn convictions as of late. God is good all the time and all the time God is good -- and apparently so are battered brussels sprouts! (Have to admit I'm not a fan either - though I tried to make them appealing again last year with a new recipe, the smell still raised eyebrows and noses in my house!) And I'm taking that tag-line seriously: humble, yet powerfully impressive... sounds just like Jesus to me and how he would have us to be... ♥ I love virtually tagging along on all your adventures friend! xo

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    1. Heather,
      Glam farm decor describes it perfectly! And I applaud you for even trying to cook Brussels sprouts - - what a brave woman you are! Oh -- I hadn't thought of humble yet powerfully impressive sounding like Jesus but how right you are -- I love that! Let me know if you try to batter-dip Brussels sprouts -- because I'm sure I won't be courageous enough to try it! :) xo

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  2. Hi Valerie,
    That salad looks so yummy! You've made me want to go get some brussels sprouts! And I so appreciated these thoughts about responding to God and turning over the hardness in my heart to Him, whenever He brings it to light. This phrase was so encouraging to me: "Because humility bows a heart low enough to be lifted up in God's upside-down kingdom." I am so thankful that His convictions always walk alongside of His Grace to make the change! --Blessings and Hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      With your love of gardening, I bet you could grow some lovely Brussels sprouts! Responding to God is what our lives are about, aren't they? Anything that invites us to do that is what even though strange or hard or difficult is what makes us grow. Always love your visit here!

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  3. Hi Valerie!
    I do not like Brussels sprouts either but that salad actually looks good. I enjoy restaurants like that too. Since you are a traveler and if you are ever in the area of Salem, Oregon you have to try the Wild Pear. Amazing food! BUt enough about food : ) I know that I am a type of person that digs in my heels in too when I think I am right. It only brings discord, paranoid thoughts and unsettleness. It shouldn't be about being right but what is right like preserving a relationship or speaking the truth of God's love. Thank you as always for your encouraging words

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      I could talk about food all day! That place you mentioned -- the Wild Pear -- what a great name -- sounds intriguing! I'm so glad you can relate to wanting to be right, too. I often tell myself that I need to give up the right to be right, because I agree with you, it does bring everything you mentioned and can harm relationships. Thanks so much for being here!

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  4. Valerie this is a beautiful piece simple elegant and humble like you. I have found that I like brussels sprouts to when cooke the right way. I love the verse you used in Colossians. I also like the decriptions of not having to always be right. To be ok when we aren right. And also that we don't have to take all the blame too. We aren't the centre.
    I enjoyed reading this

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    1. Hi Somer,
      I'm so excited to find someone who likes Brussels sprouts! (I'm sure there must be or that restaurant wouldn't have had it on the menu!) I love that verse in Colossians -- it captures the perfect life mission statement, doesn't it? A holy life to aspire to. That version of the Bible is new to me so I found it intriguing. Hope you are having a good week. I know you're not writing as regularly since your little ones keep you busy, but I miss reading your thoughts on life! xo

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  5. This place sounds amazing! The entire experience seems right up your alley, very charming. I'm always pleasantly surprised when I find I do in fact like something that I thought I didn't. Or make my mind up and find out I'm wrong, you're so right, very humbling. But, also good. God always knows what we need when we don't.

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    1. Alecia,
      I should force myself to try things I don't like because it's so much fun to find out I was wrong and change my mind, but I'm not always that adventurous to take the risk!

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  6. "When I give God access to all those weak expanses in my life, he brings the results." So, so true. And so, so hard!!! Thank you for the reminder, Valerie!

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    1. Hi Preslaysa,
      Thanks so much for stopping by -- glad to have you here!

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  7. I'm not sure I would have liked anything in that salad, so kudos to you for even trying it! :) Love this: "But sometimes the higher ground I've staked my claim on and dug in my heels about, turns out to be a bog filled with quicksand." Ouch. Guilty as charged myself.

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    1. Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for the affirmation for trying it! :) And I'm grateful you can relate and I know we'll keep our hearts open for what humility can teach us! (Loved how your post shared similar thoughts!)

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  8. Hi Valerie :) I do not like brussel sprouts or beets either. My friend took me out once and said I would love them at this restaurant and similar thing happened- I liked them for the first time ever!!- So I am thinking its a preparation issue? Idk- Ive always wanted to like them -They are very cute! Anyway the salad and the restaurant look amazing! You seem to find the nicest places to eat! I love the painting and the drinks too! This line stuck out to me - so well said! "Because humility bows a heart low enough to be lifted up in God's upside-down kingdom” thanks for this beautiful post! xo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I just love it when we discover our similar shared experiences! Yes, it certainly must be how they are prepared and cooked and with my novice cooking skills, I think it's out of my realm of possibility -- I'll just keep ordering them at restaurants! And this one was a particularly cute place to eat!

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  9. Gorgeous pictures and the food looks amazing. My mom was just talking about fried, green tomatoes so that is funny. We love that kind of stuff. Love your humor here with the truth of the word! I always enjoy what you share, Valerie..it is such a treat for the soul!

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    1. Meg,
      Aren't fried green tomatoes the best! LOVE them!! Thanks for being here and sharing your thoughts. xo

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  10. "I'm invited to taste and see that God is good (Ps. 34:8) and that even the bitter things in life can taste sweet (Prov. 27:7). " I love the imagery used in your writing. Beautiful!

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    1. Hi Chelsie,
      Thanks for stopping by and I'm so grateful for your sweet words here!

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  11. The salad looked...interesting. :) Glad you tried it though!

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    1. Sarah,
      I'm thinking you wouldn't have liked it?! You might have since it was the place reminded me of Atlanta's glam eateries and the battered sprouts were definitely southern fare that you might have liked! :)

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  12. How cute is this place! I had to re-read a paragraph since I had a hard time thinking about anything after lemon ricotta pancakes and blueberry cream cheese-stuffed French toast. You made everything sound so delicious!

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    1. I know -- I'm wondering how I could have opted out of the French toast -- except that it was probably a million calories!! :)

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  13. I smile every time I read your beautiful words. Your writing voice is wonderful. I couldn't wait to see if you decided if you liked brussels sprouts or not. The salad looked delicious and the restaurant is beautiful. Thank you for reminding me to give God access to every area - even the bitter - so he can turn it into something sweet.

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    1. Hi Kylie,
      Oh your words are so kind! It's delightful to read your words -- I'm enjoying them every time I stop over at your place :) and I'm grateful to have your presence here!

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  14. Some of life's best lessons stem from something culinary, don't they ...

    Never the less, I signed up for Weight Watchers this afternoon after lapsing for a couple of years. I can't help thinking that there'll be lessons in there somewhere.

    While I dream of deep fried anything and everything ...

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    1. Hi Linda!
      You are making me laugh and laugh! Don't you think Brussel sprouts (maybe not battered ones) will be a go-to staple for a summer diet? (Ugh -- the words summer and diet don't seem to fit!) But I applaud you for your commitment although I think you are lovely as you are! xo

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