My Mom was an amazing cook. Coming from a long line of creative and frugal gourmets she came by her talent honestly. But, not only was she good at preparing delicious feasts, she thoroughly enjoyed putting a meal together that was pleasing to the palette, as well as colorful to the eye. I remember her telling me that there should be at least four different colors represented on a plate of food. This not only looked appetizing, but would be nutritionally balanced.
I usually fail miserably at following her food guidelines, but I have internalized a truth in regards to coloring my life in order to stay healthy, happy, and balanced. I’ve learned through experience that attitudes come in many colors and can often make a mess on our “plates”.
For over 10 years I had a large poster-like banner displayed in our kitchen that read, “Attitude is the mind’s paintbrush. It can color any situation!” I purchased it to influence my children, whose colorful personalities and sometimes challenging attitudes added to the mess I frequently seemed to be cleaning up. The four of us usually made a very colorful display but at times, spilled words of anger and responses served with sarcasm left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
It wasn’t long before I began to realize that the oppression we sometimes felt in our home came from the attitudes we chose in response to the circumstances of our lives. I simply had too much on my “plate”. My two boys were simply testing boundaries and experiencing the flavorful, yet confusing and tempting world around them. I think occasionally my husband wanted to bag us up and send us packing! But it really had nothing to do with our relationships with each other. Our circumstances had us choosing the wrong attitudes.
How many of us find that our plates are so full that the frustration from yesterday’s board meeting has run into the pile of bills that are overdue? Has communication in your marriage gotten cold and become stale and tasteless? Maybe your plate is piled with good things but they’ve combined to form a heavy burden of heartburn. Stress and fear cause terrible indigestion.
So, serve up a feast of cheerfulness tonight! Add in a cup of grace, sprinkled with kind words and a listening ear. And for dessert? Try some love and understanding. The table will be set, balanced, and ready for healing, forgiveness, rest, and joy!
Sue Payne is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in home schooling newsletters and church news bulletins. She is experienced in curriculum planning and design and uses her writing skills to encourage and teach others. Sue lives in Delaware, is married, and has two boys whom she home schooled for a total of fourteen years.