I was in second grade when I approached my teacher with an all-important question: “Ms. Burby,” I asked. “How do you spell tortellini?”
Surprised that an eight-year-old would have such a sophisticated palate, she gave me an odd look. It’s my favorite food,” I remember explaining as I pointed to the question on our worksheet for the day. One by one, she gave me the letters:
While it’s highly possible I only deemed tortellini my “favorite” because it was fun to say, I do remember loving the stuff. It was indeed delicious, and my eight-year-old self didn’t think it odd that nearly every other kid had crowned pizza the ultimate food (nothing against pizza, I promise).
Something changed though. That little second grader grew into a sad seventh grader who became a scared high school student in the throes of an eating disorder.
What Happens When We Reject God’s Good Gifts
So, for 10+ years, I avoided it. I tip-toed around recovery, learning how to say the right words and stay above the radar. But internally, I knew I had traded the abundant life God offers for bondage… from the moment I opened my eyes until the moment I collapsed in bed, rules reigned. And rules didn’t allow for foods like tortellini.
Until last week.
Last week, I sat down at a table with a bowl of tortellini soup–among other lunch items–that I needed to eat in order to nourish my body. Maybe it was the healing God is doing in my heart; maybe it was the fact that I felt like I was in a safe environment. Most likely, it was a combination of the two that brought a smile to my face as I lifted my spoon and tried a food I had once loved.
After the meal, as I was processing how it went, I was shocked at the tears that sprouted to my eyes in recalling that memory from second grade. It was so impactful to me that I couldn’t help but mourn the time and memories lost by this rule and so many others.
“It’s not just tortellini,” I said. “It’s the realization that I have punished and restricted myself for so long that I’ve missed out on simple pleasures like this one.”
Yet, those tears were mingled with joy, as well. They expressed the joy of winning another hard fought battle on my journey to freedom.
When I sat down to discern what word God wanted me to focus on during 2022, “abundance” resonated, loud and clear. But the more I press into that word, the more I am seeing the layers of complexity that it entails.
Abundance isn’t just about letting our guard down before the Lord or enjoying what He’s given (though it certainly is about those things). It also entails a stance of surrender… a recognition that whatever liberties and blessings we’ve been given are to be received, even when it feels uncomfortable.
How Discomfort Is the Key to Growth
Resting, trusting, and eating foods I haven’t eaten in ten years. Those are uncomfortable acts of surrender for me. And no matter where life finds you today, I’m sure you have a list of your own.
You struggle to accept forgiveness, you want to micromanage your child/children, you’re avoiding a step of faith because you’re afraid of the unknown.
Whether we label them good or bad, we tend to closely guard the unknowns in our life:
What will happen if I receive forgiveness?
How will that child respond?
When will everything collapse?
Will God hold me when I surrender these rules and eat foods I deemed “unsafe”?
Sometimes, we don’t know the immediate answers. But we can rest assured that God is in the details and that ultimately, what He allows and provides is something we can and should step into in freedom.
In other words: Abundance arises from a posture of surrender. The more we cling to our comforts, the less we allow God to do His thing in our lives! Psalm 23:1 addresses this fear in no uncertain terms: “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all I need.”
That means that when we allow the Good Shepherd to guide us, we will experience abundance that results from every situation or blessing He’s given–whether a struggle at work, the discomfort of accepting forgiveness, or the sight of tortellini. 🙂
Abundance arises from a posture of surrender.
We’re called to surrender to His plans and His ways, to not live in our own paradigm of “good” and “bad,” for with Him, we have all we need.
Resting & Stepping Forward
This truth is propelling me forward today. Neither you nor I can experience abundance unless we surrender to God. That also means that neither you nor I can experience abundance unless we forsake our definitions of what is “good” or “bad” in our lives. Romans 8:28 debunks that blanketed statement of belief, and it assures us that abundance is found not in certainty, success, or strict rules. It is found in Christ alone.
One thought on “How Do You Spell Tortellini?”
Amen! Great writer and follower of Jesus! I love you.