2014-03-19 - Leftovers
Whether its the holidays or any other time of the year we all have a personal opinion when we hear the word leftovers in a sentence. In part it would be of more interest to you if the meal was something you enjoyed the first time. And there are some people who are just not interested in eating the meal more than once before waiting at least a week before having it again. Personally I love most leftovers and I dont view them as a fallback when I dont see anything else suitable to eat. My Mom also loved leftovers. In fact she would often look forward to a specific item in the refrigerator when she came home on her lunch hour. I remember the occasional disappointment when someone else thought of it first and she came home to find her idea had been consumed. I fall from the same tree of the less common when it comes to liking leftovers.
Whats more common of food that was from a meal the day before is it being last resort meal. I wondered if we sometimes give people we claim are important to us our leftovers. If youve ever felt like you were with someone who wasnt really in the room with you then youve gotten leftovers. If you got the call that someone wanted to spend time with you when it turns out everyone else was busy youve gotten leftovers. If you felt more like the call you received was a courtesy call than a conversation from someone youre supposed to know then youve gotten leftovers. If someone tells you they miss you, yet, while being many places and with you is not one of them then youve gotten leftovers. I dont know about you, but I am not fond of this type of leftovers at all. While realizing we all make mistakes and dont always give people our best and our full attention there does need to be a line we dont continually cross or let others cross when they are considering themselves important to us and likewise us to them.
Although I am not in the habit of making others a reason or excuse for my behavior, I am realizing that some of the patterns I have developed responding to others is a result of a leftovers unwritten rule that sort of took the place of giving others our best. While part of a life group study I learned that quality time was tied for the top of my list of things that matter the most to me in relationships. I later realized that because of that fact I would often be willing to accept the leftovers instead of sharing how important the actual time with someone was to me. Id gotten used to it and any time at all was better than nothing at all. The product was often unending frustration with some relationships and I could not get past them not changing for the better. And some of those people really arent ones I should be spending lots of time with so I just pray that I have the discernment to know the best course of action to take in order to develop the right relationships and move through the others for the intended purpose of them and not my own agenda. To quote the movie line in Bruce Almighty: Who knows what they really want anyway? What we want is often not what is good for us in the first place.
Most importantly, I dont want to give God my leftovers. He always gives his best even when I dont deserve it. After thinking about how it makes me feel when it happens to me I got extremely sad about how it might make Him feel. Or how it might make someone else put in my life feel if I do that to them. We cant give everything to everyone and it was never intended we should. Yet being wise and thoughtful and prayerful about little things like actually being in the room with people when were engaged in an activity or being fully engaged in the conversation right in front of us and not on the cell phone unless its an emergency. I remember some years ago someone I knew for several years would have this habit of calling me on the phone and then talking to everyone who came into the room. The first time or two to answer a question didnt bother me, but after a while it was as if I wasnt even in the conversation and I was supposed to be the person she was talking to. When we dont value people enough to get beyond giving them whats left over when we had once offered them our full attention then eventually there will cease to be a relationship beyond acquaintance. And this always makes me think of a Richard Paul Evans quote I love so much. We do not neglect people because we cease to love them; rather we cease to love them because we have neglected them. In this society of merciless multitasking remember you dont win by having the most toys or doing the most tasks at once at the time of your last breath. It wasnt true thirty years ago and its not true now. Choose carefully.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.(Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV)
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted. Ephasis in the verses is from the devotional author.