Fortunately, supper was on the grill so it did not set off all the smoke detectors in the house. The Mediterranean Chicken that I had carefully prepared did take on the appearance of a burnt offering though.
But why the grill fire? I had followed the recipe closely. I even measured the ingredients this time (previous cayenne pepper miscalculations taught me something). I let the chicken marinate, warmed the grill up, then got it cooking. And then I went back to working on a writing assignment—out of eyesight of the grill. Some time later I heard my wife’s voice calling to me about “Smoke” and “Fire”.
The grill had become consumed in a grease fire. Impressive black smoke billowed out, with orange yellow flames spurting out from under the cover in search of oxygen. This was not the sight of successful meal preparation. This one was not going to make it to Pinterest.
Two issues happened here. First, I took my eyes off the mission. I got distracted and despite my preparation, I did not follow through to the end. Second, I had not taken care of hidden issues. Although I prepared the chicken according to the recipe, I did not clean the pooled grease from the grill that had accumulated from previous cooking adventures. The result is a simple equation.
Lack of follow through + unresolved issues = Hot Mess
Maybe supper preparation is fairly similar to life. We can be following God’s plan, be taking the right steps at the right time, but then get distracted. We can take our eyes off of where we are going and gradually get derailed into distracted living in which God’s priorities are no longer at the forefront of our living. I think that I often focus on this distracted living at the expense of considering unresolved issues. Just like pooled grease provided a ready fuel source for the grill fire, so unresolved issues in our lives provide sources of flare ups in our lives. If we continue to turn a blind eye to unresolved anger, grief, disappointment, loss along with sin that is not dealt with, we are inviting a hot mess to emerge in our lives. Just like the grill fire that came out of nowhere, we invite a hot mess in life without dealing with unresolved issues.
That is true on an individual basis, and it is so true as a church as well. Following through matters as a church. When we take on too many tasks or too many initiatives, we become overwhelmed and do not follow through on God’s missional priorities. Clearly, that is a miss. But our concern should go beyond follow through.
What unresolved issues are there in our church that continue to be ‘pools of grease ready to ignite’? What relational barriers are there between people? What unrepentant sins are lurking? What painful experiences have we not openly acknowledged? Without addressing our unresolved issues, we invite the next hot mess.
So, I have learned to try to avoid fiery inferno meal preparation. I have also learned the same in the course of my life—that following through and dealing with unresolved issues matters. I am thankful that we have the same opportunity for healthier living as a church and Conference as well. Living with the tension of wondering when the next ‘grill fire’ is going to take place is no fun—nor is it part of God’s design.
Grace and peace,
Executive Director, Seventh Day Baptist General Conference of USA and Canada