Kathleen Peterson

a disciple along the way

Greater than All-You-Can-Eat

Have you ever been to one of those all-you-can-eat buffets?

I’m talking about the really big ones that offer too many options to list – from Asian fusion to pizza & pasta, the salad bar, fresh seafood, all American, and don’t forget the most import… the desert bar!

Jerry and I don’t visit these kinds of restaurants often.  I don’t eat much and he’s diabetic.  Financially, we take the loss and honestly, I never know where to begin.  It can often be so overwhelming that when we do go, I often just ‘settle’ for what I know and am comfortable with – General Tso’s chicken, crab legs, and cheesecake.

And, let’s be honest, the food is extremely sub-par.

It’s like… all-you-can-settle-for with endless options of blah.

Life is full of options – what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to do.  Some decisions are easier; some are more important.  And, the options and ease with which those decisions come can vary as one gets older.

When I was in my 20s, what to wear was based upon who I wanted to impress.

Now it’s about what’s clean and still fits.

When we were younger, our kids founded our decisions.  Perkins would be the ‘nicest’ restaurant we could attend without disrupting others.

Today, kids grown up and moved out, we prefer the local wine bar.

There were many years when finances dictated ‘stay’cations, with backyard cookouts and catching up on home improvement projects.

But, these last few years have allowed Jerry and I to experience travel abroad.

We’ve been blessed to have options in many different areas of our life.  We ave also been blessed with the grace to be happy with what is simply placed before us.

I never realized how family, finances, and work dictated the kind of choices that were available to us until reflecting on my inability to make a decision on this next stage in life.  Now that the kids have moved out, our is mortgage paid off, and my time is open due to an early retirement, the options seem overwhelming.

Dare I enter the all-you-can-eat buffet?

Or is there something better?

As a youth minister I would tell young people that they were created for greatness, designed for holiness, that God breathed them into life for a purpose and with a mission only they could fulfill.

Those words would flow forth with passion like a battle cry.

Greatness!  Purpose!  Mission!  Holiness!

It was so easy to share the message with others.  I believed those words with all my heart.

Now, it’s time for me to heed my own advice.

Recently, I began to see a therapist for depression and anxiety (which I  didn’t know I had). Talking things through, it seems my anxiety has been building for a long time and due to several insecurities that I have.  My responses are to ‘freeze’ and ‘avoid’.

I’m a ‘freeze’ kind of person in the “fight, flight, freeze” anxiety responses.  And I avoid what I perceive may make me uncomfortable.

It’s easier for me to make excuses not to attend something for fear that I might be out of my comfort-zone, or face the unknown. But, it’s an evil cycle.  The more I stay home, the more isolated I’ve made myself and the isolation is causing depression.

Also playing a part in my depression is the lack of purpose.

Yes, I’m a wife and mom. I keep up with housework, laundry, and care for my cat.  But the loss of serving a greater good outside of our home leaves me empty, feeling dry, and very ‘meh.

My therapist is helping me to the pieces together and she’s challenged me to seek out ways to serve where I can use those gifts that God has given to me.

Instead of heading to the all-you-can-eat buffet and settling for comfort food, I’ll be praying for discernment.

My hope is that by listening for God’s voice I will be directed to a great banquet where I can serve others with purpose, mission, and holiness!

Pray for me as I pray for you.

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