I’m from south Louisiana, below I-10 as some like to designate, and here, food is taken very seriously. We know that you have to eat to live, but we are more into the live-to-eat mentality. We talk about supper at dinner, and we plan every event around what we’re going to be eating. It’s obsessive maybe. We don’t mind. When I meet people at airports and on planes as I travel around speaking, I always tell them to lose 5 pounds before coming to visit so that they can gain 10 while they are here. We have GOOD food. I might be biased, but it’s TRUE.
But as central as food is to my culture, I don’t love to cook it. Quite a while back (many years ago now), I gave over the cooking duties to my husband. I can cook, but he cooks better. At the time when I relinquished control of the kitchen duties, my oldest child had complimented “my” signature dish as the best I had ever made. That time, her dad had made it. As she looked at my face upon uttering her compliment, she knew. She turned to my husband to see a smirk that said it all. In that moment, it was decided. My husband became the person responsible for what we’d eat, and he’d do the majority of the cooking for our family from that point on. I gave in. He was better.
Over the years, I’ve tried helping. I’ve made some dishes of my own here and there. There are actually one or two things that I still do exclusively—my mom’s baked macaroni and cheese, for example. I haven’t entirely abandoned helping my family sustain life, but we have all come to the conclusion that my attention is never keen enough to be trusted in the kitchen. I get distracted; I’ve cooked all the water out of a pot of boiling eggs. They pop, by the way, if you do that. I squirrel away to another task that, while not more interesting, is just more in line with what I’d rather be responsible for. I do this because cooking is not top of mind, even when I’m cooking.
In the time that he’s been our main chef, I’ve paid attention to how he does things, to the processes and preparation he uses when he creates a meal. I admire him for these things. Maybe I’ve never even told him that. Maybe he’ll read this and find out. He has some things that I just don’t have when it comes to cooking.
He has attention and intention.
He has passion and love.
He has a gifting for sure.
He has an inner desire to please those who will get to eat what he’s created.
I’ve paid attention. But when I’m called to cook, I seem unable to muster any of the valuable ingredients to great cooking: heart, attention, intention, preparation, love.
And since I know that these things make for great food, it’s not about not knowing. It’s about not feeling a deep motivation. It’s about not having my heart in the right place.
But as much as I can choose not to “feel the feels” for cooking, I’m not allowed to not feel the feels for communication with others. (You had to know this was coming. LOL) When I take this cooking as a metaphor for my communication, I am rocked.
I’ve been given a great responsibility to be in communication with others. I was made a communicative being and was opted in to the job of doing well by others through my communication. It’s not optional. It’s not okay to say, “I’m not really interested in getting better at that.” Here’s a not-so-secret secret. You can’t either. You might, but you shouldn’t.
My kids can certainly survive on good food that is not the great food their dad provides, but they will certainly not be as receptive or excited about it. And if I keep doing it out of obligation rather than love, they will soon come to feel like they are a burden to me rather than a pleasure. I will be telling them in my lackluster attempt to provide sustenance that they are just something that I have to tend to rather than something that I care to nurture.
It’s the same with my communication. Where am I tending to people rather than nurturing them? Where am I giving a lackluster effort?
For a long time, despite all I knew, I pushed back on my awesome responsibility as a communicator. I wasted many opportunities. I showed up in the “kitchen” of my life unprepared to create something of great value for the people I was in contact with each day. I think we are all guilty of this for far too many minutes in our days. We get caught up in the mundane, and we forget how powerful each moment is to ourselves and the people around us.
No more. Are you with me? Please do join me in this. It is so very important to our witness in this world.
How am I preparing to show up to others?
What ingredients have I gathered to make my interactions palatable?
How am I ensuring a great experience for those who will receive my communication today?
Am I tending to people or nurturing them?
Will I choose to communicate with love?
Will you prepare with me for great communication with all those who cross your path?
Impact for the Kingdom.
Connie Benoit Sirois
Author | Speaker | Trainer
We are called to love others as ourselves. Our communication gives us continual opportunities to do this. We should never miss a chance to honor others. I’d love for you to read about my mission.
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