Welcome Strength is a good thing. Being physically strong helps us achieve some pretty cool goals, along with making day-to-day chores easier. Being mentally strong helps us bear up against life’s struggles and let-downs. And being strong spiritually is where we’d all like to be, right? Sometimes, though, being strong can put you in a really uncomfortable position. I’m happy to share some thoughts with you today on strength and a great breakfast/snack recipe for Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal. Please note that I have a different format for today’s recipe. I am curious if you all like it better, or like my old way of text and pictures. Be sure to comment to let me know! I really do appreciate constructive feedback from my readers.
Food For Thought When I was watching the Olympics last month I paid more attention to pairs figure skating than I usually do. I was thinking about the role of the male skater in the pairs and how he would be considered the “stronger” of the two skaters, while the female skater is often viewed as the graceful one. In his role as being the strongest skater, he gets left with some less than glamourous tasks and a lot of pressure! He is responsible for lifting the female skater and making her look good while doing it. No one wants to hear him grunt and groan while he accomplishes this task! He has to be able to easily transition her from various positions without dropping her and make it not look too awkward in the process. He’s responsible for literally throwing her out into the air across the ice, but with enough finesse that she can complete whatever triple-quad-double-axle-thingy she’s required to do for the routine. I would consider that some serious pressure! And this doesn’t even address the fact that he ends up putting his hands and face in some awkward places sometimes. Pairs figure skating? No, thank you! But while the male’s role in the pair is quite important to the overall achievement of the performance, his strength makes him vulnerable to some challenging tasks, tension, and mistakes. He’s in good company!
When I was teaching, it became apparent that the strongest teachers get “blessed” with the most challenging students and class rosters. While everyone would agree children should be able to have the best possible education experience, it’s a basic fact that there are some teachers that are just better than others. Some teachers are known for their patience, their attention to detail, their warm and caring nature, or the way they connect with hard students. With these wonderful strengths, talents, and gifts, they often end up with more work in the form of some really hard students or families to work with. Education isn’t the only profession using this approach, either. Many other people I have talked to agree that no matter the profession, the better you are at your job, the more work you end up doing. Employers and clients want the best person for the job, so again, the strongest person gets “stuck” with more responsibility and challenges. Isn’t being good at your job supposed to get you rewarded, somehow? It’s easy to see how some would begin to slack off in their work simply to get a break from the challenges. These workers are not alone either.
Whether providing strength to the team in an athletic endeavor or being strong and overworked at your job, sometimes it can feel like being the strongest just really stinks! I have seen this carry over into Christianity, as well. How many good Christians have you known that ended up with what seemed like WAY more than their fair share of trials and struggles? I’ve seen, heard, and read it in many different contexts, but it gets summed up with phrases like, “God only brings the biggest trials to those with the strongest faith. He knows they can bear up under the strain. God will never give you more than you can handle.” That all may be true, but it certainly seems quite unfair. I have seen some of the strongest Christians I know hit over and over again with tragedy and wonder why God would allow such terrible things to happen to such good people. It’s not my place to judge or determine life experiences people do or do not deserve. Many times I’ve been told that these are teachable moments and witnessing opportunities for the individuals or families that experience difficulties. They’re like modern-day Job examples. The rest of us can look at them and say, “Wow, if they keep they’re faith even through all of this, they really are a righteous and blessed person.” But it still stinks! My hats go off to all of the good, strong Christians maintaining their faith during extreme tragedy and adversity! Thanks for helping me keep my perspective on what true trial and tribulation is, although I’m sorry for your suffering. May your strength continue to set examples for how we live and love even when life is hard.
Today’s Scriptures I have these twelve verses handy whenever I find myself needing strength from the Lord, especially when I feel mine is wavering during times of difficulty. Take an opportunity to look through them now, or mark them and save for when you need them most.
Today’s Recipe Oatmeal is a frequent breakfast choice of mine. My favorite way to eat oatmeal is with peanut butter and cinnamon stirred into it. But sometimes a portable breakfast is necessary. This is my version of my favorite bowl of oatmeal, but on the go! This is Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal. It can be gluten-free, as long as you check that your oats have not been processed with wheat. It also has a great protein kick from the peanut butter and eggs stirred in. This baked oatmeal also makes a great snack anytime of day!