Friday, September 2, 2016

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Understanding Ourselves

I don't understand myself sometimes. 

I say one thing (I want to lose weight) and then I do something else (I eat a whole Hershey bar).

I plan to get lots accomplished in the morning and then I "piddle" my way through the day without getting much of anything done.

Sometimes I make surprising purchases.

A couple of weeks ago I went shopping with my daughter Erin in Shenandoah, Iowa and this bracelet caught my eye:

I liked the crosses and the words on the back of the charms. I tried it on, put it down, watched Erin try on some clothes and then went back to it and picked it up again. Erin had a coupon that she let me use and that clinched it. I bought it and put it on as we left the store. I enjoyed seeing it on my wrist as we went out for supper and went back to her house.

I got home to Allison and showed it to the rest of the family. Gary seemed to like it, but he commented, "I thought about a month ago you told me to never buy you a charm bracelet."

He was right. I had said that, but I had not given it one single thought as I admired and bought my bracelet. Since then, when I see it on my dresser it's a reminder of my bad memory. I still love it and I will wear it, but it shocked me that I could say something and have no recollection of it such a short time later.

On this same trip to Shenandoah, Erin and I went out to eat and got a special Mediterranean pizza. It had pesto sauce, chicken, little tomatoes, feta cheese, and an unfamiliar dark sauce on it. It was so good. That mystery sauce had such a tangy, sweet flavor. I had to dip the last pieces of my crust in the drops left on the tray to get a little more. That flavor stayed with me and I just had to know what it was!

When I got home I thought about calling the restaurant to ask about it, but somehow I figured out that it must have been balsamic vinegar. I looked into it online and found out that it was a special vinegar from Italy made from grape must and aged for years in a series of wooden barrels. 

I found out that the true balsamic vinegar made in Modena, Italy could be very expensive, but I started to dream of visiting Modena someday and convincing Gary to let me buy a bottle of vinegar, even if it cost over a hundred dollars.

A little more research helped me figure out that you could buy less expensive versions of balsamic vinegar here in the U.S. and the quality was still very good. So when I was out shopping, I picked up a bottle of it...and then a second one.
Then I bought a bottle of pesto. And a container of feta cheese. And a loaf of Garlic Ciabatta bread. I shook my head when I got home. Two bottles of something I had never used before? Pesto and feta cheese? Who was I?  

I don't understand me at all. I have done similar things in the past and then never used the special ingredients, but this time, I dove in and tried it.  

I sliced the Ciabatta bread in half.

I spread the pesto on the bread and cooked up a chicken breast.

I sprinkled feta cheese on top.

I reduced the balsamic vinegar on the stove to thicken it and then I drizzled it over my "pizza" and broiled it 'til it seemed done.

Guess what. We liked it. It wasn't as good as the restaurant in Shenandoah, but for my first try, I was pleased. I'll try again and tweak it to make it better.

I still don't understand myself, but even some of the wacky things I do can turn out pretty good. 

Anybody need a little balsamic vinegar? 

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15 NIV)

Remember, God understands us completely, quirks and all:

"You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." (Psalm 139:1-6 NIV) 

Do you have trouble understanding yourself sometimes? How can focusing on God help you to rest in His love, stay away from sin, and accept your own surprising actions?


  1. Okay, I so want to cook this and eat some of your experiment! Sometimes if we don't try new things, we miss out on some pleasant surprises. I don't understand myself, either, but I strive to work at it. When I finally figure it all out, I'm guessing I get to go home. Great post, Robyn.

    1. Thanks, Virginia! Some tips if you try it: my family said to use less pesto on the bread. I bought Feta Cheese crumbles, so I don't know if the actual feta cheese would be better - maybe next time I'll try it. I also think I'd like the vinegar a little sweeter - I may try to add a little honey next time. I think you're right about going home by the time we figure it all out...guess we just have to hang in there and keep trying until then (and learn to laugh at ourselves when we do silly stuff that doesn't make much sense). ~Robyn