The $12 Bowl of Lettuce
Amazing to me was that no one had the salad made the way they really wanted it. Equally mystifying was why they bothered to choose any particular salad since they proceeded to have every item that would have made it appetizing or satisfying withheld.
“Excellent,” responded the waitress.
“I’m on a diet though; so please hold the bacon and cheese.” At this point, my colleague cast a timid glance in the direction of the principal dieter in time to see a frown and slight shake of the head. With a sigh of resignation she said, “Hold the egg as well, and I’ll have the vinaigrette on the side.”
The server took surprisingly few notes.
In bewilderment, I watched four ladies order four different salads – each without seeds, nuts, cheese, or meat of any kind and all with vinaigrette on the side. “See,” the lead dieter said with pride. “You can ask for your salad exactly as you want it.”
The waitress was waiting on me, her pencil poised.
“I’ll have the Cajun chicken salad, blue cheese on the side.”
I snapped my menu shut, and she looked at me with one eyebrow slightly raised. “Is that it?”
“Yes, thank you.” I felt the corners of my mouth stretch into a grin. At the same time, her right eye dipped slightly, and I was sure she was winking at me. She thought it was as ridiculous as I did.
How well I remember that silly lunch. The four ladies yummed and commented repeatedly on how their salads were exactly as they had ordered them. It would have been difficult to mess them up. All four were exactly the same – a bowl of plain greens with a diet dressing on the side.
Envious looks landed on my delicious salad, and I knew they were secretly wishing they hadn’t spent $12 on a bowl of lettuce.
Except for the very most special occasions, I stuck to my grilled chicken salads with a dressing I loved on the side. I had chosen a diet I could keep.
When I was 11 years old, my pastor encouraged a group of us youngsters to have personal devotions.
“Every day,” he said, “you need to read your Bible and pray.” Then he gave me some revolutionary advice. Everyone else told me I should read my Bible for 30 minutes and pray for at least 15. I knew I couldn’t do it. I knew it would be great if I did, but at 11 years old, I could barely sit still for 45 minutes let alone study and pray that long.
“Commit to reading at least five verses and praying for five minutes every single day. Hopefully your time will increase, but commit to that much no matter what.”
I felt so much freedom when he gave us that instruction. I knew I could do it. With his wise advice to guide me, I’ve almost never missed a day since then.
Yes my Bible time did grow, but it was because I didn’t dread a regimen I couldn’t stick to.
My dieting friends had the best of intentions, but they had failed before they’d begun. Many people want to be faithful to their personal time with God, but they honestly can’t fathom clearing a big chunk of time and staying focused on God. Guilt takes over, and that isn’t a pleasant feeling either; so they never even start.
If you’re not spending time with God on a daily basis, I challenge you to begin today. Start in Psalms or Proverbs and read five verses a day, or pick an interesting book like Job, Judges, or Ruth and read a chapter a day. Then pray and don’t let yourself go to bed until you’ve done at least that much. Before you know it, you’ll have established a routine. Soon you won’t be satisfied with five verses; your time with God will expand.
I started the diet 30 years ago, and I’m still sticking to it because I’ve found I simply can’t get along without it.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12