I used to work at Cygnus restaurant before I got married. It was by chance that I got the job. I had gone to a mass interview process for jobs at the Devos Place and was pulled aside to interview for the hostess position at the upscale restaurant on the top of the Amway hotel. I got offered the job that day and worked there for about eighteen months leading up to my wedding. It ended up being a fun job.
Sometimes I witnessed a marriage proposal, often times families were out celebrating something special or business people were wining and dining their clients. The job was easy; just show the people to the table, smile and make sure you used the phrases they taught you in training like "my pleasure" and "certainly Mr. so-and-so." Never point your finger but always use your entire hand to gesture. I came to recognize the executives high up in Amway that frequently dined with us. I learned the names and faces of our regular clients. One in particular always caught my attention.
He came in about once a month. He always requested a particular table and dined in on a weeknight when we weren't as busy. He was curt, but polite and always carried a book. He just sat comfortably and read, enjoyed his dinner and left. I was told he tipped well. I always thought to myself " Who does that? Who has the time to come in every month to an expensive restaurant just because?"
Tonight, that was me. I have actually never sat alone at a restaurant and eaten, but tonight I found myself with a good book and an even better glass of wine sitting at a table for one. A few nights ago, I dropped a full bottle of water on my toe. I immediately dropped to the ground and started sobbing. No joke. I mean it actually hurt pretty bad, but sobbing is a little dramatic for a toe. My husband, who is a pretty smart guy, just let me cry it out. I went and took a hot shower and came out all blotchy, red-faced and swollen eyed. We sat next to each other for a few minutes before he broke the silence by telling me he had booked a hotel for two nights and he expected me to go, alone.
I said no. I gave every excuse in the book why this was impossible. He had work, I had to get a child to an appointment, there was a book report due, football practice, Sawyer has not been home very long, Charlie isn't sleeping and so on. He just sorta glanced at the water bottle then back at me. He said, "I don't want to argue about this, but I think you could use a break." I still said no. But here I am, sitting in a hotel room with me, myself and I and it's a little awkward.
I don't think I have been by myself overnight anywhere for years. I've been away, I've had vacations but I have always been with someone. I don't really know what to do, I have a hard time just sitting at home, so this is a struggle. Which sounds funny because I don't know how many days a week I think about just getting a few minutes alone and here I am alone.
Last week at church we had a special guest, he was really good, and I keep thinking about what He spoke on. He taught about receiving and how it's just as important or maybe even more so than giving. After all, how can you give if you never receive anything? Of course, I had heard this before. You must be filled up spiritually in order to give to others. Quiet time with God is essential for getting through your day. Fill your tank so you can go somewhere etc. But he said something that I have been thinking about since that service. In the context of the sermon, it was something close to " The inability to receive is actually a sign of arrogance." Hmph.
He shared that God had been laying on his heart to start a community of generosity. His merchandise was available to buy after the service, if you couldn't afford it, but wanted it, just tell the people working the table. They would simply give it to you. If you could afford it and afford to pay for someone else's, then do that. If you could afford it but God was telling you to receive one for free, then go ahead and do that. He told a story about a wealthy lady who had bought a bunch of merchandise for herself and had bought even more to donate. She went to leave but was physically unable to exit the building. Crying and in tears, she went back and asked for a free book. She had so much in life, she didn't feel she had the need to receive.
Receiving can be hard. I think, for me, it's hard because it means I am lacking something. Why is it so hard to ask for help? Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't be able to ask for help because my family is healthy, my husband has a stable job, we live in a nice house, we have food in our cupboards. I feel as though I really don't deserve to ask for help. And I don't know why I feel that way, but to me, it's a reflection of what I can't handle. My Type A personality really struggles not handling things. I have a real need to be doing something. Whether it be for God or others. I am always praying, "God, what can I can do for you?" I just didn't expect him to say, be still and receive.
So when I heard that in certain terms not asking for help is a sign of arrogance, I felt a little twinge. Could it be that my unwillingness to ask for help and taking the time to settle my soul is actually a sign of disobedience? When I thought about it that way, I agreed to a few days away. My husband was being sensitive to the Holy Spirit when he set this up for me. (He is awesome)
So could a dinner alone be an act of obedience? Can receiving a break for a few days away be steps in humility? And is it possible that just being still before God is really all He is asking of you right now? I think yes. What a Father! One that is able to understand my heart and my anxious thoughts. He adjusts my view and opinion not by condemnation, but in a quiet whisper. I am so thankful for His help.