Maybe It’s Time for a Different Kind of Question

by Andy Wood on December 12, 2014

in Five LV Laws, LV Stories, Principle of Increase, Turning Points

Raw Chicken

Have you ever had somebody you wanted so badly to impress that you were sure to set yourself up for disaster?

Not really?

Okay, you can just laugh at my story then.

I was in my first pastorate – a lovely country church just out on the edge of a small town in southwest Alabama.  People there were so kind and gracious to us.  I was new and eager to impress, plus was passionate and excited about reaching people and seeing the church grow and flourish.

But this isn’t about reaching people or growing churches.  It’s about chicken.

Grilling chicken, to be precise.

A family had recently moved to town – a doctor and his wife.  And I wanted to invite Sid the doctor and his family to our church.  So as something of a precursor (in more ways than one) we invited them to our home one summer evening for dinner. And in a moment of utter brain freeze, somebody got the bright idea to grill chicken.

What is it about being the husband and father that’s supposed to make you a bloomin’ grilling expert?  I guess it’s the last vestige of our cave man days.  The hairy one goes into the forest and returns with chicken breasts at 69 cents a pound and throws them on the open fire, lit by propane.

Anyway, in my inexperience, my grilled chicken gets pretty scorched on the outside and looks done.  So we all sit down to the table and cut into it (you know where this is going, don’t you?) – and it’s near-bloody raw on the inside.

Did I mention this was a doctor and his wife?

That we were trying to impress?

We did our damage control over the meal itself; I’m sure a microwave was involved.  But the epic fail really got off with me. I apologized profusely, and of course, our guests (who were also mature Christians) handled it all graciously and good-naturedly.

That should have been the end of the story.  But see, chickens aren’t the only ones who brood.  I was still fretting about burned-raw chicken the next time I saw Sid in town a couple of days later.  He again thanked me for our hospitality.  And I again fretted and fussed and groveled over grilled chicken.

That’s when Sid had heard enough.  And in the wisest, kindest of voices he stopped me in my tracks and interrupted my mental grave-digging.

“What would you do differently?” he asked.

I actually found an immediate answer to his question.  Why?  Because there was one. And even if there wasn’t one, God created our brains as enormously powerful engines and rudders to channel our energy in a host of different directions.

But before we can harness our own God-given ability, as well as access His limitless wisdom and strength, we have to interrupt some of our own patterns of mental self-sabotage.

For starters, turn off that mental butt-kicking machine.  Okay, something bad or embarrassing happened.  Feel the disappointment or embarrassment, and move on.

For another, stop trying so hard to impress people.  Love them and serve them, and leave the impressions to them and God.  The harder you try, the more insecure you look, and all you get is burned-raw chicken.

Finally, challenge the underlying fears that make you come to stupid conclusions.  Like the story of Wizard of Oz, the noise and fury of your anxieties has very little to do with the truth.  Pull back the curtain and face them down for what they are.

Sid and his family decided to join a sister church in town.  They must have had better chicken.  But he left me with a precious gift I’m sure he didn’t even realize.  Anybody can get trapped in a ditch of problem-centered thinking.  To get out, all it takes is a different kind of question.

What would you do differently?

What would you do if money weren’t an issue?

What would you do if you had the time?

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

What would you do if you knew that failure wouldn’t set you back, but actually make you stronger?

I’ve been hearing Sid’s wise, mature voice in my head recently.  More on that later.  For now, do you find yourself with any self-sabotaging patterns of thinking?  Maybe it’s time for a different kind of question.

It could be just what the doctor ordered.

(Yeah, I just wrote a cheesy cliché about doctors.)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando December 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm

This is a story with which we can all identify, Andy. Thankfully, as we age, the need to impress others grows less and less. The only One I wish to impress is God.
Blessings, my friend!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Christ is All We Have

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