One thousand gifts. (+meal plan!)

As I’ve mentioned, I’m reading Jerry Bridges’ excellent book, The Discipline of Grace.  Although I’ll try to remember to do a full review when I’m done, here’s the premise:  discipline and grace are two of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life to pin down and approach correctly on a consistent basis.  The grace of God draws us, saves us, and transforms us; he truly does it all and full credit is his for our every success. And yet we are commanded to be disciplined, to be faithful, to “work out our salvation.”  Bridges wrote this book to explain our responsibility in the context of grace.  How we “through Christ” and “in Christ” and “by His grace” fulfill our obligations.  Striking the right balance keeps us from becoming perfectionists, striving to earn God’s love, and from being lazy and excusing sin because grace has already paid the price.  The chapter I finished today talked about putting sin to death and putting on Christ-like character to replace it.

I’ve seen my cousin Anna blog a list of things she is thankful for, inspired by A Holy Experience.  Many of that blog’s readers have formed a community of gratitude, committing to write 1,000 things they are thankful for in a span of several months.  My goal is to do this every Monday with the community.  What does this have to do with The Discipline of Grace? Well, I’ve spent time lately reflecting on my besetting sins.  A “besetting” sin is one that I constantly struggle with and that seems hard to shake because I have continued to say yes to it over and over again.  Part of my responsibility of disciplining myself by God’s grace is to identify and put to death the specific recurring sins I recognize in myself.  One of the sins that I need to deal with drastically is self-pity.  And it’s not enough to just stop being self-pitying (which is a particularly ugly form of disguised pride) — I’m not called to “put off the old self” without putting on the new self that is mine because of Jesus.  This new self must be a thankful self.  So here I go.

I am thankful for….

1. Time off this summer to organize, relax, write, and spend time with friends.

2. Kieran’s fuzzy, warm little body cuddled up next to me.

3.  My home, however simple — four walls, a roof, and safety that so many do not have.

4. Jobs for both Eric and myself in a state with the second highest unemployment rate in the country.

5. Tea.  Always tea.

6. Permission to paint some walls in my apartment!

7. My Mama, for teaching me how to cook.

8.  My Papa, for challenging my mind.

9. Bright colors and tacky clothes that make me smile.

10. Days Eric sleeps in with me. (Like today!)

11. A city to explore.

12. Free books, movies, and music from the library.

13. Being sick less than once a year since my surgery in 2005.

14. Not having any allergies, injuries, or disabilities.

15. Spending time with friends this weekend.

16. Rapid-fire fireworks-induced laughter on Saturday night.

17. Babies and little kids at church.

18. Creativity.

19. Blankets when I’m cold and fans when I’m hot.

20. Food to eat.

Food

Since it’s Monday, I also must plan what we’re eating this week!  Last week’s plan went like so….

Monday: Pasta with chicken, tomato, basil, and asiago cheese, salad
Tuesday:
Pork shoulder ribs, coleslaw Fish/mostly-shrimp tacos
Wednesday: Mahi Mahi tacos Herbed pork chops with raspberry sauce (my go-to EASY pork recipe), broccoli
Thursday:
Shrimp and broccoli fried rice Salad, and fed at youth group!
Weekend:
(We’re possibly going out of town, but I’m planning some quick options just in case) B.L.T.’s, Chicken quesadillas, Pizza On Friday I made bbq chicken and margherita pizza. On Saturday we did go to visit friends.  Ironically, two of our out-of-town meals were B.L.T.’s and pizza!  We also were treated to a wonderful dinner of grilled steak, fruit salad, grilled zucchini and red potatoes.  Yum.

I had a couple snafus that threw my plan off, including frozen meat, forgotten charcoal, and the discovery that I only had one frozen  Mahi Mahi fillet left. So, not exactly how I planned!  Hopefully I will do a better job of defrosting necessary items and correctly calculating ingredients this week.  And we bought charcoal yesterday!

This week…

Monday: Fish tacos with leftover cabbage/white sauce/limes

Tuesday: Pork shoulder ribs, coleslaw, fruit salad

Wednesday: Cashew chicken

Thursday: Eric’s birthday!!  I’m not telling.

Friday: Leftovers

Sat/Sun: Grilled burgers, pasta salad, snacks?

[photo credit]

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8 Responses to “One thousand gifts. (+meal plan!)”

  1. That book sounds amazing, since the tension between discipline and grace is one I’ve been struggling with a lot lately (although who doesn’t?).

  2. I highly recommend it. It’s been so, so helpful. I struggle with being performance-oriented and accepting grace and his explanation of the gospel in light of discipline has been earth-shattering for me. One of those “I knew this before but when you put it THAT way…..” reads. :) You should get a hold of it! If you can’t find it I’d be happy to lend you my copy.

  3. You are doing a wonderful job of interpreting the book, “The Disciplines of Grace,” which is one of my favorites! I appreciate your personal insights, Brynna, and your “1000 gifts” list. And your recipes look delicious!

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