Why I'm No Longer Afraid to Set the Table

"Aren't you going to answer the door?"

My friend gave me a confused look as I let the doorbell ring. I was trying to flip burnt pancakes and make more batter and cook bacon. And darn it, I was really counting on all the guests to show up late so that they didn't have to see this hot mess.

"Seriously, go get the door." Half smiling, she took the spatula and pushed me towards the entrance.

All that to say, having breakfast for dinner sounds really great in theory. But when you buy all the ingredients last minute and you can't multitask, it just creates burnt pancakes and an anxious hostess who wants to run away and hide from the mess.

Unfortunately, the running away and hiding seems to be a recurring theme in my life.

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Although I'm an introvert, I need people.

I need relationships and connection and a meal to share with beloved friends.

Since we've been married, my husband and I have talked about making our home a place for regular gatherings around the table.

That breakfast dinner was the first of our weekly dinners that we planned to host in our home.

But after the stress of hosting just once, I mentioned to my husband that maybe we should change it to just once or twice a month. And my very logical argument could be summed up in this phrase:

"I'm just not capable of cooking for a bunch of people and holding a conversation at the same time!"

My very loving husband was silent for a moment. Then he said, "When you talk about these dinners, you are imagining as if you have to prepare this all by yourself. But I can help, I want to do this with you."

"You see that you are not alone, don't you?"

"All you have to do is ask for help and remember that I am already here with you."

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Too often, I let fear make decisions for me.

I don't realize that it's fear that is doing it because I cover it up with excuses that sound like solid arguments in my mind.

"I have never been able to do it before, so I can't do it ever."
But that actually means,
"I know this won't come easy, so I'm sure I shouldn't try."
Or more simply (and vaguely) put,
"I don't want to fail."

Fear was keeping me from setting my table.

And it's all too easy to look at the other tables in my life —my relationships or my writing or future plans— and imagine that Jesus is not there with me.

To see obstacles in front of the places I'm called to be and the dreams I long to chase, and imagine that I am on this journey alone. 

So fear comes in and tells me that I dare not try.

It tempts me to forget that the Word of God says, "Fear not, for I AM with you." (Isaiah 41:10)

But the thing is, Jesus is not afraid of the obstacles or my weakness.

Instead, the gospels remind us that He spent a lot of time on earth gathered around some sort of table, cultivating the Kingdom of God with people who didn't have their acts together.

Walking with Jesus reminds me that He is not afraid of my pace or my inability to multitask. That He works with me and walks with me through every obstacle —the big and scary, and the slow and small moments of everyday life.

And you know what? Being a slow-paced person means that it will take me a bit longer to make dinner, especially for friends. 

And that's okay.

Because the precious things in life —things made in a simple, unhurried pace— are often the most special. 

After all, that seems to be the pace of our Heavenly Father, right?

His unhurried hands healing the deepest parts of our hearts. Letting roots run deep, the sourdough bread rise, and the sun set slowly at the end of each day.

It's the artisan pace of our Artisan Father.

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We've had a couple more dinner parties since then.

And it has been absolutely wonderful.

With a little planning, prayer, and simplifying, dinners in this home have blessed us and our guests.

I hope this reminder blesses you too, to set your own table at your own artisan pace.