“For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” (Romans 14:2)
Causing a stir
"Herbs"? Essentially veggies. So how do you do it? Assuming you had no fear nor hangups, how do you keep all the pots on your stove from either boiling over, or burning? Pray tell. Even as I type this, I think about the extended metaphor that is the whole “pots on the stove” thing. Let's extend it a little further, shall we? Is it about nourishment that you look to do what you do? Let me just interject here the big things of life. The ones I look at as those many and varied pots on your stove. Firstly (and these are in no particular order), there's finances. To quote Richard Florida, “Yes, people want enough money to live in the manner they prefer, but...” Extending the pot metaphor, without money, you're going to starve—figuratively, literally, whatever (i.e. life can get hard). But then there's relationships. Without the former, are you willing to even approach someone knowing you don't have a commensurate bank account? Food for thought. Third (and this one's multi-faceted) is vocation. What do you want to do with all those pots? Are you making a several-course meal? Or do they complement one another at all? Do you fast and limit your gustatory fun (essentially holding your breath— mixing metaphors!) to go to school? Maybe. If that's what you feel. If your chosen vocation (read, call) requires you do something along those lines. But then what could you be doing for yourself if you elected to not go to school for a bit (if at all) and develop abstract aspects of your person no school in the world could help you with? Like truly knowing the Lord. Think about this though: did you know you can be hungry (i.e. have an empty stomach) and not feel it? You can feel like food's the last thing you want or need. Recovering from my infrequent flus (complete with stomach aches), I'd swear to myself I'd never eat again. And waste away even worse. I would say that this part of our EM (extended metaphor, of course) points to the aforementioned “fear and hangups” thing. Eat something! It's for your health. I digress.
“Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.” (Acts 27:34)
Referring again to vocation, how are you going to use it? Do you stick with the cuisine of your forefathers or do you branch out? Do you pick the cuisine that would earn you another star in the eyes of the critics? I hear it's best to have four (as opposed to five). You realize you're cooking for one, right? The whole “vocation” thing is a tricky recipe. If you haven't a developed palate, you don't really know what's to your liking and as such may well not even crack open the cookbook. Start small. Water crackers, etc. Do you vocate (yes) for yourself or for someone else? Dispense with the idea of selfless altruism for a moment and think about how, if you aren't a developed person in the first place, you won't have anything to serve anyone else—or to serve anyone else with. “Dumb waiter” indeed.
God's apron strings
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” (Psalm 23:5)
Here's the thing: God is good. He's a trustworthy chef and His menu is unequaled. I began this thought with the notion that it falls to us to keep these things of life astir. And by neglecting them, they most certainly will spoil. But in closing, I find that with Him and in Him, all metaphor tends to fall away. In the Bible, all idiom, metaphor, symbol, etc. vanishes (“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” 1 Corinthians 13:10). The metaphors—extended and non—are gifts with which we're able to frame the heavy, complex (And we haven't even paired the wine!) issues of life. All I can say is put the spoon in God's hand for a moment and see how He does it. At least let him in on your recipe(s). Take some time off in your mind and let him whisk up the most amazing, interlaced meal of your life—one that will in turn nourish you for the work to which He's called you and also everyone else who shows up at your table. Blessings to you.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man (and woman) that trusteth in Him.” (Psalm 34:8)