Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Meal with Jesus

In the past year I feel like I've become a completely different person. Before I was "Mrs. Peterson," I was introverted, career-minded, and - to be very honest - depressed. I was always anxious about social situations, making up random sicknesses and deadlines to excuse myself from anything that required conversation with more than one person. Eventually I ran out of excuses, but that was typically about the same time people stopped asking me. It was like an unspoken agreement: everyone knew I was lying to get out of social activities, but no one was allowed to say it outright. I never invited anyone over for dinner, coffee, or a movie.

Skip ahead to June 27, 2010 - the day I got married. It never really clicked with me that all those quiet nights alone were no longer a reality. I was married, and my husband was going to live with me. In our apartment. Every night. And more importantly, he had a right to do so. This may sound silly, but it took a lot of time for me to get accustomed to having someone else there with me (side note: I had a single room in college, then moved into an apartment by myself for my first job, then bought my own house....), even though I loved him and was absolutely thrilled to be married. I would go into the other room, then get upset when John would eventually wander in. This is my space! I would think to myself. Why is he here?!

Courtesy of

Over the past year I changed so much. I've made new friends, grown (slightly) more patient, and realized how much I've missed out on by retreating into seclusion.

I began to love going out to coffee with friends.

I began to love holding their babies.

I began to love asking them for advice, and giving advice when asked.

I began to love going out on double dates.

I began to love running into people I know at Walmart and stopping for a quick chat.

And the thing is, about the time I had this massive shift in perspective, John bought this book called A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester. He bought it for himself, but I ended up reading it as well.  In it, Chester talks about how the ultimate witnessing tool is food. How the idea of sharing a meal together is far more intimate than we realize.
"When we invite people into our homes, we're putting ourselves on display. How will they evaluate our cooking, cleaning, decor, or parenting? Craving other people's approval or fearing their censure is what the Bible calls 'fear of man.' The Bible's antidote is the 'fear of the Lord.' When God's opinion is what matters most - the God who smiles on us in His grace - then we're liberated to serve others our of love, rather than gain their good opinion."

"We (Christians) should have a reputation for throwing the best parties."

"Jesus didn't run projects, establish ministries, create programs, or put on events. He ate meals. If you routinely share meals and you have a passion for Jesus, then you'll be doing mission."

As I read all these things I realized that this newly discovered openness was not random, nor was it "me" becoming a better person. It was God telling me, Kelly, this is your mission. I need you to start sharing life with your brothers and sisters. 


So I have been, and it's amazing. Just this past week John and I hosted community group at our apartment. Nothing fancy at all, just a picnic-themed potluck with a dozen or so friends from church. I was a bit nervous (especially since the electricity in our complex went out three hours before...but it eventually came back on), and I worried way too much about my cleaning/tidying abilities. But as soon as everyone arrived I thanked God for allowing us to host, and for putting this love in my heart. And I cannot wait for the next opportunity to share life with His children, my brothers and sisters.

(Here is a great review of the book from The Gospel Coalition's Justin Taylor, if you're interested...)


  1. Inspiring!

    I've got to get that book :)

    aka nwafoodie

  2. I love this--especially since I was so curious about how you'd adjust to married life. I miss being close enough to force you to be my friend, but I'm so thankful you're enjoying inviting more people into your life. The next time Jesus comes over for dinner, tell Him I said "hey".

  3. I love this. Now I'm thinking about who I can invite over. If nothing else it forces me to clean the house.

  4. "I would go into the other room, then get upset when John would eventually wander in. This is my space! I would think to myself. Why is he here?!"

    my favorite line. I've totally felt that way! :)

    on a different note, I love your button to your freelancing site- I may have said it before but I really like that picture!

  5. You have me to thank for a lot of your hide-n-seek and I have my mother to thank for mine. Our house is God's house, and who are we to turn people away?

  6. This is fantastic. You are a great writer. We'll have to chat sometime, now that you would like doing something like that!, and compare our shy and then "coming out" stories. I also discovered that being a wallflower meant I missed out on a lot of great relationships, people, and events.


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