A recipe for our character
By QuaWanna Bannarbie
I draw several analogies from things I witness and experience in my life. It may seem that I am being too deep when I draw teaching from what may be viewed as a simple occurrence. Yet, I have learned that life speaks volumes in what appears simple.
This week, my analogy comes from a recipe for white bean soup. Rainy weather and hot soup pair so well together. I know it’s been hot. But we have had a few sprinkles of rain. That counts.
At any rate, I wanted soup. Soup is and has always been my comfort food. When I was a young girl, I had a special bowl that I would eat soup from when my mother would make a great, big pot of her flavorful and filling vegetable soup.
As I gathered all of the ingredients for the white bean soup, my eyes settled on the different varieties of beans: Navy beans, Cannellini beans, Garbanzo beans and Great Northern beans. At first glance, each of these beans fit the bill, because they are white in color. Everyone doesn’t use the same kind of beans for their white bean soup. I just happen to like the assortment for my recipe. I poured them all in the pot. As they boiled, I thought about the differences in the beans and how they were all in the same hot bath surrounded by carrots, onions, garlic, thyme and other seasonings that I placed in the soup. That is when I got a revelation.
Those beans are like us. We each have a different name, description or size, but we are all human beings. Like those beans, we experience occasions in our lives that are trials by fire. The environment that surrounds those beans seasons them in the same way that the environment that we are being tested through is seasoning us.
Last Sunday, I was blessed to celebrate another birthday. When I took the time to reflect on the life I have lived, I realized that my trials by fire were meaningful for shaping my character. Were it not for growing up in a single-parent household, I would not have such an appreciation for longevity in marriage and maintaining family stability. Were it not for nearly failing out of the U.S. Naval Academy because I could not swim well, I would never have the spiritual fruit of perseverance. Were it not for challenging relationships with those that I love, I would never know the true meaning of long-suffering and how to guard my heart. Every hard reality in my journey has been purposeful for cultivating my unique identity. The same is true for you.
Your testimony is rich with stories of how God’s process of making us holy is demonstrated in your life. That is why trials come.
We don’t eat dry beans from the bag. They are boiled and softened into digestible and acceptable food. It is no wonder the character that God seeks in our lives has been deemed fruit of the spirit. He is after fruit, acceptable character in our lives. Our trials by fire, tests under heat and boiling moments are meant to season us for service. We get seasoned together so that we can serve others together. It is to make us more like Jesus Christ. The son of God was tried many times while He was on this earth. To be like Him, we will endure things also.
I encourage you to sit down this week and write out your character recipe. You will find the ingredients by answering these questions. What type of family were you born into? What moments within your childhood are your fondest memories? What challenges have you overcome? What moments that you thought would kill you are a distant memory? How many disappointments left you stronger? Everything in that list shall be your evidence that God has a recipe to create in you who you are destined to become. When God cooks, we transform.
QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.