You only have to land on this blog for 2.5 seconds and see that I have a love of cooking. And it’s not just cooking. It’s cooking really tasty things. And I’m not ashamed to admit I’m that nerd who reads cookbooks – for fun. I love imagining what that list of ingredients will produce once combined. Sometimes at the end of a recipe, there are ingredients listed but right next to it is the word “optional”. I personally always add the optional ingredients. Because it’s there for a reason. So why would anyone make it optional? Pecans are usually optional. WHAT? I love me some pecans! In fact, a pecan tree has come up in our backyard thanks to the squirrels who buried a pecan and I am crazy excited. I know people some have allergies and I feel for you. But when you add the pecans – it makes everything better. Unless you will die from it – always add the optional ingredients, especially the pecans.
It has become apparent to me that many people actually leave out the optional ingredients. Or worse – make critical ingredients optional. Growing up, I was an optional ingredient, like pecans, in someone’s life when I should have been at the top of the recipe with the critical ingredients, like yeast or flour. I like to think the recipe most certainly didn’t turn out as well as it could have if I would have been added more than the random occasionally. And I’ve held out hope that maybe one day I’d be moved back into the critical category. But a little over a month ago, I was reminded I was still on that optional ingredient list. And it still stung. There are a few people who have had me on that list and it hasn’t bothered me. And then there are a rare couple who have. And it’s made an impact on me. You can’t force someone to add something to their recipe aka life. So what do you do?
I’m so glad you asked. I chose the easiest option for awhile. And I let the bitterness in. I am a pro at this. I could write the “How to” book on becoming and nursing bitterness. Give me a few minutes and I can come up with a verbal lashing in my head that will make your eyes water. But I’d then have to write the book on how it doesn’t work. I could write a lot of books on things that don’t work. But I don’t write books. I write blogs. So let me save you the long, drawn out process of deciding to become bitter when someone may have made you an “optional” ingredient in their life. You may be smarter than me and already know all this, and if you do, feel free to move on to the next blog. But if you are remotely like me, pay close attention to the next paragraph.
Just because one person thinks you’re optional – doesn’t mean you are. Profound, right? It doesn’t diminish your worth. It doesn’t change who you are. It may be your spouse, a friend, a boss, or a parent who have you on the optional list. You may even have dropped out of the recipe all together. But here’s what I have learned, and embrace, and believe. For every one person who has you in the optional category, there are probably 5 who can’t do without you. And there is only one person’s recipe who matters. The One who created you. And He has never had you on the optional list. If you don’t believe that – call me. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee and maybe even a cookie. I’d love to tell you about it.