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What Kind of Plate Are You?

We use paper plates at my house. It comes down to pure laziness--I just hate doing dishes. Sometimes, we'll even use paper bowls and plastic silverware. Every now and then, the practicality of the meal requires actual dishes, so we feel fancy. A meal like steak, for instance, requires a real plate. Not only may the food slide off a paper plate, but the steak knife could cut right to the table.

In addition to being lazy, I'm also cheap, so I've bought the off-brand paper plates before. Even worse are the ones that pre-schoolers use for crafts. I'm not even sure those were actually designed to hold food--they're flimsy and everything seeps through them. I've learned to purchase name-brand paper plates to avoid dinnertime disasters. It's a little more expensive, but it's well worth it to not have food slide off the edge or seep through.

We do use real plates other times, too, though. My mom has heirloom China that we only use on holidays. Each plate has to be delicately hand-washed. When my girls were little, I loved the adorable melamine plastic plates I could find in the bargain bin at Target. We had the cutest ones with woodland creatures, cartoon characters or flowering patterns. Durable and reliable, it didn't matter if the girls dropped those plates--they withstood anything. The plates that reside in my cabinet are sturdy ceramic plates. I could even pop them in the microwave if needed. They're also big, so I can put a lot on my plates.

We've all heard the colloquialism, "I've got a lot on my plate." It's an idiom meaning that I have a lot to cope with, or a lot that I am dealing with at the moment. We've all been busy, and we've all had what seemed like too much going on all at the same time. Usually when we think about this metaphor, we think about all the things that fill the plate--commitments. work, meetings, relationships, friendships, kids, bills, errands. We think about just how busy and stressed out we are. But what about the plate?

Have we ever thought about the fact that your plate and my plate might not the same plate? Depending on our mental fortitude and emotional stability, some of us have sturdy, iron platters. Some have flimsy dollar-store cake plates. Most of us probably fall somewhere in between. My point is that you and I can have the same amount of spaghetti and meatballs on our plates. If my plate is a 14" ceramic plate and yours is a Kindergarten craft special, then how we handle that spaghetti and meatballs is quite different.

This is why we all handle situations differently, and we have different perspectives. This is also why we are sometimes quick to judge others who are going through similar situations to what we have experienced. I got over it, so why can't she? Because she doesn't have the same plate as me. I'm a single mom who works 60 hours a week, so why is that single mom complaining about her 40 hour work-week? Because she doesn't have the same plate as me. That man has been divorced for 7 years and still pines over his ex-wife--why can't he just get over it? Because he doesn't have the same plate as me.

Instead of judging each other based on what is on their plate, why don't we start encouraging others to help them strengthen and enlarge their plate? Why don't we look to the Lord to enhance and reinforce our own plate? We can't always change our circumstances, but we can change our plates.

The time to think about what plate we are isn't when the meal is being served. The time to choose our plates is while the dinner is being prepared--before our circumstances hit us. We need to submit our lives to the Lord, listen, obey, pray and worship to strengthen our plate, so that when our plate is full, we are more fully equipped to handle the challenges life will inevitably throw our way.

We know that there will be challenges and setbacks on our path in life-sometimes even times of absolute devastation, but how will you handle those moments? Are you preparing yourself to handle them? Are you content with being the Dollar General cake plate, or are you desiring to be more sturdy dinnerware? We have to do our part in our walk with the Lord to make sure that we are strengthening and enlarging our plates every day.


  1. What an interesting way of looking at things. I do have a lot on my plate and at the same time I'm trying to be a sturdy dinnerware plate.

    1. It's so hard to do, though! Let God sturdy your plate.

  2. I think this is a really good way to look at life in general to be honest. Accepting the differences and the way we all manage and process things x

    1. For sure! I saw another post of Facebook the other day that said, "Just because I carry it well doesn't mean it's not heavy." It's so important to be able to recognize we're all different.

  3. This is an interesting article and you are right. It is a shame how we jump to judge when not one of us is perfect


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