Thursday, February 24, 2011

I don't want to be tofu

Any tofu lovers out there?

We're not tofu eaters around here. I've tried tofu a few times, and if it's part of a good recipe, I actually don't mind it all. But Seth is completely uninterested.

So if you do love tofu, I have nothing against tofu as a food. But I don't want to be tofu.

You see, tofu can be scrumptious or disgusting, depending on the other ingredients in the dish. Tofu takes on the flavor of whatever is mixed with it.

I started using tofu to describe people when my husband and I were preparing for a youth conference trip. We were taking about which teenagers should be in hotel rooms together. When I said, "That girl is tofu", what I meant was that girl is easily influenced by the people in her company. Put her with other kids who are behaving and she will behave, but put her with kids who are not behaving and she will do as they do.

I don't mean it to be derogatory. Most teenagers are tofu. I was tofu. Sometimes I still am tofu. But when you have a teenager around who is not tofu... whom you trust to do right when the people they are with are not... it's really refreshing.

Lately, I've been thinking of my spirit, or attitude. Is my spirit tofu? Does it take on the flavor of whatever is thrown into it?

Do you ever notice that when the weather is warm and sunny, generally everyone you meet all day is in a great mood? I think that is especially true in a climate such as where I live, where the bleakness and monotony of gray frigid days wears on all and we begin to crave Spring like an Adkins dieter fantasizing about a flaky, buttery dinner roll. Call it a vitamin D deficiency but it almost seems like people wake up in the morning, check on the weather report and decide what kind of mood they will be in based on what the weather man predicts.

We're acting like tofu: mix sunny weather into our day, and we will be sunny and cheerful. Mix in rain and clouds and we will mimic the weather with our spirit.

More than being a mirror of the weather report, I don't want to be tofu when it comes to the circumstances and events of our lives. Life has tough stuff in it. It rains on the just and the unjust alike, the book of Job tells us. And yet that same Bible tells us to "Rejoice evermore!" The two can sometimes contradict one another in our mind and certainly in our actions. It's because we're being like tofu. We're taking on the flavor of the other ingredients of our life.

I don't want to be tofu. I want to be chocolate.

One of the better tofu dishes I've tried was tofu pudding. Do you know what it tasted like? Chocolate pudding. I didn't taste tofu at all. The only ingredient I could distinguish was chocolate. Beautiful, delicious chocolate. It overwhelmed every other contributor in the pudding.

I want to be chocolate. I want to decide the flavor of my day. I want to decide what kind of disposition I will have. I do not want the news to dictate that today will be a bad day because the world is full of bad things. I do not want the actions of others to influence my spirit.

It seems that woman in particular are more susceptible to allowing outside influences to determine their spirit. I dislike over generalizing the genders... surely men and women are different and some obvious trends do exist, but I understand that individuals within the sexes vary. Moody, sensitive men do exist (is there anything on Earth less attractive than a moody man?) and rumor has it that a good female driver does exist, though it is admittedly not me. There are a few marred mailboxes to testify to that. I wish I were joking!☺ The fact, however, that most scented candles are bought by women and (at least in our house or van) it's always the females reaching to turn on the happy music, tell me that women are more inclined to rely on outside stimuli to affect them in a positive way. The old saying of "Men are like microwaves and women are like crock pots" also affirm that women take more to get in the right mood... for anything. ;)

It's ironic, isn't it? As women, we set the tone and atmosphere of our homes, and yet we are the most dependent and susceptible to our own environment to shape our own personal temperament.

I want to be chocolate. I want to choose to let the Bible and the blessings and the joy dominate my frame of mind. Not only that, but maybe I could flavor the world around me with a little more chocolate too? Most people are tofu: letting the circumstances around them govern their mood. One traffic jam can ruin their whole day. But amazingly, one friendly clerk at the post office can brighten a day. Doesn't it seem to be the responsibility of a Christian to be the chocolate that flavors it's surroundings, and not the tofu that soaks in whatever is around?

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost it's savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Matthew 5:13

When we act like chocolate instead of tofu, we can actually obey I Thessalonians 5:16 and "Rejoice evermore". How is it that some people can sing songs of praise by the lifeless body of their loved one? They decided to be chocolate. How in the world can a cancer patient have a smile on their face? They decided to be chocolate. How can one mother with a house full of rambunctious kiddies be cheerful while another is barely surviving? How can some people, with the same cares and trials that we all face, possess joy in a dark world? They decided to be chocolate.

They carry their own joy with them, and share it with others.

Do you flavor your own life, or let others do it for you?



Here to Serve Him... said...


I am a follower of your blog although I'm not sure that I have ever commented before! I love the concept and creativity of this post as it holds so much truth and is great food for thought.

I too long to be unmovable and unshakable in my walk with Jesus! I long to be chocolate, not tofu! :o)

Thanks for your insight and transparency!


Kayte said...

Thanks for commenting, Mendi! It's good to know I'm not just rambling to myself!! ;)

Michelle said...

Oh, how I needed this post!!I've bookmarked this and will be coming back to it later, to re read it again. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

Jesse and Carol Myer said...

I love reading your blog!!!! You sound like someone i want to meet:) Blessings on your day!!

Gwenda said...

This was excellent, Kayte...a message I needed to hear today. I will be back to read it again too. Thank you.

Bethany said...

I needed this today. Thank you!

Debbie said...

You are one wise, non-tofu, cookie! :)

Jami said...

Thank you Kayte for sharing such a thought provoking life lesson. So true... w/our teens in youth group.. but also moms/ladies in the church! Hope you rewarded yourself with some chocolate after writing this blog!!!!!
love ya, Jami

Justine said...

That's an interesting way of putting it. I shall be thinking about that. :)

Anonymous said...

I'll have a double portion of what this chick is serving up! ;-) I just wish I could discipline myself to do it when the going gets tough.

Beth said...

Great post! Leaves me with a lot to think about!