During my sophomore year in college, I spent a semester studying in England. When it came time to plan spring break, I had one destination on my mind: Italy. I made plans with my friend Katie for the perfect trip roaming around the Italian countryside. We met in Milan and traveled to Florence, Fiesole, and Venice. We spent hours riding trains, walking in museums, and trying to discern the menus at sidewalk cafes. It was an experience full of terrifying and transcendent moments for two twenty-year-olds trying to act like adults.
On our last evening in Venice, after spending an hour on a gondola ride with a driver who sang only a medley of Beatles classics, we decided to eat a meal to rival Italy itself. Katie’s grandfather had given us 100 Euro with specific instructions that it be spent on one fantastic Italian meal during our trip. We asked several locals for suggestions and ended up at Antica Trattoria PosteVecie, one of the oldest restaurants in Venice. It was to be our final meal before returning to the significantly less fabulous fare offered to us by the United Kingdom. (Sorry, but who puts cottage cheese on a hamburger?)
We made our way to the banquet table in the dimly lit establishment. Our waitress approached and we gave her our only request. Our instructions: “Bring us whatever the chef recommends. We have 100 Euro and we are spending it all tonight.” Five courses and two full stomachs later, we determined that Katie’s grandfather was the greatest person to have ever walked the earth. Italy had offered us extraordinary cuisine before, but this was an entirely new level of fine dining. In retrospect, I realize that our meal would have been amazing even if we had only had 50 Euro. What made our meal so fabulous were the expert selections of our Italian chef.
It’s a simple concept, but one I often forget. I tend to assume that my decisions will make for the most memorable meal. But generally, without the thoughts of an expert, my Italian feast could end up like an appetizer from the Olive Garden. Although I’m fine with the Olive Garden, it just can’t compete with Trattoria PosteVecie.
The chef knows. He knows what pairs well together and what can make an ordinary dinner completely extravagant and delightful. I like to think I’m the expert when it comes to what I need in my life. If there’s one thing I want to get right, it’s my life! I have list after list of things to do before I die. I would probably order all the courses of my life from a menu if it were an option. It seems I want God to sign off on my dreams without ever even asking for His recommendations.
_______ (A selection from chapter 5, Forget the Corsage) _______
I’m the first to say, “Dream big dreams!” Don’t hear me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we stop dreaming. I just know that I often want to run ahead to make them happen without consulting the One with the power! Here’s encouragement for us all this weekend. When it comes to dreams, God loves to blow our expectations out of the water!
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT
Today is the last day to enter to win the set of Forget the Corsage ebooks. Follow this link and enter today! I will be announcing the winner on Monday. Have a fabulous weekend!
QUESTION: What’s a dream you have for the next decade of your life?