Outside Our Comfort Zone...and a clean comfort food recipe to offer respite!
Sometimes getting out of our comfort zones is really what we need. Because walking outside the periphery of a consistent, cushioned life allows God to carve us out, carry us and create something new out of what’s become stagnant in our existence. Even when things haven’t felt so cushioned, Christ might just be calling us to stand straight up and step out in faith.
What feels abnormal and seems to stretch us beyond what we can bear is the very thing the Lord might be calling us to lean into!
God wants us to grow! He always calls us closer to His character, pursues us deeper into His love and prepares us to do His work on earth. But without pressing up against change or challenge, without getting a little uncomfortable, can we ever know how He’s making us more capable?
I confess! Recently I’ve longed for something that simply feels the same, for some semblance of steadiness in this ever-changing life of mine. I just want to stand still for a few minutes! For so long I’ve resided in this revolving door of evolving reality where life churns and change lingers around each corner. As soon as something seems to settle, something else scuffs up the dirt and dust making it hard to see again.
Anyone else longing to simply linger a little? Do we really require that much carving out and recreating!?
Well, turns out I do. But I’m learning to embrace that I’m never done changing. And lately I’m in need of that hard kind starting in my heart and working its way into my hands where life is done differently, where HIS plan becomes my pursuit.
Seems I’m guilty of grasping for God’s job since I’ve been struggling in my life as a second-time-wife and step mom. I’ve been striving to write my own story that fits comfortably for me, not stopping to search His heart or letting the Spirit lead. I’ve avoided doing the hard-heart-work outside my comfort zone so I just keep struggling.
I’ve been subconsciously trying to fit my new nontraditional family photo into my old traditional family frame. It just won’t fit! In denial, I believed I could create the image I carried with me from first-time family dreams where husband and wife set standards holding hands, share the same household history and create expectations congruently for kids. But blending is a bit more messy and doesn’t work that way. Girls arrived with pasts I wasn’t a part of. Another household intimately influences expectations. I realized my unique mommy-ways won’t seem to work with everyone. I felt far from my comfort zone in my own life and home.
But I resign. I’m on my knees at the foot of the cross knowing there’s strength in every struggle because I can see Christ from here. Rather than longing for a life unchanging, each time I feel out of control I envision God’s hand holding me and molding me.
Right there in the redesign, He pursues us and renews us! Yeah, even when we feel the discomfort of growing pains.
You see, with His sovereign hand He’s always in pursuit of us, pushing us further into His sanctifying space towards salvation. And that, my friends, feels a bit uncomfortable from time to time. And, I’m actually learning to long for it. After all, I know I’m far from suited for eternity!
So instead of wanting a smoother path or a comfy place we can search for the purpose in today’s rough road. And all along the way as He works on us, God can use even our most broken pieces to bear witness to Him!
Then when we need some relief, God is good and provides us with the creature comforts He knows we relish! For me, my respite and the comfort zone I long for is often my quiet kitchen. It’s where I create clean, nourishing, delicious dishes. And it’s where I so often pause for prayer and hear His voice.
Recently as I longed for relief from living outside my comfort zone, I created this casserole filled with clean, comfort foods. My WHOLE new, nontraditional family loved it! I hope you find some comfort from enjoying this nourishing provision too
This bread pudding casserole contains chicken, spinach, arugula, artichokes and fresh herbs. Comfort food CAN taste amazing and offere complete nourishment in a single dish!
- 3 large to medium sized chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter for sauteeing
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped OR ½ of a large mild onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt (or other natural salt)
- 4 whole eggs (I use organic eggs from pastured chickens for best nutrition)
- 1 ½ cup milk (I have used both almond milk and regular cow's, grassfed milk)
- 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (depending on how much you like the flavor--I love it!)
- 4 cups dark greens, chopped (I used a mix of arugula and spinach)
- 1 can or jar of chopped artichoke hearts
- 4 cups sprouted bread or gluten free bread (your preference for taste and nutritional needs)*
- 1 cup grated fontina cheese (or other variety you prefer)
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Saute' it in a pan coated with butter or olive oil with the fresh garlic, onion and sea salt.
- While the chicken cooks on the stove, crack eggs into a medium sized bowl. Whisk in milk of your choice. Add the can/jar of drained artichoke hearts, mustard, basil, and rosemary. Whisk well.
- Chop the spinach and arugula. Towards the end of the chicken cooking, add a couple teaspoons of water to the pan, add the chopped greens and cover the pan. Cook until the greens are wilted.
- Let the chicken mixture cool for a while (so it does not begin to cook the eggs when you combine it).
- In the meantime, chop your bread into one inch pieces and grate your cheese. Add the bread to the egg mix allowing it to soak the egg mixture in.
- Once the chicken mix is slightly cooled, add it to the egg-bread mixture. Stir well.
- Prepare a 9x13 casserole pan with butter or cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the pan and press down with the back of a spatula to flatten a bit. Cover the pan with foil. The casserole can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for a little while but bring it to room temperature before baking.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees when ready to bake. Place pan into hot oven covered. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle cheese on top and bake for about another 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from over, let set for about 10 minutes and serve!
* I used a sprouted multi-grain french loaf made by Angelic. But you can even use slices of sprouted or gluten free bread to your liking.