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Chili and Being Real

Posted by on May 14, 2013

I’m sorry there’s not enough salad. And the chili doesn’t really taste like anything. Feel free to add spices. Or whatever. It’s okay if you hate chili–I won’t be offended. I rehearsed these apologies over and over again in my head as I walked over to the home of  a couple in our Bible Study who just had a baby girl. I peeked into the bag again to make sure the chili hadn’t leaked out of the jars. [Yes, jars. In case you hadn’t heard, jars are the news Tupperware. It also happens that all my Tupperware containers have disappeared. So that is also a factor.]

Oh dear, that is anemic-looking chili, I thought, and the rehearsal began again.

But you know what? That is an enormous waste of emotional energy. And it’s silly. And my chili is actually half decent.

A few weeks ago, a friend of ours had a medical emergency and I found myself babysitting a wee-one and holding down the fort. And sometime around mid-afternoon, meals started being delivered for this dear family. As I held a toddler hand and listened to directions about pre-heating ovens and D-e-s-s-e-r-t, I heard something louder than the instructions: no apologies.

Neither of these lovely ladies apologized for over-cooking the quinoa or not adding enough oregano. They didn’t explain why they “only” brought salad and an entree. And you know what? That made sense: because it wasn’t about them. It wasn’t about me babysitting either. It was about loving on a family and helping them get through a really tough day.


Back to my chili. As I thought about that afternoon spent babysitting, I felt challenged to not apologize but to simply hand over the chili and back away slowly. This would mean not subtly implying that I can bake up a storm (if I’d only had time!) and that no matter how yummy this may taste, I can cook way more delicious food. Essentially, I’d just hand a new Mama a meal.

So as I waited for the crosswalk sign to light up, I swore to say Nothing.

Well here’s the problem, people: old habits die hard. (It would be helpful to note here that my boss has forbidden me to apologize in meetings. This is an indication of my problem…)

Maybe it was the scent of newborn or her little nose or the genuine joy of Mama, but I forgot my resolve. I found myself saying, “So yeah, my brother said it was cruel to bring you chili after you just gave birth. Um…I had no idea. I’m sorry. Also, it pretty much doesn’t taste like anything because I didn’t know your spice tolerance and–”

And then the baby cooed (actually I think she pooped) and we got distracted and we hugged and smiled and dinner was all but forgotten.


In case you were confused, this is not a How To Be Awesome At Delivering Supper Post. Nor is it a Female Only Post. This is a post about being real. I want to stop using apologies like concealer. I want to be someone who can hand over dinner and be 1000% into hearing about your epidural (Let’s be honest: I may not ever reach 1000% on that one). In fact, I want to be able to ring the door bell and walk away, no note, no accolade, no attention on me. I want to do my best and not garnish it with an “I’m sorry!”.

Is anyone else struggling to be the real deal? Are you a compulsive apologizer? Do you think your chili recipe is better than mine? If so, please make it for me. I did not have a baby or a medical emergency but I am always open to delectable chili.

6 Responses to Chili and Being Real

  1. Tim Chan

    Definitely relate to this!
    I think that anytime I am giving a gift, I have this same feeling. Maybe it’s to protect myself from their (the person receiving the gift) potential disappointment, in case they do not like my gift or think that it’s lame. It’s like I’m pre-defending myself, saying that I know that this isn’t the best gift and that I could’ve done better but [insert excuse].

  2. Jen Lewis

    excellent!!! words I needed to receive and something Christ is also challenging me in! Love you, Amelia! Thanks for being real!

  3. Cassandra

    Darling, your chili was delicious! I’m pretty sure Ryan ate 3 bowls of it, that’s how awesome it was.

  4. Jowanta

    I think your line, “I want to stop using apologies like concealer” perfectly describes why I apologize all the time too. It’s a way of appearing better than I am, like making excuses for any imperfections. On another note, I don’t ever think I’ve had something you’ve cooked that I didn’t like, and that includes store brand spaghetti in ND! So at least when it comes to food, you don’t need to apologize 🙂

  5. Bethany

    Wow! I feel like this is me. I was thinking a couple days ago about how I overuse ‘I’m sorry”, often because I am worried. All it ends up doing is bringing attention to myself and creating a situation were the other person feels the need to reassure me and ‘boost me up’. I need to stop and I need to be content with the resources I have to offer, with who I am and the fact that I too make mistakes…. I don’t want to live in need of pity or assurance from others, I need to press forward as a warrior of Christ. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  6. Julie

    Me! Me! Me too!

    M can’t get over how much I apologize. And for ridiculous things that aren’t my fault. My profs look at me funny when I hand a paper in AND APOLOGIZE while doing it. And I sometimes simply can’t help myself from apologizing when gift-giving. (“I really wanted to do such-and-such-way-cooler but I’m too poor/busy/student-y/crazy to have pulled that off so instead you get this lesser-something-that-is-probably-also-pretty-cool-if-I-could-just-chill and I”M SORRY!)

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!