Give It a Rest! (Angel in the Kitchen)


Good cooks agree: we may not tire of food, but food gets tired. Apparently.

Wine connoisseurs admonish us that when we open a bottle of wine we should “let it breathe” before serving it. Okay. After all, the bottle was airtight, so the wine must have been suffocating in there.

And when we remove a bird or a roast from the oven, the recipes always state: “Let it rest.” Why should we? We did all the work cooking the piece of meat. And now we’re hungry!

We actually know the reason for this one: As meat cooks, the natural moisture inside it gets pushed outward. This moisture migrates toward the surface of the meat. Some of it eventually evaporates. The remaining moisture is concentrated near the surface. When you take a roast or bird from the oven, the cooked meat needs to “rest,” thereby allowing sufficient time for the remaining moisture (the juices) to evenly redistribute throughout the meat.

If you cut into the meat right away, those juices — concentrated near the surface — will pool and drain off, and your beautiful turkey or slaved-over roast will end up being very dry.

Letting meat rest allows it to re-absorb the juices that keep it tender. And, guess what, people are just like roasted meat — or turkeys, if you prefer. Please read on.

We have two other series in addition to Angel in the Kitchen. In Diet for Dreamers and Encouragement for Creators, we try to inspire people to set goals and achieve them. And we all need goals, something to shoot for, in order to be healthy and happy. But sometimes we get so caught up in chasing our dreams, so focused on our ambitions, that we lose sight of all the wonderful things in this world that make life so special to begin with. So, after cooking up plans for the future, we need to let them rest. If we don’t, we just might find ourselves getting a little dry spiritually, and our hearts not quite as tender.

We can sell our souls to our jobs, projects, dreams, and even ministries — to the point where we have no time for friends and family; no time to stop, think, catch our breath, and smell the proverbial roses. People climbing the corporate ladder may neglect (and lose) their loved ones in a mad dash to make it to the top. Dreamers often wear themselves out, and often get depressed, trying to make their wishes come true while holding down demanding day jobs. People in ministry, including pastors, priests and rabbis, often get burned out for the world’s greatest mission in life.

— All because they failed to periodically take a break and spend time replenishing. Like the recipe states, “let it rest”!

Nothing is worth the price of fatigue and depression, not to mention any broken relationships. These “ailments” can ultimately derail the very dreams and ministries that caused them. Stay focused, stay committed, but also take time off. Rest and recreation (focusing on something else for a time — such as family) are antidotes to depression and exhaustion. And retreating and recharging with God and His Word are vital to preventing burn out.

Our Heavenly Father was the first to set the example for us to follow. After creating the Universe in 6 days, He rested from His work on the seventh. And when He walked the earth, Jesus Christ the Lord frequently retreated so He could recharge. He also rested and He indulged in recreation (food and fellowship) — and His mission, His dream and His goal were far more important than anything we’ve been up to!

God went even further: He established the seventh day — the Sabbath — as the official day for retreating, resting, recharging and recreating! You see, He knows we have this bad habit of striving, competing, obsessing, and getting caught up in the moment. God the “Master Chef” is admonishing us to “let it rest”! He wants us to be “juicy” with the Spirit of God, refreshed with His holy Word, and tender-hearted toward our friends and families; not tough and all dried out.

Got a dream, a goal, a job or a ministry? Of course you do. But every so often, you need to give it a rest! Take time to recharge. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 ISV)

Well, the cookbook said, “Let the turkey chill in the sink a few hours”!

Close Shave with the Critics! (Encouragement for Creators)


In 1782, Giovanni Paisiello composed an Italian comic opera based on the 1775 French comedy The Barber of Seville. The work was extremely popular with both audiences and critics, who hailed it as a triumph. For over three decades Paisiello’s opera was considered the definitive version of The Barber. Then, in 1815, Gioachino Rossini composed a new and very different version of the same comedy. Rossini’s opera met with incredible resistance. Paisiello wasn’t at all pleased to hear of this new version, and neither were his legions of fans! Just who did this upstart Rossini think he was?

Rossini’s version premiered on February 20, 1816, at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. When the young composer arrived for the performance he was greeted by an angry mob. His associates hustled Rossini into the theater where, a short time later, an audience composed mostly of Paisiello’s passionate and vocal supporters jeered and hissed throughout the performance. Not only was Rossini’s Barber of Seville a total failure, but also, before it was over, several on-stage accidents had occurred.

Undaunted, the composer arrived a few days later for a second performance. On that fateful day, Rossini was again hurried through the mob. The audience was quieter, and the performance went far more smoothly, but afterwards, when Rossini left the theater through a back entrance, he was met by the same mob as before. Only this time, his entourage failed to keep away the crowd. Yes, the mob closed in and the next thing Rossini knew he’d been dragged off his feet. A moment later he found himself hoisted up … and carried atop the hysterical crowd, as the people paraded their new operatic hero upon their shoulders through the streets, praising the name ROSSINI !!

Today, few remember the name or work of Paisiello; but Rossini’s Barber of Seville has endured as one of the greatest masterpieces of comedy within music. Even more than two centuries later, its popularity on the modern opera stage attests to its greatness.

We all know the expression “That’s a hard act to follow”; but if you’re a performer, musician, or writer, and you’re following in the footsteps of someone who’s famous and successful; or if you’re simply trying something new and different, take heart. Many times the naysayers know nothing!

When director Tim Burton announced that the comedic actor Michael Keaton would be playing Batman in the 1989 movie, fans gasped. “Are you kidding! ‘Mr. Mom’ can’t be Batman! He’ll ruin the movie!” Well, Burton was doing something different, and his film was a box-office bonanza. So how did Keaton manage in a darker role? Just fine. And he even returned for a sequel. In fact, when Keaton moved on and Warners recast the part, the fans lamented.

Nearly two decades later, Warners decided to reboot the franchise, and it’s new director, Christopher Nolan, announced that Welsh actor Christian Bale would be playing Batman. “You can’t be serious!” the fans yelled. “The sicko from American Psycho is going to play our hero?” Hey, come on, that’s why they’re actors. Bale’s portrayal is now considered by most fans to be the definitive Batman, and after three movies it’s tough getting used to another actor in the role. But Ben Affleck, in yet another incarnation of the character, did a fine job. No, it doesn’t always pay to be a naysayer.

Someone once said, and it may even have been director Steven Spielberg, that Harrison Ford was too well known as the space pirate Han Solo from his Star Wars movies; and that he’d never be able to convince audiences that he’s the adventurous straight-arrow archeologist Indiana Jones. In fact, the part almost went to Tom Selleck, who bowed out at the last minute to continue starring in Magnum P.I. But after Raiders of the Lost Ark and its three sequels (a 5th movie is in the works) … well, Ford obviously proved any naysayers wrong.

Do you have any naysayers in your life? Persevere! And prove them wrong!

“God never changes His mind when He gives gifts or when He calls someone.” (Romans 11:29 GW)