No one makes grits like my mama. That is, until Ronnie came on the scene. It was just a normal men’s prayer breakfast, like all the local country churches held on Sunday mornings. It was in the late 70s, and as you can imagine, the fellowship hall was packed with sideburns, polyester suits, and held a lingering scent of Jovan musk for men.
Women and children stayed far away.
There was the occasional prepubescent boy who crossed the threshold and entered the realm of men. I remember distinctly the look of envy in all the boys’ eyes.
What did they do in there?
What were they laughing at?
What was that smell?
It was one of those “men’s prayer breakfast” mornings that they proverbial poop hit the fan in my home.
It all started quite innocently. We were packed in the Chrysler on the way home from church. Daddy’s suit coat was flapping in the breeze that blew in through my window, hitting me in the face. As kids, we all scrambled to get in the back seat as quickly as possible, because the last person in got stuck sitting by daddy’s coat.
I was the last one in the car that day.
Mama started the conversation, “So how was the prayer breakfast?”
Daddy replied, ‘It was good. We had a lot of men show up this time.”
“Well, that’s great!” said Mama. “Maybe next month it will be even more.”
“But, I tell you what…” Daddy said, trailing off.
“What?” asked Mama. I was thinking maybe he was going to disclose the source of that lingering scent in the air. Looking back, it would have been so much better if he had, because the next sentence out of his mouth was going to incriminate him for the rest of his life.
“Ronnie’s grits…” said Daddy, in a sing-song voice that sounded as if he were Edmund recalling the Turkish Delight the White Witch gave him.
“What about Ronnie’s grits?” asked Mama, with one eyebrow distinctly raised above the frame of her reading glasses.
“Those are the best grits I think I’ve ever had,” said Daddy. “Everyone was raving about them. I just couldn’t get enough.”
There was a palpable shift in the air. It was tangible. Something dark and foreboding had just entered that car, and it would forever shape the destiny of our family.
“Ooooh,” said Mama. “So my grits aren’t good enough?”
“No,” exclaimed Daddy. “Your grits are great.” That was when he should have just stopped. But, no. He continued.
“…They’re just not Ronnie’s.”
I admit it. I snuck into the fellowship hall that Sunday when all the women were allowed to enter the forbidden fortress in order to do the cleaning. I stayed out of sight, trying to inconspicuously grab a buttermilk biscuit or maybe some scrambled eggs that were stuck to the frying pan. That was when I wandered over to the slow cooker and glanced inside. It had been wiped clean, with just a little bit of grits left in the bottom. With my finger, I scraped the bottom, got a helping of grits, and put it in my mouth.
Daddy was telling the truth. Ronnie’s grits were indeed the best in all the land. The White Witch could keep her Turkish Delight, as long as I could get my hands on Ronnie’s grits.
But you don’t tell Mama that anyone beats her in the kitchen. The kitchen was Mama’s domain. She took pride in it.
Daddy had cut her to the core.
“Fine!” said Mama. “Then you can just eat Ronnie’s grits from now on!”
“Oh, c’mon, Mary,” said Daddy. “You know your grits are good. Don’t get offended.” For a brief moment, I thought my world was going to be okay, but Daddy once more committed the grievous error of speaking what was on his heart.
“They’re just not Ronnie’s,” said Daddy, again.
Mama jerked her hand out of his, folded her arms, looked out the window, and stayed that way for the entire ride home.
Now, Daddy was poking fun at Mama. He thought it was a game. My Mama thought it was war.
That’s what happened when Ronnie’s grits stepped into our family. And it was never the same after that. It became an ongoing battle, a constant source of anxiety for the entire family.
Daddy would ask Mama to make him grits and she would reply with something like, “Why don’t you just go ask Ronnie?”
Mama would make grits for breakfast and Daddy would take a bite and say, “Good grits, Mary. But they’re just not Ronnie’s.”
The presence of Ronnie’s grits hung over our breakfast table ever since, like Jovan Musk at a men’s prayer breakfast in the 70s.
So, why am I telling you my about my crazy family and Ronnie’s delicious grits? Because it gives us real insight into the clever schemes of the devil.
Get this straight. The devil doesn’t want your grits. He wants to get your peace, joy, and abundance. His goal is to get you to do whatever it takes to step out of God’s covenant of favor. And if it means using grits, he’ll do it.
One of his devilish tactics is to showcase other people’s successes so he can get your eyes off your own progress. And he has a thousand ways to do it.
It could be that you are trying to get your finances under control and get out from under debt, and then a friend shares how excited she is that her savings finally reached a quarter million.
Or maybe you’re trying to eat healthier and exercise more, when a coworker proudly announces that she has finally gotten down to a size 6 and she’s almost finished with her coaching certification.
Perhaps you’ve written a book and trying to sell it. After about 30 rejection letters, you find out that an old classmate of yours hit the New York Times Bestseller List.
It could by your marriage is hanging on by a thread and another couple in your church seems as if they can’t keep their hands off each other.
You know what I mean?
It’s the old “grits tactic.” The enemy is trying to thwart your progress by shoving a success in your face. So what do you do? Four steps, Honey.
Step One: Get down to the nitty gritty (pun intended).
Be aware of the enemy’s schemes. When you know why he does what he does, you can keep him under your feet, right where he belongs. According to God’s Word, “be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Thinking soberly means you don’t let emotions make decisions for you. I know, easier said than done, right? But that’s exactly why you must see through his schemes, so you don’t let your mood get the best of you. If the enemy knows that flaunting another person’s success will take you out of a place of peace, then he’ll do it til the grits turn cold.
Step Two: Celebrate the success.
It’s how God works. He has always operated by sowing and reaping. And if you can’t be happy for someone else’s success, don’t ever expect that success to show up in your own life. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap” (Galatians 6:7). That’s a precept, sister. It means it’s never going to change. In fact, think about whatever you are believing for in your own life; and if you want to put your success story into warp speed, then look for someone else who has success there and bless them, give to them, promote them, congratulate them. Get serious about other people’s success, and God will get serious about yours.
Step Three: Focus on your victories.
It’s important to keep focused on where you are headed. Keep that vision before you at all times. But, when you do, don’t focus on how far you have to go. Instead, focus on how far you’ve already come. The thing about growth is that we always have room for improvement. You’re never going to get to a place and say, “Okay, there. I did it.” No ma’am. Success is constant and never-ending improvement. Get used to it; and celebrate your progress.
Step Four: Keep moving forward.
Now that’s a way to stick it right back in Satan’s face! If you give up your peace, you give up your power. Show him you’re a fighter by staying on track and moving forward, even if it feels like you’re going in slo-mo. It’s not important how fast you move. It’s only important that you keep moving.
Don’t let a good bowl of grits get the best of you. Keep going. Keep growing. And be blessed like crazy!
Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment and share how you are going to overcome the devil’s schemes!