We all could use a larger plate

I had a completely different idea in mind for this article, but as we all know, our plans are not always God’s plans. You know the kind of week where on Monday it feels like it should be at least Wednesday and then when you find out it is still only Monday —yup, it has been one of those weeks. I kept getting this picture in my head of a really full plate that is ready to just overflow. There could be two reasons for this. The first is that I’m in the middle of a weight-loss challenge and so food is always on my mind. The other, and probably more accurate reason, is because I just feel like I am trying to do too much right now.

I know I am not the first person to be trying to juggle many things so I think many people can relate to that overwhelming feeling. Going back to the food analogy; it’s like looking at the heaping plate, a plate full of spaghetti with lots of meatballs and sauce, and you not only have to carry that plate across the room, but you are also wearing a new, white shirt. One wrong move, one wrong step, and you can say goodbye to dinner and your outfit. 

I was reading an article recently about that “my plate is too full” feeling that we get and this article had a great perspective. The article poses the question, is our plate too full or is our plate too small? When I read this in the beginning of the article, I was initially angry. I remember thinking, “You want to tell a person who is overwhelmed that it’s because they need a bigger plate so they can do more? You are absolutely insane.” Thankfully I continued to read on. The article mentions that it is not because we need to do more, but that if we had a bigger plate, we would have more room for God.

I loved this way of looking at my stress. I know that God is so much bigger than anything that can be thrown at me, and I would be one of the first people to tell others that God is so much bigger, but it is very hard for me to always trust in Him. It has nothing to do with me thinking God is not powerful enough to handle everything; it is completely about my need to control everything. This thought that my plate is not too full, but rather it is too small because I need to make room for God, makes that plate look so much more manageable.

This thought about the larger plate also led me to another thought. When you place two equal amounts of food on two different size plates, the amount on the smaller plate looks like it is less than the other plate. It is all about a change of perspective. If we change our perspective on the stress in our life, it will seem less daunting. The more manageable the stress appears to be, the easier it is to give it all up to God.

The last thing this made me think of was when you get a plate of food at a restaurant (pretty sure I’m hungry). Usually the server brings you the plate on a tray. Even if the plate is over flowing with food, you are safe from dropping it because you’ve supported it with something bigger. This is the story of our worries and stress. There may be things on plate that we cannot control. There may be situations in our lives that we cannot change on our own, but if we place them on God’s shoulders, then if we spill a little bit, He has it under control. He manages to contain it and not let it make a mess of everything.

At some point, we will all either have said yes to too many things or we will have so many complications happening in our life that it seems like there is no way we can handle it all on our own. I pray that we all can come to the knowledge that we never have to do it alone. I pray that not only do we not have to handle it all on our own but that it will come out so much greater if we let God take control. So when your plate seems too full — get a bigger plate!

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at atarantelli@bishopstang.org.

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