Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eating Out #2- But We Have Kids

I shared in my last post that we like to eat out. We have 2 kids and they enjoy it, too. We know that when we do it, eating out should be to God's glory. So here is one big way we look to point to Christ as we eat out: family. We want our eating out to lift each other towards Christ. Here are a few benefits:

1) It's a way to serve my husband. 
Andy LOVES eating out. When we first met in college, Andy ate out daily.When we married, most of our friends ate out on the weekends and we often went together. It was fun, social, and totally normal. Once kids came, Andy didn't stop enjoying it, but our friends stopped going. When we went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, we saw that most of our monthly spending was eating out. It was way too much money (I think it was $800 one month. Yikes!), but that massive amount we invested showed that it was something we enjoyed doing together. Andy didn't want to cut it out completely. I agreed to keep it in our budget (but reign it in) to serve him and continue to do something together that we love. There have been times that we go out where Andy has turned to me and thanked me for continuing a tradition he loves. I believe God is glorified.

2) It is an opportunity for new cultural experiences for the kids.
Our kids like sushi, crab bisque, lamb saag (an Indian dish with spinach, lamb, and curry sauce), etc. They try new things and learn about other cultures. We talk about places we love and people we love. For example, when we eat at our favorite barbeque place, we spend much of the time talking about our Texas family and how much we love and miss them. Sometimes we even call them on the ride home to catch up.

he LOVES sushi!
Eating out is a fun way to teach our children about other cultures. We've learned about different foods popular in different states or regions of our country and about other worldwide cultures. We've taught them about Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, Ethiopia, Thailand, and India, etc. At home, I point them out on a map with Jimmy, pray for believers there (using Operation World book), and talk about differences between their culture and ours. But more than that, going out to eat regularly at those restaurants means my kids have relationships with people from there and learn firsthand from them. They are seeing what family life looks like for them, work, and even what it's like for them to live away from their own country and instead live here, in the US. This past month, some friends of ours were in Panama and one friend was leaving for Argentina. I see that as an opportunity to take the boys for South American food (yum!), talk about what our friends are doing during their time there, and pray for them. While eating in Epcot, we excitedly shared about a friend of ours who cares deeply for one of the countries in the world showcase and prayed for her as she prepared to leave her home and country serve and love those people in the name of Jesus full time.

3) It's time together to seek God outside the home as a family.
Eating at home is sweet fellowship together where we share our day with eachother. But I've noticed that our conversations out sometimes take on a different tone as the kids are exposed to things outside of our direct influence. Once, Jimmy was reading the Burger King crown while we ate our food. It lead to a conversation about what God says about treasure and where we should store it. Then we talked about idols we struggle with and who our true treasure is: Jesus. Just this week, we ate Chinese and Jimmy noticed artwork that reminded Him of the "ark of God" and He asked about it. So we got to share about God's presence with Israel and Israel's sin... and lead to how God made a way for us while we were still sinful to have relationship with Him again through Jesus. All from looking at artwork that was different from his everyday norm.

When Andy and I go out without the kids, we like to go eat or go get Starbucks. Going to movies is fine, but eating together means lots of conversation time. We love talking about life together and eating out is a fun way to do it. We tell silly stories about our day, share news about others we learned, and usually wind up landing on conversation about major things we're struggling with or feel encouraged by as God  has spoken to us through His Word. We often come home so refreshed in our vision and renewed in God's love from that time spent together. Though I cannot know how long we'll live, I love to picture us as an old couple still going out to restaurants or coffee shops together praying for our children and grandchildren, and hopefully praying for missionaries and local believers worldwide we've known over the years.
Our kids start at an early age (notice the car seat next to me)
4) It's fun!
We tend to each have our own favorite place. I love Indian and Brazilian, so I tend to get my "pick" way less often, since they are pricey! Andy loves barbeque, Mexican, small, family-owned places, and trying anything new! Jimmy loves Friendly's and any place that sells sushi. Caleb squeals with delight when we enter Chick-Fil-A and loves to flirt with our favorite cashier at Taco Bell. We enjoy it and each of us love getting to be the one to pick the restaurant or choose the meals. We like to bring friends and family to our favorite places and let them experience it as well.

So, as I evaluate eating out, I am thankful for the opportunity and pray we will always look at it as a way to pour into our family and spend time together to God's glory. In the next post, I'll talk about the financial side of eating out.

1 comment:

Dave Hirschler said...

Hey Ginny, good article. I'm looking forward to the next installment because all the way through, I kept saying to myself, "Good point, but it's just SO expensive to eat out."

I like to eat out, but we don't do it a whole lot, simply because of our budget. We don't have much for extras, so eating out is an occasional experience for us.

One thing I have found is that lunch prices are lower and the portion sizes aren't so HUMONGOUS! So, when we do eat out, we try to go for lunch. (That might even be one of the things you're planning to share - I don't want to steal your thunder!)