Bekah Polzin

An ODC Story: Bekah Polzin on Majority World Diet

We're officially half-way through The Lent Project.  This 6-week journey of intentional denial is unearthing parts of us that are unsettling as well as inspiring new, simpler and more generous practices that we could integrate into our everyday lives.  In this reflection, Bekah Polzin reflects on the experience of Week 3's Majority World Diet where, for 5 days, we stood in solidarity with the majority world by eating oatmeal for breakfast and rice & beans for lunch and dinner.  Thanks, Trade As One, for the incredible resource! Here's Bekah's reflection...

I’ve never fasted or practiced giving up food. I’ve never eaten a specific diet for a period of time or done a “cleanse” of any kind. This week I learned that I’m not that good at it. I prefer to eat what I want, whenever I want it. It was a reminder of the privileges I have and a quick way to gain perspective.  

It didn’t take me long (like, by lunchtime day 1) to realize that I think about food a lot. It didn’t surprise me to read a “Trade as One” email informing us that on average we make 227 decisions about food in ONE day. We are consumed with food.

What should I make for breakfast? What do the kids want? Should I get a cappuccino today? Should I just make a coffee at home? Regular or decaf? I’m so hungry – I need a snack. I’m getting a chill, maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee. What should I make for dinner tonight? I need to go to the store, what food do we need? And on and on.

What became clear to me throughout the week was the correlation between being fed by worldly things and being fed by Christ. Its true, God created us to need nourishment. But like many other things in our lives, food becomes the focus and not God. When the week was over and I finally ate a substantial meal, my first thought was, “I want more.”

What would our lives look like if we thought about Christ 227 times a day? Or instead of planning the next dinner party to perfection, we sat in prayer and invited God to be in our conversations around the table. Or instead of buying the 18th Starbucks for the week, we share the love and bought one for someone unable to treat herself, or use that money to support a greater cause. 

I was struck by this verse during this process:

My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ's sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory. 1 Peter 4:12-1

What If we each brainstormed 227 ideas of how we could intentionally love God by loving others through preparing, serving, or sharing food? Imagine the creative ways we could bring glory to Christ!

The Kitchen

Erik and Bekah Polzin and their kids moved to Walnut Creek less than a year ago.  I've watched them integrate into the Open Door family at a healthy pace and in a humble posture...we have a lot to learn from them.  After an incredible evening shared in their kitchen and around their table, I asked them if they'd be up for hosting a Super Bowl neighborhood party.  They said "Yes!" and proceeded to host space where new relationships could be forged.  Take a read as Bekah reflects on the residual transformation of that evening: Kitchen

Have you ever noticed, no matter how big or small or glamorous or simple a house is, people congregate in the kitchen? You can set the h’ordevers 2 rooms away or form a candle lit path a different direction, but somehow everyone migrates to the kitchen.

Our kitchen was crowded on Super Bowl Sunday and it was beautiful.

Earlier this month we were asked to host one of the Super Bowl parties. Being that we’re new(er) to Open Door, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a small part of me that was hesitant. Is it true for you, as it is for me, that sometimes I go to the negative before I see the positive? I’d have to clean the house, figure out what to serve, make sure my kids were “on their best behavior”...but we said YES!

We had little idea what to anticipate, being that we’d never experienced an Open Door “party” before. Would there be 30 people or 3? Does anyone even know who we are? Would we know them? Does it matter?

In addition to opening up the party for Open Door people, we ended up inviting our neighbors, who like us, have 4 kids are and are newer to the area. As one big group of individuals and families we enjoyed the evening together. We came from different parts of the Bay Area, different back grounds, different jobs and had different interests.  None of it mattered as we watched 13 kids playing with one another, no qualms with what the other liked or disliked. They effortlessly created a space of common interest and left their differences at the door.

By the end of the night, they were all friends and were asking their parents when they could see each other again. It was a beautiful thing.

I don’t consider myself a hostess or entertainer. I don’t own a second set of dishes that I pull out to entertain with. I rarely light a candle or turn on music to enhance the ambiance of the house. I seldom look up new recipes to try. But I’m learning the beauty of entertaining and that these aren’t the details that matter.

Every Sunday night a group of adults and our 4 kids gather in our kitchen. It’s one of my favorite times of the week. For an evening we all come together from different backgrounds, different occupations, different ages, different beliefs and different views. Some nights we share meaningless small talk and other nights we find ourselves in heated conversations struggling to relay our perspective as perfectly as possible. We challenge each other and learn from one another. We push each other, apologize to one another and forgive each other.  We push the boundary of surface friendships while respecting the importance of acceptance.

Our worlds collide in the kitchen and at the table.

I’m learning to say YES to the Lord and what he puts in front of me, and becoming a “hostess” is something I’m beginning to choose. Why? Because I’ve seen the Lord show up at the table and around the kitchen in a way that makes me want to open my home more to friends, to guests and to Jesus. The kitchen is a powerful space where judgment and variance dissipate.  I’m discovering how much I can learn from someone who isn’t just like me. It’s where we all gather with a common need of nourishment and an even deeper desire for acceptance.

Jesus will show up in your kitchen. But we first have to say yes to the invitation.

Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gathered in my name, there I am among them.”

Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”