How to Know if Your Saltiness is Balanced

Is Your Saltiness Balanced?As soon as the buzzer sounded signaling that the cinnamon applesauce cake had finished baking, I removed it and slid six loaves of rosemary garlic bread into the oven. “There,” I thought as I closed the oven door, “if I put the water on to boil now and make a salad, everything should be ready by 5:30 when the students show up.

In an attempt to convince one of the 8th grade girls that healthy vegetarian food could be tasty, Pedro had invited her over for dinner—and allowed her to bring four friends with her. Although at the time I thought I could handle two meals for students in a row, I had started to question my judgement.

Due to subbing for other teachers, long meetings and teaching my regular load, I scarcely had time to fit grocery shopping in to the week, and I felt rather accomplished that I’d made a cake from scratch, prepared fresh pesto sauce for the entrée AND made bread.

Whilst making the bread, I had paid close attention to the story my daughter Katrina shared with me about problems she had with a friend. I offered an empathetic ear and not too much advice (not offering too much advice is a skill I’ve been working hard to develop).

Yep. This meal would come out just fine—although, the bread had seemed a little stiff as I kneaded it. But, since it had risen just fine, I figured it would turn out as usual—light, fluffy, crusty and ready for us to rip chunks off and dip them in olive oil. As Katrina set the table, I grabbed the loaves from the oven and my anticipation turned to trepidation. The bread may have risen fine the first time, but now the loaves resembled weapons of mass destruction—better for sword fighting and ripping the head off of imaginary enemies then ripping and dipping in olive oil.

So hard, in fact, that I had to cut the end off one loaf in order to see if it tasted normal. It didn’t. “The salt!” I exclaimed. “I forgot to put salt in the bread.” Evidently, I haven’t attained that level of mindless baking where I can listen attentively AND get all the ingredients in.

The pot of water and potatoes threatened to boil over, and I quickly turned down the heat and dumped in the pasta. “You could cut the loaves in half and salt them,” Katrina suggested.

And so I did. It wouldn’t be the same, but if I hurried, I should have time to add butter and salt, wrap the loaves in tinfoil and pop them back into the oven so the melting butter could carry the lifeline of salt down into the bread capillaries and save the day.

It didn’t work out exactly as planned. Four of the students forgot to come over and when the eight of us finally sat down to eat supper twenty minutes late—well, the bread tasted like unsalted rocks (with garlic and rosemary, of course).

It didn’t matter though. The students politely tried a piece of rock, and dug into the salad and pasta dish (something they had never tried before), and ended up eating seconds and thirds while still saving room for cake.

As they left, I contemplated the function of salt. Not enough, and bread turns out like rocks. Too much, and it can harm a body or stunt the growth of plants. I know about stunted plants from personal experience.

Our first summer in Holbrook, I nurtured four little tomato plants that never seemed to thrive. I watered them, fertilized them, and waited for them to grow. They spent the entire growing season progressing from two inches tall to eight inches tall. By September, they each produced three sad-looking miniature tomatoes. It took a whole winter of wondering what had gone wrong and a visit to an arboretum in Southern Arizona to figure out that our water has too much salt in it. And too much salt in the soil pulls water out of the plant’s cells—which prevents it from thriving.

How often do we as Christians come on too strong to those we know—whether believers, non-believers or new believers—and suck the water out of their cells. Does our saltiness suck the joy out of their walk with Jesus? Click To Tweet Do we get confused between personal preferences and saving grace? Do we push tradition over teaching about the love of Jesus?

Or maybe we’re timid and don’t know how (or really want to) share what we know with others. Instead of seasoning the world around us with the love of God, we cling to the inside of the shaker and hope we’re never called on to witness in any way to anyone.

Jesus calls us salt. Salt has intrinsic value because it seasons food and preserves it. It’s mentioned in the Bible as an element of covenants between God and man because it represents longevity. Throughout history, nations have fought over salt. Without salt, things would be flavorless, out of balance and rot more easily. The world needs #Christians to provide flavor, balance and prevent rottenness. Click To Tweet

Too often I’ve been caught in the trap of legalism and thinking that if I follow all the right rules and do all the right things that God will bless me and save me. I forget that Jesus offers #salvation freely to all who believe. Click To Tweet

Just as often, I’ve been afraid to witness to others—to let them know where my source of joy stems from. It has taken cancer in the family and lots of practice to feel comfortable sharing what I’ve learned with others in a natural way—I’m starting to finally feel a bit like salt.

What about you? Do you struggle with your saltiness or do you cling to the shaker?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • I love your analogy here, Anita. Yes, I have seen this so many times and know I have been guilty as well, coming on too strong instead of lightly seasoned and letting God’s grace and love come through. And I can certainly relate to taking on too much and getting stressed…that is usually when my words take on too much saltiness! 😉 Thanks for sharing. Blessed to be your neighbor at Holly’s today.
    Abby McDonald recently posted…Am I Striving or Abiding?My Profile

  • Balance is such a key to living a life that can honor God but it is so easy to lose that in the middle of adding on one more thing in order to think we are doing what is best. As I was reflecting on your words, I realized that sometimes I need just a little more salt or bravery to step out as God is calling and not as I see fit. There are times we need more of one area or spice to lead us in the right direction. Not sure if that makes sense but it did as I was typing it! 🙂 Hope you have a blessed week!
    Mary Geisen recently posted…Step Out of the BoatMy Profile

  • Hi Anita! Bless you for helping Pedro with the students. Even though you were busy, you made time for them. Salt is so powerful isn’t it? Just a little is enough to leaven bread, or kill a plant.
    I think I hold the shaker. I really should be more open and vocal about my faith. Sometimes I sink into human-ness and doubt, and that keeps me back. I should pick that thing up and start shaking!
    #RaRa Linkup,
    Ceil
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  • I have thought of how salty my life is before, and heard countless sermons on the subject. Never, however, have I considered if my saltiness might be too strong and therefore offensive to another. Praying through those thoughts now. Always love our conversations.
    Wendy recently posted…Books for BoysMy Profile

    • So glad you stopped by, Wendy :). I think discerning the amount of salt can be a life-long lesson. I err on the side of the saltshaker, so to speak, and I’m slowly learning to be more salty. I’ve been on the receiving end of too much salt more than once–and if I weren’t firmly rooted in Jesus, the salt overdose would have really stunted me.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…How to Know if Your Saltiness is BalancedMy Profile

  • This: Instead of seasoning the world around us with the love of God, we cling to the inside of the shaker and hope we’re never called on to witness in any way to anyone.

    Ouch. I don’t want to be a “clinger.”

    Great post.
    Susan Shipe recently posted…tasty tuesday – chicken n pasta in alfredo sauceMy Profile

  • Just a little salt, it’s amazing what it will do. It’s amazing what a little Jesus will do, too. I desire to be one of those who seasons the world around them. Encouraging post, Anita. Joining you via #tellHisstory.
    kristi recently posted…Your Story: Betsy de CruzMy Profile

  • “Too often I’ve been caught in the trap of legalism and thinking that if I follow all the right rules and do all the right things that God will bless me and save me.” <— Yup, that. I've been caught in that snare and I think I wrung a few people into the trap with me. It can be so easy to slip into that, "my way or the highway" thinking which so contradicts His way and the ministry Jesus lived out. The right amount of salt, seasoned with grace, makes all the difference. Always blessed by your wise words, Anita.
    Tiffany recently posted…When You Need a Reminder { You Are Enough }My Profile

    • Thank you for stopping by, Tiffany, and for your encouraging words. I confess to being a closet legalist–but what I really want is to be a charter of Legalists Anonymous. “Hi, I’m Anita and I judge too much.”
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…How to Know if Your Saltiness is BalancedMy Profile

  • I love when you write these little challenges on the Word and what it looks like lived out in our daily lives. I always take some rich tidbit away. I will think of this every time I use salt this week. And hopefully, I will remember what I am all about in this world. Great post, friend.
    Colleen MItchell recently posted…When Need Is An Intimate ThingMy Profile

  • You seem appropriately salty to me, Anita. 🙂 (And that’s a compliment.) And quite a good cook too. I don’t even attempt to make my own bread. I’m glad Jesus offers salvation to all of us, too!
    Lisa notes recently posted…If you can’t do it every timeMy Profile

  • Yes, Anita, we do more damage than good when we add our own preferences and prejudices to our salt. I always enjoy your perspective on things, and was happy to find your new post at Blessing Counters this morning! Happy Friday!
    Michele Morin recently posted…Unmasking the SubstitutesMy Profile

  • Sometimes it is hard to be salty when you have been hurt. It can be scary to get your salty back on! ha! You encourage my heart to go there. Thank you for this dear friend. I need a little push. Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.
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