Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

0 comments Posted on November 22, 2018

by Dianne Neal Matthews

I’ve never passed up a chance to eat a croissant. Whether filled with chicken salad or served as bread on the side, I’ve always enjoyed them. At least, I thought I did. Then yesterday morning I made a startling discovery: I’d never truly eaten a croissant before—at least not a real one.

In Houston for a few days, my husband and I had breakfast at La Madeleine French Bakery & Café. I noticed a difference as soon as I picked up the huge croissant. It weighed almost nothing. The impossibly thin crust crackled into delicate shards as I bit down. I pulled out a piece of the soft, silky insides and it melted in my mouth as the buttery flavor spread across my tongue. And at that moment, I knew that what I’d eaten before represented poor imitations of a real, bonafide croissant.

All day long, I found myself thinking about that revelation and wondering, What other imitations have I been accepting? In our society, it’s easy to settle for something less than the real thing and not even realize what we are missing. For example, we can gradually come to accept social media as a substitute for genuine friendships. Even worse, “religious” activities, like church attendance, service or rote prayers, may replace personal, meaningful interaction with God.

I think that croissant has shaken me out of my complacency. When it comes to relationships, I want to make sure I’m embracing the real thing, not settling for poor imitations or substitutes. To that end, I had another croissant at that French café this morning. I expect to repeat the experiment again tomorrow before we leave town. That’s just how dedicated a researcher I am.

Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers’ conferences. To learn more, visit or connect with Dianne through Facebook or Twitter.


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