I love to cook—and I’m pretty good at it now—but when I was younger, I was TERRIBLE at it. Some of the meals I presented my family were completely inedible. When I was a kid, my horrible cooking attempts made me realize that I had personality flaw… I guess that doesn’t surprise you much, does it? By reading my blog, you’ve probably come to realize that I have a GAZILLION flaws. But what was the flaw revealed by my fledgling attempts to master the culinary arts? That’s simple. Are you ready???
I don’t like following directions.
This, of course, is a DEADLY characteristic to possess when you are presented with a recipe. Whenever I would try to cook, I would read the recipe, cock an eyebrow, and decide that I knew better. That’s how my family ended up with cinnamon-flavored spaghetti sauce—a delicacy that NONE of them appreciated. In fact, one my siblings actually gagged after taking a taste… I thought the gagging was rude and overdramatic until I took a bite. That leads me to another character flaw.
I don’t enjoy admitting that I’m wrong.
This unfortunate personality trait prompted me to finish my helping of cinnamon spaghetti and to take seconds. (Of course, that night when I was clutching a bottle of antacids, I had to admit the error of my ways.)
You know by now that I have an incredibly wise mother. Mom didn’t say much about the cinnamon spaghetti, she simply gave me a chart telling which spices went with which foods and gently suggested that I study it. Being a typical kid, I huffed, rolled my eyes, and shoved the chart in a drawer. I was certain that I knew better than any recipe designer did, and I was determined to try out new flavor combinations. I slathered honey on my chili soup and poured in a cup of sugar. I tried enfolding ginger, saffron, and rosemary into every dish I prepared. I was CERTAIN that measurements were simply suggestions, and I decided that a tablespoon was better than a teaspoon on any day of the week. Needless to say, on the nights I was scheduled to cook, my family always seemed rather anxious. A look of dread would inevitably come over their features as they picked up their forks.
So what changed things? What finally turned me into a good cook?
It was my taste buds. I came to the point where I couldn’t stand my own cooking anymore. I was sick of clutching the antacid bottle, and I was tired of trying to justify my culinary mistakes. Simply put, I realized that I was messing up recipes rather than making them better.
Once I realized the error of my ways, I began pouring over cookbooks in my spare time. Eventually, I realized that measurements weren’t just suggestions and that spices did have their place—but only when called for. Over time, as I followed recipe instructions, my cooking gradually improved to the point that my mother let me cook dinner for company. I felt ten-feet tall when I made spaghetti and NO ONE gagged. In fact, several of the guests took seconds—and one even had thirds. In my mind, that meant I had earned my apron!
The other day, I was cooking spaghetti sauce and saw a jar of cinnamon. The sight made me laugh, and as I strolled down memory lane, I realized that following directions was difficult in another aspect of my life too. Through the years, I’ve read the Bible many times, but when I was younger, there were times when I felt the Bible’s instructions were too strict, too outdated, or that the writers had simply gotten it “wrong.” During those bouts of “fierce independence” I went my own way and let my Bible collect dust on my nightstand. Each of those bouts of “fierce independence” led to disaster and heartbreak.
There’s something inescapable about God’s Word. It doesn’t matter how you “feel” about it—it always remains the same, and it’s always right. I’ve learned through bitter experience that the Biblical commands I thought were the most “outdated” and “impossible to follow” were actually the commands God was trying to use to keep me out of trouble.
Life is unpredictable. Life isn’t always fair. But God’s Word is unchangeable, reliable, and true. When I finally decided to stop doing things my own way and to start following the Biblical “recipe” God provided, my life not only became rich and flavorful—it actually became toothsome and EXTREMELY palatable. If I could go back through time, I’d love to tell my younger-self to stop ignoring God’s Biblical recipe and to stop trying to tweak it. My life would’ve been much easier if I had simply trusted the truth of the Scriptures and obeyed them.
“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit…and it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16