Why I No Longer Cry Over Burnt Bread
"If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)
I was squashed between kindergarteners in the school cafeteria when my 6-year-old son, Joshua, made an announcement that gave me the giggles. I hid my mouth behind a napkin to cover my smirk and realized that at one point in my life, my son's innocent words would have spawned tears instead of chuckles.
It started when the little boy next to me lifted a sandwich out of his lunch box.
"That's huge!" Joshua exclaimed as he poked at the lukewarm carrots on his cafeteria tray and gazed longingly at his classmate's lunch.
The sandwich was big. Oversized slabs of cheese and slices of ham nestled between two thick slices of bread. I wondered how much cash it would take to talk a kindergartner into trading his mealtime masterpiece for my soggy sloppy joe.
"Can you even get that in your mouth?" I teased as my lunch companion freed his sandwich from plastic wrap and lifted the culinary sensation to his mouth.
"I'm used to big bread," he replied. "It's my mom's specialty."
Joshua raised an eyebrow and studied the specimen in his classmate's hands. "You mean your mom makes the bread you eat?"
The little fellow nodded happily.
My son looked at me with wide-eyed wonder, then shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Oh, my mom's specialty is burnt bread."
I nodded in agreement. "If the crust's not charred, the bread's not ours," I said with a laugh.
The sandwich muncher beside me didn't even blink at my corny rhyme, but Joshua applauded me with a big smile.
Soon a bell announced the lunch hour's end, and the kindergarteners hurried to line up for recess. My brown-haired boy waved and marched off to the playground, leaving me alone with my speckled pink cafeteria tray, a mound of lukewarm carrots and a smile.
A decade ago my young son's honesty would have left me feeling second-rate. I would have raced to the library to check out a book on baking homemade bread.
I've learned the hard way that I miss all sorts of sacred and significant moments when I live with the frantic insistence that I can do it all. When I'm striving to be good at all things, I miss the joy of small things.
A good mom isn't good at everything. She's just really good at one thing. A good mom is good at being who God created her to be.
The truth for bread-burning mamas like me sitting in school cafeterias and for gifted women like you sitting in mini-vans, corporate offices and rocking chairs is this: We weren't created to do it all.
We were created to play one small role in a gigantic Kingdom tale. And if we spend our lives trying to mimic everyone else's script, we might miss the lines that are uniquely ours.
On any given day, I can tell you a few things I do well. But, perhaps more importantly, I can tell you what I don't do.
I learned a few years ago the importance of creating a list of what I don't do. If you're tired of feeling tired, make that list. If you're worn out from the comparison game, make that list. If you can't celebrate your talents and laugh at your limitations, make that list.
Stick it to your bathroom mirror. Carry it in your purse. And refuse to apologize for being you.
So, friend, if you've been created to bake homemade bread, by all means, bake away.
If you've been fashioned to encourage others, speak life.
If you've been gifted to sing, fill the earth with music, please.
But whatever you do, don't try to do it all, or you just might miss the one thing that the world desperately needs you to do.
Dear Lord, I am tired of trying to do it all. Help me identify my gifts and accept my limitations so I can play my part in Your mighty Kingdom tale. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 12:5-6, "So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't." (The Message)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Try to go one whole day without measuring yourself against anyone else. When you are tempted to compare yourself to someone, pray for her instead.
Make that list of what you don't do and post it where you will see it each day.
This week, say "no" to one thing that you weren't created to do.