Last week was my oldest son’s birthday. Every year on their birthdays I let the birthday child plan their birthday meal- including the cake (of course!!!) My kids seem to spend all year planning their birthday dinners. Every time they tell me what they want, it seems to change too…
This year, my son wanted a banana cake with yellow icing and red on top. Knowing that my son is a huge Flash fan, I decided to go all out. I bought the cake mix and ingredients needed. I also bought fondant for the decorating. I thought I had picked up a white container of fondant and gel dyes.
As I was making this awesome banana cake, I opened up the fondant… it was black… no big deal… We will just pick up white fondant at the store in the morning.
As I started decorating this cake, I quickly realized that fondant isn’t exactly easy to work with. Just adding the colors to the fondant had it sticky as can be. After several trips back and forth to the refrigerator, I almost had a decent red and yellow base. I printed off a Flash logo, rolled out my fondant, cut out the shapes, and laid it on the cake. NAILED IT!!!
In my mind it looked horrible. I took a picture and sent it to my husband who was working in a basement. (So, he didn’t receive it right away.) I seriously felt like I could have been a contestant on the show “Nailed It.”
If you haven’t seen the Netflix show, it’s a show where ordinary people are given a ridiculous task of recreating a professional cake with not nearly enough time or guidance. I love the show… I may have been guilty of binge watching both seasons in a couple of days.
Suddenly it dawned on me, that accidental black fondant I bought may come in handy. I used it to outline the shapes. Much better. Then I used it to cover up some messed-up spots. It still looked very amateurish, but it looked like the intended design.
Literally as soon as I finished my husband calls and says, “Renee- nothing’s wrong the cake. It looks good.” A few minutes later, both boys come running in excited about how awesome the cake looks. Here I am, still telling myself- “Nailed It”- in a completely sarcastic way.
I was holding myself to an extremely unrealistic expectation. Everyone around me thought it was great- but here I was expecting my non-baking self to produce a professional product the very first time I tried using fondant. Just because I watched some cooking shows and a few You-tube tutorials, I thought I would be a pro. I didn’t give myself a chance to practice. I didn’t give myself any grace at all. I expected perfection the first time.
How many times do I do this in my daily walk? How many times do I just expect to get it right the first time… and then when I don’t, make fun of myself… feel bad for myself…make excuses…
I mean I am following all these Godly famous women on Facebook. I listen to nothing but Christian music. I’m even in the middle of reading three Christian books… why do I fall so easily to the traps laid before me by the enemy?
Why can’t I get myself up before my third alarm to spend time with God? Why can’t I find interest in my Bible reading? Why do I feel like I have to get everything right on my own?
My kids are struggling with dealing with disappointment- all of them… Why is my first thought- What can I do? Why am I not sending up an immediate prayer for strength, wisdom, and guidance? Why am I not immediately praying with my kids?
I mean that’s what I assume all those women from Church and famous Christian women I follow on social media do…
The answer- spiritual warfare… The enemy doesn’t want me growing closer to God. And he knows all the little stumbling blocks to throw my way. Before I know it, I am in my own way of my spiritual growth.
I am holding myself to too high of a standard. I am trying to do everything on my own. I am trying to be like these women I only know on the surface. I am trying to figure out how to handle and deal with my kids. I… I… I… I… Seems like I am trying to me more than I should. I may just… maybe… have a pride problem.
Just because I am a Christian doesn’t mean I get it right. It doesn’t mean my problems magically go away. It doesn’t mean I will never struggle with sin… pride… It means I know where to turn when I struggle. It means I know where to lay my hope.
Sadly, I forget that sometimes. Sometimes I get on my “me bandwagon” and forget this is a process led by the Holy Spirit. The process of becoming more like Christ is a life-long journey. I will never feel like I have it right- and that’s ok. I am growing.
Maybe those women I am talking about do have it together. But here’s something I think everyone forgets- they are on a journey too. They’re faith journey is in a different spot than mine. I don’t need to compare myself to them; I need to look at them for wisdom and guidance. Sometimes I may feel like they totally NAILED IT! And they are looking at it, wondering where they can improve. These women don’t share their stories to look like saints. Quite the opposite- they share their stories to encourage us.
I also think it is important to remember that while our actions are an overflow of our hearts, only God knows what is truly in our hearts. Motive matters. Looks can be deceiving. Actions can be forced. Or as the Bible says in Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
When we compare ourselves to others or set too high of a standard for ourselves, we have taken our eyes off the prize- life with God. The women who seem to have it together should inspire us, not make us feel unworthy. When we have our eyes on the prize, the temptation to compare, the temptation to hold ourselves to an unrealistic standard, lessens. It lessens because we are not concerned with the ways of the world, only with growing in relation to the Father.
Praise God that no matter how many times I fall into the traps of comparison and the traps of pride- He is right there leading me back to the light. The light never left me, I just took my eyes off it for a brief moment. There’s no reason to make fun of myself and saying I “Nailed It” when really I am still learning. I have to learn to give myself grace. After all, God already has.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
1 Cor. 10:13
****Keep an eye out for the next blog. My husband is going to give a more in dept, theological view on spiritual warfare.