Happy 2016 my friends!
The last time we were here, we were in the middle of all The Christmas, and we talked about making December meaningful vs. doing what was expected. I challenged us to make a list of those things that actually mattered when the holidays were over and done. My list included a date night, a really great advent book, and (for some crazy reason) the making and decorating of Christmas cookies.
What in the world.
If you spend any time with me at all, you know I’m not that girl. I’m not a baker, or a cook or a Pinterest mom of perfection. If I have frozen chicken in the crockpot by 9am I call that a win, because at least I’ve got a meat option by dinnertime.
However, I was determined to make it happen, so the cookies got made, the kids decorated them, the whole deal. But true confession? There was a point in the middle of it all that I was literally locked away in my bedroom, in tears, having a total meltdown.
What in the world.
It was just one of those occasions where I just could not get it right. My intentions were so good, but the actual execution of every.single.thing. just seemed to go wrong.
- I was stressed because I had so much on my plate that day.
- I didn’t use the right sized bowls.
- Because of that, at the mid-way point I had to switch all the ingredients into bigger bowls.
- The dough would NOT come together and just crumbled.
- I realized I hadn’t used enough butter.
- Even after adding the right amount of butter, the dough continued to crumble.
And then this last one:
- My mother-in-law sat at the island with me the whole time.
I say this not because she’s a bad mother-in-law, she’s actually amazing. I say this to make note of this: I had an audience taking in all the gloriousness that was my complete lack of baking skills.
The longer I tried to make it work, the more it didn’t. What made it worse was my inner dialogue, that was now ramping up to epic levels.
I can’t believe you can’t figure this out.
I can’t believe you waited until the day before Christmas Eve to do this.
Why in the world was this one of your “meaningful things?”
If she was making these cookies, they’d be amazing.
She thinks you’re a horrible cook.
It’s too bad her son and her grandchildren don’t have someone who can manage life better, who could maybe figure out Christmas cookies.
At one point, I announced that I was going to throw the whole thing out and start over, but my sweet MIL came over to help, adding additional eggs, and apparently drops of magic, because she soon had the rolling pin out and had cut-outs of stars and angels popped into the oven in no time.
I missed the “magic” of it all, and all I could see was this: She made it work, and I couldn’t.
I started to shut down on the inside and didn’t say a word. Instead, I wiped up some flour off the counter and headed upstairs, closed the door, and bawled.
I was so mad at myself, at how completely inadequate I was. I was so hurt, wanting to blame everyone and everything. I wanted to just start over and make it all right. I wanted to yell at myself for all my obvious lack.
In all my frustration, though, I had a moment of wondering and decided to do something not typical. I decided to take a step back.
Instead of internalizing it all and going down a big dramatic path filled with self-loathing (something I’m really great at), I stopped for a second and asked God a question:
What is going on? Why in the world am I this upset over Christmas cookies?
By taking a giant step back and asking why, I allowed myself the opportunity to hit pause and recognize some things. The more I leaned into that question, the better I began to see the real issues. The truth. Not my own made-up reality.
In those moments, I realized that I had some deep insecurities when it came to my mother-in-law. I want to be great for her. And for her son. I want to be the organized-put-together-amazing-daughter-in-law for her. My MIL is maybe one of the best out there, hands down. She’s beautiful inside and out, loves and serves the Lord. On top of that, she’s organized, she has a plan, and she regularly wants to know what the plan is. OH MY WORD. I struggle with THE PLAN. So in my eyes, I always seemed to not be enough, not organized, not planned out, not well prepared enough.
That was the truth of it all. It didn’t have anything to do with cookies. It was all about me thinking I’m the worst at it all. And that. is. a. lie.
How often do I live in the lie?
Here’s what happens when I live in the lie, rather than the truth:
My emotions come out sideways.
I get angry at those around me who have done nothing wrong.
I try to take control of the situation because I want to show my worth.
I shut down.
I create a story about it all that puts the blame on those around me.
Girlfriends, for so many reasons, I don’t want to live a lie. I want to live and walk and speak in the truth. That’s where Romans 12:2 rolls in. These first few words of this amazing verse are so good:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
When I allow God to transform the way that I think, I can live in TRUTH. His Truth is love. And strength. And courage. When I’m filled up with His Truth, God becomes my compass, not my circumstances. When I’m filled up with truth, the lies of the enemy are replaced with God’s Word.
I love the NLT version of this verse, because the first part of the verse says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.” The behavior of the world is to lash out, to blame, to throw our anger at anyone who’s near. The behavior of the world is to get mad at your mother-in-law when she tries to help you, then blame her for your horrible mood.
I want to walk in truth.
By taking a step back, by asking God to speak reality into my circumstance, I opened up my heart for His response. I open up my heart to His Truth. And ultimately, I opened myself up to His love…a love that transforms me from the inside out.
God help us to see the reality of our circumstances, help us to see it with Your eyes. When life goes sideways, establish us in your Truth so that we don’t believe and go with the lie. Renew us from the inside out so that we walk in Your Truth and Love.