Sunday, October 30, 2011

World's Greatest Brownies.... not

"love one another"
1 John 4:12

I'm thinking about judgment again today.  The other day it was on my mind, but from a different point.  I was worried about being judged, and that made me wonder if I'm too judgmental.  The lesson I felt God had for me was about how I view other people, perhaps too critically.  Today though, I was just worried about being judged.

Our church had a Harvest Festival today, and there was a bake sale.  I had been asked to donate something, and I'd been glad to agree.  But when the time came to bake, I remembered how much baking frustrates me.  I love to cook, but I don't love baking.  It's more of a science, and if it doesn't work like it's supposed to, I'm not sure what the solution is.  And it seems to me that more often than not, baking doesn't work like it's supposed to.   Either my oven is not true to temperature, or I should use shortening instead of butter, or my baking pan is glass instead of metal, or whatever.

I chose to make brownies, and I even used a boxed mix.  I'm not a fan of boxed brownies ~ they always taste like they have play-doh in them to me.  I know.... weird but true...  But I do like Ghirardelli brownies. Just add some oil, some water and an egg.  Bake the instructed amount of time, and done deal, right?  Nope.  I test them, and they're not done all the way, so I have to give them a few more minutes, and them test them again and then a few more minutes and then test them again.  Do brownies keep cooking for a few minutes after you take them out of the oven?  No idea.  Do I need to let them cool completely before I cut them?  No idea.   See how much I don't know?

And then the worst:  After I cut them (and they don't seem totally done to me.  Good enough, but really very moist in the middle.  How moist is too moist?  No idea.) I need to somehow wrap them.  I did brownies so that I could bag them in batches, and then the church would have several of them, instead of  just one batch.   So now what?  Small paper plates?  All I had was paper plates with a watermelon design, which is not very Autumn-y.  So that's out.  But I did have some decorative cellophane bags.  I used those, and they were fine, I guess, but putting four or five brownies in these bags just somehow looked... pitiful.  In my mind's eye, it looked enticing, but when they were done, I was just sure they were going to be the saddest thing on the table.  There are some really good bakers at our church!

And to me, they were indeed sad-looking.  I was at the opposite end of the Harvest Festival, helping out at the food table, so I couldn't be sure, but I know if I had looked, everyone else's would be gone, and mine would still be sitting there.

And just like the other day at my stylist's, I felt judged.  Again, there was probably no reason for me to.  They were just brownies.  Whoever got them probably loved them ~ kudos to Ghirardelli, not to me.  And it occurred to me that I was being far too obsessed with what others thought about me.   I once read a quote that I loved, though I don't remember who said it:  "You wouldn't worry so much about what people thought of you, if you knew how seldom they did."  There might be others who are better at baking, and presentation, than I am, but no one was going to look at those little gift bags of brownies and think condescending thoughts about me.  They were going to think about whether they wanted brownies, or cookies, or cupcakes!  But the fact that I was working in an area that's not my strong suit, was making me even more susceptible to self-criticism.

I'm remembering today that the only One I need to please, is God.  If I am pleasing Him, then He's going to make sure I'm able to be a blessing to others.  How do I please Him?  First of all, faith.  Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him... He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Also, loving our neighbor.  1 John 3 says "we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him.  And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us."  And loving His Word.  Psalm 1:  "Blessed is the one whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night."  Surely this knowledge can keep me so busy that I don't have time to worry about brownies!

I need to be worried about far less than I think I need to be worried about.  Today, He keeps bringing back to my mind the conclusion that Solomon came to, in Ecclesiastes 12:  "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all."  Fear Him in love, and keep His commandments.
This is my all.

~ "To the person who pleases Him, 
God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness" ~
Ecclesiastes 2:26

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