Being obedient to the Lord looks like many different things to different people.
Maybe you’ve been called to speak up when you prefer to be silent. Or to be silent when you’d rather give someone an earful. Perhaps going for a quick run is a test of extreme faithfulness for the one who hates to move. Maybe not exercising, when it’s something you love to do– is the right call for the day.
What’s a cake walk for some may be like climbing a mountain for others. Everyone is different, with various talents and gifts, loves and dislikes.
These past few five years I have struggled to be a good cook.
Yes, cooking. For some of you reading this, cooking may be one of your greatest loves–the thing you excel best at in your home. You might hardly ever give it a second thought as to what a chore it can be, other than whether to use fresh or powdered garlic or if the right home grown herbs are ripe for the recipe you’re making that day.
I’m laughing on the inside because stuff like that is nowhere near my radar. Cooking is not even close to being a true love of mine. I cook for my family purely out of love and diligence, and because it’s my job as a wife and mother. It’s what God has called me to do. I have tried countless times to inspire myself to love cooking just a little more. I watch cooking shows. I surf the web for recipes. I talk with my husband and ask him what kinds of dishes he prefers. I force myself to buy new ingredients and try new dishes.
But it comes down to basic faithfulness for me.
Another part of the struggle for me is our family budget. While it’s a very GOOD thing, the budget does makes cooking harder (I won’t mince words; it makes it WAY harder). It takes careful meal planning, focused shopping, and forcing yourself to eat what you’ve planned for that day, even if it doesn’t sounds that great. (I feel like a spoiled brat for saying this, after all there are so many who work hard just to have the basics!) If you’re sort of whimsical and like last minute decisions like me (does anybody want to get some ice cream RIGHT NOW?)…well, it’s just something I’m having to get over. It also doesn’t allow for quick last minute trips to more convenient but costly grocery stores. In essence, it takes careful consideration, time, and diligence.
It takes faithfulness. Day in and day out.
My husband says I get down on myself too much for feeling like I’m a bad cook. I know I’m not a ‘bad’ cook necessarily, but I think I feel guilty that one of the the jobs I’ve been given to do is such a struggle for me to enjoy. So today I am trying to break past the mold a little. I’m making rolls from scratch for our pulled pork sandwiches because I’m over on my food budget for the month (sadly a common occurrence, even if it is only $15 this month). I’m committing to finding creative things to make with what we’ve got in our fridge/pantry until the month is over. I’m resolving to have a good attitude about having to do something so often that I am not naturally gifted at.
Thankfully, I have a cousin who seems to like to cook a lot and she’s great at giving me ideas and sending me recipes. And I also have a good friend who also knows the struggle of sticking to a tighter food budget every month for the good of her family. It helps to have support from others, even if it is just a little thing like cooking and saving money.
My older sister blows my mind out of the water. She lives in a remote location in Papua New Guinea. She orders her food every 6-12 weeks and it comes in via helicopter (there are no roads where she lives). So yes, she has to plan meals for up to 3 months at a time (and yes, she does cook THREE meals a day). She does not have a microwave. She cannot just “run to the store” if she forgets to order eggs or butter, or even if she runs out. She has to make sure that what she orders will last the entire time between helicopter runs. She has to blanch and freeze most of her vegetables and has very little fresh fruit to work with. Occasionally the food she receives will go bad prematurely and she has to make ends meet with what she’s got.
And yet have I EVER heard her complain about what a stressful thing it must be to plan, cook and feed her family of 5 for 3 month stretches at a time? No. She is an example of faithfulness to me. Faithful to God, and faithful to her family.
And I pray that someday I will be able to report that cooking is not just a duty, but a true love of mine. In the meantime I hope to press on in this little but nagging challenge of mine, and to be faithful in the big and the small things.
“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” -1 Cor 10:31