So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
Galatians 5:1 (NLT)
God has a beautiful gift for us that we so often forget to truly grab hold of…freedom. Freedom in Christ. How sad that so many of us spend our days in a perpetual state of striving, trying to “win” God’s love by what we do. Spending way too much time in the land of regret over how we’ve failed…again!
The best choice we can ever make is to believe and receive: Believe that we are truly free in Christ and receive the love our Heavenly Father already has for us.
God taught me this lesson a few years back over a cake. Yes, my friends, a cake! A cake that almost destroyed me!
It was a crazy weekend that had me running from one thing to the next, and it all came after an extremely busy week with very long days.
I was maintaining my composure through the insane schedule and all the little things that went wrong, like my mic not being on for the first song at the concert I was performing and the fact I wasn’t feeling well. I was gutting my way through everything until…the cake!
You see, I was asked to bake a German Chocolate cake for our dinner club. I planned to make my tried and true recipe and stopped at the store after church to pick up what I thought I needed. (Heaven forbid I use a box mix...NEVER!) I wearily headed home after serving at church for 5 ½ hours. Problem was, I couldn’t find my recipe when I got home. I looked EVERYWHERE! And I mean everywhere!
Cue the beginning of the meltdown!
I went online to find a different recipe, and I needed three items, so I angrily grabbed my purse and headed to the store…again. The first store only had two of the items I needed, so I had to go to Wal-Mart, which is never fun on a Sunday, especially with a bad attitude. I was annoyed by pretty much everyone.
My patience was gone as I arrived home and started making the cake, which was way more complicated than I thought. As I started pouring the batter into the cake pans, I realized I only had two cake pans…the recipe called for three. It’s a three-layer cake! Seriously! I had already made a vow that I was absolutely, positively NOT going out for one more thing, so I used a pie tin and decided to cut the edges off to make it work. I’m creative!
At last, the stupid cake is in the oven. I went to roast the pecans for the frosting (who roasts pecans?) and left them in too long so they tasted a little burnt. Through gritted teeth I used them anyway. Who cares at this point! As I’m cleaning up, I realized I’d used the wrong kind of chocolate, and I was convinced the cake would be a total disaster. Really, God! (I realize God has way bigger things to worry about than this silly cake!)
It was then that I lost total control. I mean I got 100 percent out of control. I literally wanted to stand in my kitchen and scream and throw the stupid cake away! I snapped at my husband for absolutely no reason. I tried to stop my mouth, but I couldn’t. Not once, not twice, but three separate times. I felt more anger than I’d felt in a very long time.
I felt broken, hopeless, and utterly defeated by a stupid cake. My spirit was tied up in striving and trying to be perfect, exactly like the verse above warns us about.
Obviously, my meltdown had little, if anything, to do with my baking catastrophe. It had everything to do with me and the state of my weary soul. I was tired. I was running on empty. My soul was begging for a Sabbath, and I was “too busy” to give it one.
The following Monday I went to my favorite place, at the feet of Jesus, and I kept hearing over and over in my head, “Be still and know I am God.” I started weeping uncontrollably as I realized how complicated I had made my life…AGAIN!
God showed me very clearly that it’s not about striving and arriving, it’s about believing and receiving. He showed me that I was totally missing out on the freedom I have in Christ.
Freedom is believing that He loves me just as I am, tattered, broken, a beautiful mess; and then receiving His unconditional, grace-filled love.
Freedom is believing that His grace covers all the ugliness lodged deep in my soul and receiving the forgiveness and grace that He gives me through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Freedom is believing that I can learn from every situation I face, no matter how much I fail Him, and receiving the strength He gives me to continue my journey of faith and growth.
Freedom is believing that my self-worth does not come from baking an award-winning cake and receiving my confidence from Him alone.
By the way, we went to our dinner Sunday night and had a great time because somehow I got over myself. And the cake…it was fabulous!
I love how God has a way of redeeming our messes!
Hugs and love,