I never learned how to cook.
Aside from sandwiches and the occasional pasta dish, the kitchen has been uncharted territory for me – the gleaming knives and complicated appliances intimidating me like a playground bully.
I always joked loudly about my inability to cook– chalking it up as a quirk, happy to take on the persona of being domestically stunted.
I’d argue that I could do lots of other things, why did I need to learn my way around the kitchen?
But underneath my loud proclamations of domestic ignorance, I always felt ashamed.
I would get defensive when I’d try and then be corrected – told that I was using the wrong knife to chop. It didn’t seem to me to be a simple correction. It seemed to be a comment on my capabilities as a woman – further proof that my domestic gene was missing.
So full of defenses and a bold list of things that I am, in fact, good at, I would stay far away from the kitchen, becoming the chip distributor or the dessert distributor — equally important tasks, I’d reason.
But lately all of that has begun to change.
This year I returned to the United States after a year on the mission field, moved across the country, got my first real job, and started my life as a real, honest-to-goodness adult.
To put it lightly, it’s been a bit of a shock.
My world has seemed uncertain and shaky — the ground quaking and trembling, and me trembling right on top of it. I’ve been learning, as if from scratch, who God is and who I am as a result.
There’s been one place though, throughout all of this change, that has felt constant to me — a surprising refuge in the face of so much change.
Cooking may be foreign to me, but hardship is not. I always prided myself on being tough and resolute in my joy — able to smile my way through even the trickiest of seasons.
But this season has been different. It’s been humbling to realize that I don’t need my own willpower plus God, but that I actually need God. It’s a very small, very frail feeling to realize that you can’t do it by yourself.
And this is what food symbolizes to me. It symbolizes our own frailty.
We can’t survive on willpower and just a pinch of food. We actually need it to sustain us. Just like we can’t survive on a positive attitude with just a pinch of God. We actually need him to sustain us.
And although humbling, this is also freeing. There’s something outside of our willpower or ability to look on the bright side that’s keeping us afloat.
And the best part is that we get to participate in this thing that gives us life – both God and food.
We get to take fresh food and change and mix and fold it into masterpieces, arranging it on clean, white plates. We get to make an art out of the thing that gives us life. And that’s just beautiful.
God is the same way. We don’t have to take him in like a Power Bar, shoving him in our purse as we run out the door.
We get to interact with him, his hands on ours as we arrange life into a masterpiece, creating beautiful things with the protection and provision of the creator of it all.
Dependence has never tasted so lovely.
What do you do when your life begins to swirl? What reminds you of the Lord’s provision?
By Stephanie May, of The Lipstick Gospel