Have you ever paused and taken a moment and factored in your own suckishness?
You know what I mean.
Like, I’ve made so many mistakes. I can be selfish, and cranky, and this, and that. Caught in a reel of just feeling like you miss the mark.
I had one of those days yesterday.
It was Mac and Cheese night at “Vivid,” the university-age worship and teaching night at the church I’m interning at. My lovely, amazingly selfless friend and co-worker Allie went out in the early afternoon to get all the ingredients for the meal, but with no one to help her make it. I was excited to help, to spend time with Allie, and, honestly, to have an afternoon in the kitchen.
Confident in my Mac-and-cheese making skills, we set to work, boiling pasta, sprinkling cheese, saucin’. Preparing food for 100 people is always a new experience, and the only thing out of my element was the fact that I was working with 40 cups of milk and 60 cups of cheese. Not only am I deathly allergic to these ingredients and so don’t cook with them too often, when I do, they’re in much smaller portions. Allie and I figured using a massive soup pot and making all the sauce at once was the most time-saving and consistent strategy, so we put on the sauce. It was taking forever to boil and thicken, though, but I watched it like a hawk, and never allowed the heat to be above medium.
By the time the sauce did thicken, though, and we had 4 massive trays of macaroni and cheese ready to be sauced, we didn’t yet notice the slightly burning smell, or the blackened bottom of the massive pot, and proceeded to pour the sauce over the pasta. Once we got to the bottom, though, we noticed– and the off-taste reportedly carried now through each macaroni dish.
As other leaders arrived early to help serve, some tasted the pasta and told me it was decent, and others said it “tasted like tobacco.” Some had three or four plates of it, and others had to spit out their first bite. It was honestly entertainingly hilarious, and we had some good laughs– mostly, though, I was stressed out, defeated, and feeling utterly guilty. I was known here for my food skills. How could I make such a dumb mistake and ruin something for so many people?
Most people were saying the food was decent enough to serve, but I refused to serve it. A lovely volunteer went out to get some extra food, and everything was fine– Mac and cheese hadn’t been advertised, so it really didn’t matter. Everything was taken care of– except the ginormous, yucky ball of guilt and stupidity I felt. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
I was continually told how hard on myself I was being, but nothing anyone said brought me out of my cloudiness. Until we were huddled as a team to pray over the night before people arrived, and I opened in prayer and finally did what I should have been doing all afternoon– talked to Jesus.
Lord, the words flowed from my spirit, this night has nothing to do with Mac and cheese, and everything to do with what You are going to fulfill in people’s souls by Your Word and for YOUR purpose! Forgive my pride and strip it; forgive my idolizing; forgive my hope placed wrongly in my own performance or skill. We are nothing without You, and this night is Yours. Lord, by Your Spirit alone, humble us to welcoming every person that enters this place as You would have us. I pray that each soul encounters You, Lord Jesus.
We prayed over Pastor Nat and the Word God would deliver through him; over the worship team, and every heart that would enter the building. And God did as He does; He was so faithful, in a night that was not about show, nor my “Marthaness,” nor my food, nor me, but all about Him and His goodness.
Lord, remove any ritualistic “Martha”-striving, and make me more like You.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feetlistening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” LUKE 10:38-42
It was okay to be upset that I could have done a better job cooking, and I knew it. It was okay to want to improve. Preparing quality food is a way I feel called to serve the Lord. But that drive to improve for Him is separate and different from the guilt and weight I was putting on the mistake. I let it go, and by His grace was able to give it to Him, and He changed me through Nat’s message last night, too.
A message that says that because of the Holy Spirit, we ARE new; not confined in our sin.
That because of the Holy Spirit, we get to walk with Jesus, with each other, and what an honour.
That because of the Holy Spirit, we are granted the knowledge that our lives are for nothing but the cause of Christ.
I missed the mark on the Mac and Cheese. Big time.
But that mark is a standard in my head. The only real, tangible mark is Jesus Christ Himself, and He doesn’t have a care to put a mark on macaroni, or even on me but to say, Let me do it. Let me help you. Give me your burdens; stop trying to do it yourself; I want to carry you. Let me.