Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lesson in self-care from a loaf

The other night I made bread.  I don't make bread very often because I don't eat bread very often.  I don't eat bread very often because I don't make bread very often.  With my list of food restrictions there exists only one or two options for me when it comes to store bought bread and they are both pretty little better than flavored cardboard, but not much.  I've been making my own bread since I was about 18, so I've had lots of practice.  When I pulled my loaves out of the oven last night, I cried.  They were not beautiful well formed loaves.  They were more akin to a disaster. I cried because I longed to pull beautiful well formed loaves out of the oven.  I wanted my loaves to look like the loaves of bread my father pulls out of bread-maker about once a day.  But my loaves will never look like those.  Yes, the often will look better than the ones I pulled out of the oven the other night, but they will never look like the loaves that other people make.  Why? because I use different ingredients.
I use different ingredients in my bread and therefore will never have bread that looks quite like what other people make.  Once I finished crying over my fallen loaves, I accepted the fact that my bread will never be quite like other people's bread because of the different ingredients. Then I started to think about it more.  I'd already been thinking a lot about self-care already, so it logically follows that my thoughts went in that direction.
We all come into the world with different ingredients.  We cannot expect to turn out the way that someone with different ingredients is turning out.  My bread will never look like the whole wheat bread my dad pulls out of the bread maker, because it's made with different ingredients.  My seminary career won't look like someone else's because I'm coming into it with different ingredients.
Making Joy-Friendly bread takes different steps than making whole wheat bread, but both are still bread in the end.  If you try and make Joy-Friendly bread the same way that you make whole wheat bread it's going to be a disaster.  I might take different steps to becoming a pastor, but in the end, I'll still be a pastor.  If I tried to follow the same steps as someone else, it would likely end in a disaster.
So if I take 4 years  or even 5 to finish instead of 3, that's fine.  If I need an extra month to finish off this semester because I spent a week in the hospital, that's fine.
It doesn't mean I'm failing. It doesn't mean I'm any less of a student or any less of a person.  It just means I'm coming in with different ingredients and taking my own steps, so I'm going to turn out different.

This is the loaf that made me cry and then taught me a lesson.


Mary Kate said...

I have to say I have felt kind of the same way Joy. I was originally planning to graduate in a few weeks, however, God had other plans for my life. I know transferring to an online school and moving to Chicago was what God had called us to do. But it is now looking like I will be in school for about another year. It is discouraging for me sometimes watching all of my girlfriends finish their student teaching and preparing to walk at a graduation ceremony (which I won't have now.), but I have to keep reminding myself that I am working toward that same goal, just taking different steps of getting there. Soon enough.

Valerie said...


Anonymous said...

Hey Joy, just some encouragement- you are such a strong person (even through the tears) and I know God is going to use you in amazing ways!
Your bread looks a ton better than anything I could ever accomplish, even with the traditional ingredients. :)
Hope you have a good weekend!

Joy said...

@Mary Kate - Keep on keeping on. The Lord has a plan for you. We are both in the process of becoming our own special kind of "bread"

@Valerie - I try not to post things that aren't true ;)

@tribaljade ;) - Thank you for the encouragement. I officially changed my course registration to 12.5 credits for next fall. I'm still full time, but just barely. I'm on a 4 or 5 year plan, instead of a 3 year plan. i'm still trying to convince myself that it is okay to slow down...

@all of you - Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the sunshine!