I love Christmas cookies. I love cookie exchanges.
My mom never made Christmas cookies–any cookies, actually. It wasn’t until I was in Girl Scouts that I ever iced sugar cookies.
Did I mention I love cookies? I don’t think I ever met a problem a Doule Stuff Oreo (or whole bag) couldn’t solve. I have eaten way more than my fair share in my fifty-six years.
Last Christmas a friend invited me over to decorate cookies. It sounded like fun so I showed up. She had several bowls of homemade icing and trays and trays of cut-out cookies in all the traditional Christmas shapes.
I sat down at the table and very carefully and gingerly began to ice and decorate with sprinkles.
She laughed at me. Then she asked me what I was doing.
I looked at her rather shocked at first. I mean, what did it look like I was doing. Then it dawned on me that she had finished decorating a half dozen cookies to my one. I was so afraid to “mess up” that I was not enjoying the experience at all. My perfectionism was totally tying me up and shutting me down.
My friend then very quickly went to work assuring me that there was no wrong way to do this. She’s a very wise woman. I decided to believe her. The result was that we had a fun time. In the end there were plenty of iced cookies and neither of us were fretting about the icing or sprinkles on the table…I don’t think we were fretting at all.
And a truth seed was planted in my heart that brought a breath of freedom into my life.
Too often my perfectionistic roots strangle my creativity, my living, and living life to its fullest (See John 10:10). I have noticed that I’m not alone in this as I have listened to friends discuss their struggle with finding and doing God’s will…his perfect will.
Choices that I made in my life really messed things up for me. I was afraid life was over. Somehow I thought that life progressed in a straight line moving up. But it looked more like a jumbled mess.
What if the truth is that God loves us enough to let us make mistakes? What if there isn’t one plan/path and if we don’t find it and only walk down that one and instead meander a little? What if there isn’t one perfect job, but a series of jobs where we have the opportunity to touch many lives and make a difference in many places? What if there isn’t one perfect mate, but more than one…or none?
There are those who would consider such thinking blasphemous. I wonder what they do when the cords get jumbled up?
There is a verse that is often quoted from Jeremiah: For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
There is certainly comfort in that verse…but it’s also pretty vague. And when you put it in context it’s even more interesting. Go ahead read the whole chapter.
Life is not always neat and tidy. Sometimes it’s jumbled up. Sometimes it’s even messier than a table after preschoolers attempt to decorate Christmas cookies. But God is still there. He’s still planning for hope and a future. He can make something beautiful if you’ll ease up and let him.
He is after all, the one who promised to give us life…life to the fullest.