I've got hang-ups about cooking. Okay, I've got hang-ups about a LOT of things, but cooking is a big one. When I was fourteen, I tried to cook dinner for my father all by myself. It was an unmitigated disaster, to put it mildly. Egg dripping off the counter top, flour everywhere, steak like shoe leather, burnt biscuits...you get the idea. I was trying to imitate one of my mother's "standard" dinners, but for the life of me I just couldn't figure out how to get six different items to come out perfectly all at the same time. Suffice to say, we ended up going out to Pizza Hut that night.
A few years later, when I was a young (very young) new wife and mother, I endeavoured again to learn how to cook. Have you ever seen potatoes turn green? I did, and it was not pretty. I couldn't even cook spaghetti without making a total hash of it. Even though I did eventually learn to cook a few things that were edible without having to close your eyes, it didn't take long for my (then) husband to take over the cooking. After all, "we just can't afford to waste food like that."
Over the years of my first marriage, I would still make an occasional foray into the kitchen. I still wanted to learn how to cook, despite my obvious domestic deficiency. And then came my moment of truth. After ten years of being "the breadwinner", we decided it was time to let me stay home with the children while he went out to work. My greatest fear wasn't whether or not we'd still be able to pay our bills, though that was a close second. No, my greatest fear was, "Will my family starve to death waiting for me to learn how to fix a decent dinner?"
In all, it took less than a month for me to get enough of a repertoire of dishes figured out so that we didn't have to eat the same thing every night. So emboldened by my new culinary prowess, I began tackling desserts. Before a year was up, I was making apple pies, pumpkin pies and brownie-bottom cheesecakes.
And then, I had to go back to work.
But all that changed three years ago when I married Eric. My life is so different now, it's hard to believe that I'm really the same person. I'm a stay at home mom, I home school, I have babies again, and even though my darling husband loves to help me in the kitchen, I do the bulk of the cooking. But I still have fears about learning new dishes. Until last night.
I've been so inspired by all the different recipes I've seen shared online that, after putting my husband on the spot and getting him to admit that yes, maybe something different for dinner would be kind of nice, I started going through my cookbooks in search of...something. What I came up with was Smothered Chicken. And, contrary to the visions I had of my family gagging and spitting it out like poison, they loved it! I took a major step of faith into the unknown and achieved success.
It occurred to me last night, with echoes of praise still ringing in my ears, that it's the same way with God. Sometimes, He asks me to take steps of faith into the unknown, to get me out of my comfort zone and try something new or different. And how do I answer that call? Do I balk with excuses, hemming and hawing about not having the time, the talent, or the skill while masking my fear of the unknown? Or do I trust that, whatever He has called me to, He will see me through?
Food for thought.
Originally posted September 1, 2007