It was almost 7 o'clock and dinner was not ready. I confess, I had often dreamed of being the hostess with the clean apron, manicured nails, and delicious home-cooked meals that all came out of my oven at the exact same time. As far reaching as this dream was, I quickly realized that after only a few months of being married, our little apartment was apparently the place to be and my tiny kitchen would be producing not so much "perfect" meals, but certainly enough to sustain even the hungriest of twenty-somethings.
As I went about the final preparations for taco night (yes, one of the absolute easiest meals to make) I laid out twelve hard taco shells on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to warm up. Now, for some reason I had it in my tired mind that broil is what you used when you just wanted to heat something up and not cook it. All of a sudden, we start to smell smoke and sure enough, we open the oven door to unveil my shame in the form of twelve flames- one for each taco shell.
But wait, there's more.
The smoke was INSANE so we all start opening windows. I open up the sliding door but leave the screen shut so our cat doesn't get out. My brave husband valiantly grabs the pan and makes a run for it outside, only to be greeted by that screen door I shut and the piping hot pan kisses him right in the stomach. He calls it his battle scar...
I didn't realize braving my cooking was like going to war!
Honestly, I was mortified. Here I was a new wife, new to cooking for 2 people let alone 8, and I failed at what should have been one of the easiest dishes known to mankind. I went to bed that night feeling more defeated than I knew I should. Why was this such a big deal to me? It's not like anyone was hurt- or hurt too badly.. The house didn't burn down, everyone ate and went home happy, smelling just a tad bit of smoke. So why did this taco shell incident attach itself to me the way it did?
Sometimes as women, and maybe you men too, we attach certain "roles" to ourselves and make them our identity. As a new wife, I had attached things like "great cook," and "good house-keeper" to who I was, so that when I messed up in one of those, it felt like an attack on me as a person.
Why do we do this to ourselves? I think sometimes we just want to feel important, valuable, and irreplaceable. In a society that says "there's nothing really special about being a woman, anyone can do it," we're pretty desperate to shout back, "YOU DON'T KNOW ME!!!!" I don't know what girl hasn't pictured the day she was going to get married and also pictured being the perfect wife. I mean, we know we're not perfect but... I expect that from myself. And consequently, we start to assume that other people expect that from us. WHEN THEY DON'T!
This journey of life is exactly that, a journey and no one get's to start off life, a marriage, parenting, a career, school, or anything else by being the best.
One of my favorite songs for times like these (or let's be honest, any day!) is "Second Chance" by Rend Collective and in the very first line, they remind me of everything I need in times like these:
My future isn't dependent on what I can achieve or accomplish or create on my own, but rather it's based on His ability to do what he does best: making preciousness from dust. Bringing beauty out of ashes. Creating memories from my mistakes. It's not in my ability but in his goodness that I even have a future, and a future that's filled with goodness and hope (Jer. 29:11).
When we have our less than perfect moments, let's remember that our perfect God is working ALL things together for OUR good, that our mistakes (and our accomplishments) do not determine who we are and where we stand in his eyes, and that we're not perfect, but he will never be done creating us.
So go forward with confidence, even if you have a little leftover smoke still on you and for goodness sake please do NOT put your taco shells on broil ;)