I have a confession. I’m kind of (okay, I am) obsessed with the Great British Baking show. It started innocently enough. I came home one day while my wife Lizzie was watching it. The thought of watching twelve people race against a clock to make fantastical doughy creations didn’t seem exciting at first, but my propensity for devouring sugary confections eventually overtook any objections the logical side of my brain had. Before I knew it I had binged watched six seasons of biscuit battles like it was a tower of doughnuts set in front of me.
I’ve always loved cooking and creating. My Mamaw Lowe taught me had to roll a pie crust at the age of four and my dad would catch me creating odd breakfast combinations at all hours of the night during high school. To this day I have no idea where I thought up habenero shrimp omelettes drenched in maple syrup but they need to make a come back.
In season six of GBB there was a phenomenal baker named Ian. He was just a normal guy that entered into the competition and wowed the judges over and over with his ambition and creativity. There was a point when the six bakers left were tasked with a challenge that required them to make a sort of ice cream cake with all sorts of bells and whistles. The day was particularly hot and as the challenge wore on and the clock dwindled Ian was panicked that his ice cream would not set. The sponge cake, filling, and everything else he had looked absolutely gorgeous. He went over to retrieve his ice cream from the freezer to find that someone had left his ice cream out when they took their item out. It had melted and there was no hope for it to set in time. In a temporary moment of outrage he grabbed his entire creation and through it in the trashcan and stormed off at the verge of tears.
As a viewer I was shocked. “How could he do that!?” He should just show the judges what he had made and explain what happened!” I shouted at the television frantically.
The time came for Ian to present his cake and he brought the judges the trashcan and said he had nothing to offer them. The judges asked him why he didn’t show them the work he had completed. He said something along the lines of “It wasn’t good enough, and it was missing what it was supposed to have and in my frustration I tossed it.”
“I would have liked to at least try it, it sure looked lovely.”
It wasn’t good enough. By who’s standards? Why was he willing to throw away hours of work because a small mishap? Sure he wouldn’t have won, but the judges are gracious and would have let him stay. Instead he threw it away because in his mind it wasn’t perfect.
That night I was infuriated by something that plays out in my life over and over. It also reminds me of a parable Jesus once told. In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a parable of three men who were given talents when their master left on a journey. When the master returns he checks to see what each man has done. Two men made a lot of investments with what they were given and happily reported this. They were rewared. The third man came to the master and told him that he heard rumors of the kind of man he was and decided to bury the talent so he wouldn’t do the wrong thing with it. Needless to say the Master was not happy and the servant’s story didn’t end well.
This story and that moment on the Great British Baking show both speak to me.
There are so many times in my life that I let fear control the decisions I make. And this usually looks like burying my blog posts into my trash folder, avoiding the conversation I’m supposed to have, or even skipping the gym because I’m so afraid that what I have to offer won’t be good enough.
I look for excuses or stories to reinforce my belief and follow that instead of being vulnerable and trusting God with the abilities he has given me.
A friend told me last week that I have to become comfortable with the fact that not everything I do will be perfect, but it is still important that I create things and that I do.
He challenged me to sit down at my computer for 15-30 minutes, write something and publish it without overthinking it or over editing it.
So after about 30 attempts at sitting down at my computer I’m doing it.
Of all the things we do in the world, showing up is the most important. We will stumble and fumble around plenty of times, but our Good Father will be with us every step of the way. He can’t walk along side of us if we aren’t willing to take a step.
So hopefully in the future instead of cowering behind excuses that whatever I’m writing isn’t as good as what i’ve done, I will be diligent with my word and what the ability God has given me. And maybe one day that will turn into something beautiful, and wonderful. Right now it might be a melted ice cream cake but I will present it.
This week may we all have the courage to take the next step, write the next sentence, and finish what we have started.