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Monday, 26 January 2015

What's wrong with my Damper???

I like to think I’m pretty good at baking. At the very least, I really love it. Not cooking, mind you. When it comes to cooking, I’m a disaster. Just baking. You know – cakes, biscuits, confectionary, bread – that kind of thing.

But there’s one thing I’ve never succeeded in baking – damper. Oh, I can cook it okay on a bonfire, twisted around the end of a stick, but I can’t make it from scratch in the oven and I have no idea why. I follow the recipe. In fact, I’ve followed numerous recipes over the years, blaming the recipe each time it goes wrong.

One year it came out dry, the next year burnt around the edges and still uncooked in the middle. The one year I did get it to hold together, one bite told me it was inedible – too much flour, or milk, or salt, or ... um, something. I hid that one in a bag and took it all the way out to the wheelie bin, washing up and putting away all signs that it had even been attempted. Destroy the evidence, and all that.

I’ve finally realised that five different recipes can’t be wrong. Nope, it’s me. I can’t cook damper.

And why tell you my woeful tale? Because, of course, I learnt a lesson from said damper.

You see, my mum makes exceptionally good damper. Hers comes out of the oven smelling (and tasting) so tantalisingly good that it’s all gone before it even cools. Mine comes out looking and tasting like a brick. I doubt even crows would eat it.

The thing is, we use the same recipe. I know, hard to believe given the difference in results, but we do.

The same goes for our chocolate chip biscuit recipe and our choc fudge cake recipe. Yes, I can cook those (as can all the women in my family) but they all come out tasting different.  Six different people use the same recipe and have totally different tasting results. You’d think it was a completely different recipe we were all using.

I know, I said there was a lesson and here it is: God gives us all the same task – go and tell the world about Him – but the way we do that will look different to each of us.

Now, I’m not certain, since I’ve never checked for sure, but I’m guessing the difference in our results with the same recipe is because the females in my family all have very different temperaments. When it comes to baking, there’s the perfectionist, the experimenter, the ‘hmmm...that would definitely look better green ... or blue, or purple’, the follow the recipe (ish), and the ‘bake because people have to eat’... We’re all totally different, and maybe – just maybe – that’s why our results look so different.

God might have given us all the same task, but it’s going to look different to each one of us because He's made us all different to start with. Some will be boldly out there knocking on doors of strangers, others prayer walking while talking to no one. Some God might ask to spend years growing a relationship with someone before even mentioning Jesus’ name. Others will be talking about Him every chance they get. Some are up the front preaching to thousands. Others, telling a lonely person at school that they’re not alone.

Same task, different look.

And God needs them all.

Others might disagree, but I happen to think that I’m no less Australian because I can’t cook damper. And nor am I any less needed by God because my part in His Great Commission looks different to someone else’s.

Go out there and do what God’s calling you to do. And don’t worry if it looks different to the person beside you. Who knows? A few purple biscuits might be just what God needs to change someone’s life.

Happy Australia Day all!



Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Nike had it Right

I follow a lot of blogs. Mostly writers I like and publishers of their books but a few others as well. Without fail, the topic of every single one of them this week has been the New Year. Aspirations, dreams, reflections, prayers – they’re all there.

I laughed aloud when I read one this morning, not because it was funny but because it summed up my week so exactly.

‘I must have started this blog fifteen times. I’d write a word or a line, then delete it. All because I’m trying to think of something new and clever to say about the fact that we’re facing a new year.’

(Karen Ball, ‘Start the New Year Right’, The Steve Laube Agency Blog)

I knew just how she felt. I’ve been working on this particular post for the past two weeks. It started off as a Christmas reflection, turned into 2014 gratitude, then a celebration of the New Year, my thoughts on Fear v Faith... On a happy note, I now have five completed posts ready for, uh, sometime.

I realised this morning that I have to just sit down and write. Ignore the perfectionist inside me (which seems to only come out when I’m creating) and just write.

Just do it.

Whether I have the words or not.
Whether it comes out perfectly or not.
Whether it makes a profound difference in anyone’s life but mine or not.

Just write. Write because I committed to do it and because it’s good for me. And because it's my dream, and the only way I'll see it come true is to start.

Looking into 2015 for me is both incredibly exciting and utterly terrifying. I know there will be huge challenges because I’ve pretty much set myself up for that, but I’m also excited to see what God will do through it all. And I know he will work because I saw him do it in 2014 (and every year before that!). Over and over and over. Me flailing and Him faithful.

But I won’t see any of it if I sit and procrastinate. Come rain, come shine, come blank page before me – I will step out in faith and write.

So here’s my encouragement for you today – just do it. Stop thinking about how it will work, whether it will work, whether you’ll fail or fly or what the outcome will be and just step out in faith and do it.

Whatever it is you dream of – just do it!