by: Staci Stallings
With our lists in hand, we turn briefly to a couple of pitfalls that I alluded to in the previous post. These are two of Satan’s most insidious weapons: comparisons and judgments.
Now, I mentioned last time that I hate to cook and clean. What I didn’t exactly mention is that I’m also really bad at cooking.
I have several reasons for this. First, I grew up on a dairy farm and so my time was spent in the barn milking cows and in the house doing homework. There really wasn’t much time to learn to cook.
Second, my mom is an incredible cook and also quite territorial with her cooking. Not a bad thing. Just how it is.
So I learned, when Mom is cooking, don’t touch anything!
My brother-in-law is living proof that it can be done and you can actually come out of the experience alive, but frankly, I still don’t want to test the theory.
Growing up, when Mom was cooking, I sat in the chair in the kitchen and read jokes to her out of the Reader’s Digest. So while I’m good at book reading and watching someone cook, the actually cooking part did not transfer to me.
Further, after I got married and I got to try my cooking skills, they were not fabulous. I once busted a Pyrex glass baker when I flipped a steak in it in the oven. Don’t ask. It wasn’t pretty.
When I’m cooking, I’m liable to forget little things like salt, sugar, or pepper, or that I’m cooking altogether (yes, I have my share of burned pots and pans to prove that one!). I often start on a recipe only to learn halfway down that I should have had something chilling for 2 hours or that I’ve completely overlooked THE ingredient that you MUST have that my grocery store doesn’t even stock.
You think I am kidding about how bad I am at cooking, I’m not.
I actually set my oven on fire once, and believe me, if you’re going to do that, do it BEFORE your children have a memory, or you will never hear the end of it!
It’s so bad that last year my ten-year-old son came in after school and said, “Mom, what’re we having for supper?” I said, “Pizza.” (The frozen kind that you take the wrapper off, put on a pie pan, and stick in the oven for 15 minutes.) To which he said, “Oh, can we wait for Kayla to come home and make it? She makes them better than you do.”
(I love my children, and thus, why this child is still alive today!)
My bad cooking is a running joke in our house, and like all good jokes, it derives its humor because it’s so true.
But here’s the problem… Over the years I have been wont to compare my abysmal cooking skills to people around me who really CAN cook… like my husband, and my daughter, my mom, and one of my friends. And my brother-in-law, who can look in the pantry and find three things that don’t go together at all, and then whip up a meal for 50 people he didn’t know were coming.
See, when I think about my cooking (non) skills, I start comparing them to other’s and I almost always lose that comparison. Now, what I don’t often do is remember the time I helped my brother-in-law with a banking paper he had to write or the times I’ve typed up bills and bids for my husband or the hours I’ve spent helping my daughter with Spanish homework. No. When I start comparing my cooking skills to theirs, I lose every time–no “good things I’ve done and can do” need apply!
That’s the thing though, comparisons and judgments are meant to do one thing and one thing only — put you down and convince you to stay there.
They are designed to sideline you and get you so focused on what you don’t do well that you completely forget that you do ANYTHING well!
See, when I focus on my dislikes column, I’m not looking at the likes column at all. I’m mentally rehearsing all the ways I fall short (and that’s a pretty long list!). Basically my “falls short” list is comprised of those things “all mothers and women should be good at.” Like cooking and cleaning and gardening. When I look at that list, it makes me feel worthless. Why would anyone even want me around?
Next time we’re going to talk a little about Man’s Math and how we get into this pitiful state of being where our focus is only on the dislikes list and how and why that will take our will and worth right down the drain if we let it. But hang on as well because then we’re going to start looking at how and why we don’t have to look at that dislikes list, and how and why God’s Plan is working even in the midst of the things we don’t do well.
For today, realize that comparing yourself to other unique and wonderful people will not get you what you most want. Let go of comparisons and judgments, and you’ll be one giant step closer to finding your Vision and Voice!