I'm passionate about baking. She's passionate about helping. This isn't always a match made in heaven. In fact, truth be told, I still like to do things my way in the kitchen. I really do enjoy flour-less floors and tea rings with perfect measurements all around. I desire order and efficiency when I work. I prefer my dough to be smooth and even, minus the ten chubby fingerprints through the center.
But yesterday when we were creating this Valentine treat for Tess's daddy, I realized that a key ingredient was missing in my idealistic little recipe for baking success.
I needed to let go of the unnecessary and focus on the bigger picture. Forget the efficiency. Forget the perfection. Forget my way. There is so much joy in embracing this special one-on-one time with my girlie. Slowly training her from a young age to love working in the kitchen. Helping her to understand that we as women can love our families well through such a simple act of service. Grabbing hold of her love for helping others early, so it's her natural bent as she grows. Channeling her (sometimes overwhelming!) passion for good.
Possibly the biggest mom-lesson God continually brings to my mind is to be more passionate about the person than the project.
If I spend all my days as a mom trying to live up to the standards of perfection I have created in my head, then I will miss the ministry that God has placed before me. I can complete all kinds of projects and display all kinds of skills, but if I neglect to love others in the process, then I will have completely missed the mark.
Talk about being passionate about something... enter Ephesians. Paul has this passion-channeling thing down pat. He is so passionate about the Gospel, in fact, that he can't stop talking about it:
"For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 SURELY you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you,
3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly."
If it seems like Paul has repeated himself a few times in the first few chapters of Ephesians, it's because he has. Imprisonment couldn't even waiver him! I love the almost interruption of his speech in these verses. Was it because he felt the need to repeat himself again? As if to say, "Wait, I want to make sure you get this... SURELY you have heard. I've already said it, but this is good stuff. Remember this!"
It would be easy for Paul to get caught up in the political incorrectness of his message. What he has stated about the Jews and the Gentiles becoming one in Christ caused HUGE ruffles and controversy. I would have even understood if he was worried about his image, or if he had a little pity party for himself because the whole thing landed him in prison. Yet he continues to keep his passion focused. He knows the ONE whom he is talking about, and he can't resist sharing the Good News with anyone who will listen.
I wonder how much more we could accomplish for the Gospel if we focused on just that: the Gospel. I fear that we often channel our energies into so many different things that we lose sight of the real ministry that God has called us to from the very beginning. We are bent on doing things:
Our own way.
Committed to all kinds of projects, organized ministries and lots of good things, but allowing division in the body and our own agendas to get in the way of why Jesus came in the first place.
Just think of how effective we could be for the Gospel if we were more passionate about the person - JESUS - than we were about the "project". Do you need to answer His call to return to your first love?
He is waiting patiently. Strip the unnecessary away. There is JOY in His presence.