Everyone has their "go to" place when they just need to escape for a while. For some, it’s the gym. For others, it’s a place of worship. It could be the movie theater, a walk in the park, the library, or the local aquarium. For me, it’s the kitchen.
Whenever I’m feeling stressed, happy, or I’m in need of a little time to myself, I always head for the kitchen. It’s there that I work out my problems or express myself through a pineapple coconut cake, a maple dijon pork chop, or by simply throwing together a bunch of ingredients together, and praying that it turns out well.
I think what I like best about the kitchen is…well, there’s two things, really. One, I can follow a recipe. Either that, or I know exactly what to do because I’ve seen my mom do it a thousand times. There is no guessing. I can be precise and if I follow the directions carefully, my dessert, meal, and/or side dish will turn out exactly like it’s supposed to. So, when I go into the kitchen, most days, and I’m feeling however I’m feeling, I can push everything else out of my head and just bake, just cook. No one is in there telling me to add more of this, or less of that. I’m in control. If I burn the cookies, it’s on me. I kind of like that.
The second thing I like about the kitchen is it’s a place to learn. I can’t tell you how many times I've messed something up. The batter was too lumpy. I forgot the difference between margarine and shortening or baking soda and baking powder. Those kind of mistakes make for an, shall we say, interesting end result. I’ve over-cooked, under-cooked, forgotten to put the eggs in, and added a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon. Oh yeah, I’ve done it and it’s about the most disgusting thing you’ve ever tasted. But the kitchen is so much more than cups of flour and baking temperatures. I’ve learned how to trust myself. I’ve learned that I’m capable of a lot more than I thought. I’ve taken on Thanksgiving dinner all by myself, and I was ready to have a meltdown. But I did it. I survived the madness and I’m better for it!
Unfortunately, life isn’t made up of measurements and easy-to follow recipes. All we have is what’s in front of us, the Bible, and God the Father leading us, daily. Let’s be honest. Life is crazy and chaotic at times, and a playbook or recipe card would be super helpful in most situations. But no matter whether you’re in the kitchen, on the playing field or wherever your special place is, there’s always opportunity to grow, to challenge yourself, and allow God to speak to you in those times when you feel every emotion known to man. On days when I feel lost, I love nothing better than to turn some worship music on, sing along, and just bake. As much as I do it for myself, I think it would be wrong of me not to acknowledge God and His hand in it. I think He brings me to the place where I have nothing left, where I am alone with Him, doing something I enjoy, where I can communicate with the Father. And most of the time, when the timer goes off, the toothpick comes out spotless, and the dishes are all clean, the things I went into it with are gone. My heavenly Father has given me what I was seeking. Is it 100% of the time? Not always. But I certainly have a better sense of what it is that I do need or a clear mind where I can either go to Him or talk it through with someone.
Sometimes all you need is a little time, a few moments to yourself and several with God, and you find that what was wrong twenty minutes ago really isn’t too bad. Or maybe it really is, but you realize that God is bigger than it all and is going help you through.
So go kick a ball, make a cake, or read a good book….but no matter what you do…remember that it’s all going to be okay and God will be with you through it all.
Matthew 28:20 “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”