Cooking makes me happy. Wow. There. I’ve admitted it.
If you’ve known me for a long time, you’re probably wondering what happened to me. If you’ve just met me and have seen all those food pictures that I post on Facebook, you’re probably wondering what the big deal is. Historically, I haven’t been a domestic person at all. I never really learned how to cook well because I’ve never really HAD to cook very much until last year. For the most part, I can’t afford to go out, eat out, or get takeout. So, the very idea of me cooking is kind of necessity... and kind of a miracle.
Interestingly, a few years ago I started watching Food Network shows as entertainment (because that kind of TV doesn’t make me stumble). I like to watch people teach other people how to do things (because I was raised by a teacher), and I like reality shows (because, as any therapist would tell you, I’m addicted to turmoil). Watching Food Network shows turned into watching other cooking videos on YouTube, and before I realized what was happening, I was almost becoming a foodie. (Almost, but not quite, as far as I can tell.)
Ever since I started going through my financial rough patch, very generous friends have been giving me food... which activated my natural curiosity... which was fueled by watching all those episodes of Chopped and MasterChef UK... which led to me researching recipes online (oh, my gosh, you can find almost anything on the internet)... which led to me cooking things like chicken pasta... while making my own alfredo sauce out of cream cheese (its texture is kind of like a TV dinner that’s been sitting out too long, but it’s not bad). Hmm. I wonder if I could make enchilada sauce taste good with spaghetti? (By the way, if you’ve given me food, THANK YOU!)
Oh, and I deep-fry my own tortilla chips now. That’s what happens when you’re out of chips but you have plenty of corn tortillas and oil. And they were awesome to snack on while I typed this.
So, cooking makes me happy. I used to hate cooking because I didn’t see the point of spending hours on a meal that only took a few minutes to eat... and forever to clean up. But I don’t hate it anymore. (I’ve even heard myself talking to my food while I cook it... cuz I’m like that.) I think I get it now. The joy is in the preparation.
You didn’t think this entire post would be about food, did you?
“For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills... If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness... Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:10, 12, 14-15)
A few months ago, I had a counseling appointment at my church. The nice lady I spoke with said that she felt like God wanted me to cultivate a thankful heart. (I was reminded later of a time several years ago when I asked for prayer at church; the nice man who prayed for me said that God wanted me to be “thankful for the weirdness” of my job at the time.) So, I’ve tried to be intentionally thankful about pretty much everything. If things were lousy at work, I was thankful to at least have something to do for eight hours. I was thankful for a paycheck. I was thankful that God brought me out here and was taking care of me.
I think I understand one reason why. At my current job, my coworkers complain. A lot. About EVERYTHING. (Gosh. Is that what I sound like when I’m having a hard time with something?) I believe one way to combat that kind of negativity is to “walk in the opposite spirit,” as we charismatics would say. In other words, instead of joining in and complaining with everybody else, I can do the opposite and just be thankful. (One of my coworkers complained about me saying “thank you” too often. Heh.)
From what I understand, Psalm 50 says that God is very serious about thankfulness. He doesn’t seem to care much about any religious sacrifices that we could make. The sacrifices He cares about are thankfulness, following through on any promises that we make to Him, crying out to Him when we’re in trouble, and glorifying Him. He wants to be respected as a Daddy who takes care of us... as a Father who’s more than powerful enough to take care of us when we need Him.
In other words, He wants us to acknowledge that He is God.
So, I’ve been trying to follow that pretty cool prayer model that’s laid out in Psalm 50: Thank You, You own all the money in the world, I’m in trouble, please help Me. My income has been cut drastically in the past month in a half, but God provided a way for me to pay this month’s rent and next month’s rent. And He miraculously provided me with $10,000 to go back to school.
Yes, you read that correctly. In case you haven’t heard yet, an anonymous donor gave extremely generously to my school account. (By the way, if that was you, THANK YOU!) My bill for the spring semester is covered, and I think most of the fall semester will be covered as well. Maybe I could try summer school, too. But I don’t want to think too far ahead.
I’m still learning how to take things one day at a time. That kind of living requires a lot of trusting in God. And He’s taking extremely good care of me. (And hopefully I can use my big mouth to glorify Him instead of getting myself in trouble.)
Today after I learned that they’re cutting back our hours at work, I felt like God told me, “Aren’t you glad you’re going back to school?” Heh. Most definitely. I’m thankful for those jobs I’ve had in the past where management had to make some cutbacks, because I learned how to walk in peace in the midst of it (and it was an awkward learning process).
Speaking of school, I can barely begin to tell you how excited I am about finally getting to prepare to become a worship pastor. (If you’ve read my blog for the past few years, you’ve probably read all about my dream.) I’m not exactly sure what God has up His sleeve, but I know it’s pretty awesome. And He has an extremely awesome sleeve.
There are a ton of unknown variables up ahead, but I don’t need to know everything. I just need to keep trusting the One who DOES know everything. And I know that there’s joy in the preparation.