We have to let go of our desire for perfection. We have to give God our normal, scrappy, attempts and see what He does with them.
A few days ago I took to Instagram at midnight to share a 'God just dropped this into my brain' thought. It was ill formed, and badly said... with a nice dose of rambling added to the mix too. BUT I truly think the message was from God to us. So, here's a second stab at it.
Somehow this imperfect process resulted in something good. This was surprising. It felt like a gift. The scrappy process had produced something good, in-spite of the odds.
I wanted Banana bread. I also wanted my brain to stop, my body to move a little, and to do something productive. It had been a work day - lots of looking at technology, sitting, and thinking. Ouch. Also, bananas were going black & frugal is the game... so. Naturally.
Once I got in the kitchen it became clear that there were a few problems with this plan.
1) I have no oven. I have a combi microwave which, while a wonderful replacement, is by no means a cake worthy cooking device.
2) I have no measuring scales. I would be relying on eye/odd sized spoons to help me get the right quantities for things.
3) I am absolutely not the best at instruction. I had a recipe open... but did I follow it?...
4) It was nine o'clock at night. Nothing good happens in a kitchen at 9pm.
Nevertheless. A little background noise went on, the flour came out & I set about making a cake.
We do this a lot in life, don't we. We start with a goal & get there somehow... Maybe you're like me and there is some kind of pride setting that comes with an 'I know this...' or 'I'll find a way, I'll be fine on my own' kind of thought. Maybe we have an idea and make a foolproof plan with check boxes and tick lists. Both (and every variation in-between) are totally human. And both are flawed. The first leaves little room for help and guidance, the second leaves little room for changes or external influences. Both, at the root, have a 'I can do this myself' stubbornness. And thats human too - we want to be in charge. And we want to do it our way. Either way, we all get (metaphorical) bees in our bonnet about (metaphorical) banana bread at 9pm.
So I cooked. I guessed and estimated quantities. I pre-heated my combi oven and spent a lovely half hour mixing ingredients together. I knew from times I've made Banana bread before that I was looking for a loose batter, heavy on banana, with enough flour and baking powder to allow it to have some structural integrity. I knew the colour I was looking for & the general process so, overtired, I fumbled my way through it. I forgot to add half the flour. I added too much sugar. I left it in the oven for too long. I went back an hour later and there, somehow, was a cake. It was imperfect. Yet completely edible & enjoyable. Somehow in the alchemy of cooking, this imperfect process resulted in something good. This was surprising. It felt like a gift. The scrappy process had produced something good, in-spite of the odds.
Somehow, somehow, my scrappy cooking process lead to an actual cake.
And here's the thought that the Holy Spirit dropped into my brain:
'Give God your scrappy, and He'll do the rest.'
Life with Jesus
Somehow, somehow, Jesus takes my scrappy and makes it into something beautiful.
As we journey through life with Jesus, one thing we begin to notice is that Us + Jesus = More than we ever could be alone. Just like the loaves and fishes. Twice Jesus perfumed this miracle - it must be important. Jesus is teaching, the crowd is hungry. The disciples explain that there isn't enough food to go around. Jesus instructs them to bring the food they can find to him. They bring some loaves of bread and a few fish. Jesus takes the loaves and fish, holds them, gives thanks for them, and breaks them. Jesus then proceeds to share the food around the crowd. And, twice, is says there were buckets of food left over.
When we give what we have in our hands to Jesus, He makes it into something infinitely more precious. When we let God in to our imperfect humanity, he makes it beautiful.
There are two ways that this can directly apply to us today:
1) With our eyes opened we can see the freedom attached to this invitation to let God into the messiness of our humanity. When we understand that God wants to move in the midst of our daily mess it opens us up to the wonder of seeing Him at work ALL OF THE TIME. We can see Him, learn about Him and grow in trusting Him as we go about our daily lives. It's in the grit of daily life that God teaches, moulds, and transforms us into something we could ONLY be in him.
2) We have to let go of our desire for perfection. We have to stop thinking we need to come up with the perfect plan before we do something. We have to give God our normal, scrappy, attempts and see what He does with them. God does his deepest works in the process.
Open those Bibles
God wants to meet us in the midst of the process; in the grit of our everyday. He wants our scrappy. So let's give it to him and see what He makes with it.
We've been talking a lot about Bible reading lately. God has an invitation here for us in this too. Let's say we want to Get to know God but our Bible has been untouched on the shelf for a year. Why? Perhaps because it's intimidating to know where to start. Perhaps because we don't feel we have time. Perhaps because we want a differnt Bible and are saving up money to afford it. Perhaps becaues we want the 'right' pens, post-it's and highlighters. Here's the thing though friend. We don't need to wait for perfection to start. In fact, God's call is exactly the opposite. He came so that we could come to him exactly as we are. The Holy Spirit dwells among us now so that we could encounter him exactly as we are.
So here's an encouragement to the Mum who wants to have a closer relationship with God but simply doesn't know how to sit down for half an hour to herself with the Bible. Don't try. God wants your scrappy, so give it to Him. Take 5 mins on the toilet with the door locked in the morning, open your Bible, read a few verses. And see what God does in you.
And to the person using Netflix to numb the pain of loneliness... Press pause. Grab whatever Bible you have on your shelf, open up Mark, and read. We start where we are. God sees the sacrifice, he sees the scrappy. He sees our desire for Banana Bread & he watches us measure wrong & he says 'This is my child, I love them. I'll help them make the bread'.
As we do this we will find God becomes more real to us. We will see him in everything. As we read the Bible for two minutes a day, we will feel how that time seems longer and longer, and God begins to feed us in it. We will see God honour our scrappy offering. We will see him draw alongside us and help us bake the cake.
So friends, let's start scrappy. Start where you are. Start how you can. God wants to meet us in the midst of the process; in the grit of our everyday. He wants our scrappy. So let's give it to him and see what He makes with it.
In honour of the 'start scrappy' cause, I'm launching my very first course on Monday. It is all of the scrappy, all of the imperfect, all of the surrendered to God, and all of the covered in prayer that He would use it and cause the fruit of it to be more beautiful than I could imagine. It's called 'Bible Basics', and it is a (re)introduction to the Bible, what it is & why it's important. The course aims to equip us to approach the Bible with less fear & more confidence.
Come see my scrappy offering, and add yours to the mix.
check out www.hopegracedesignco.co.uk for more details.
Go get brave, friend.
Give God your scrappy.