Monday, November 2, 2009

Making Cookies with God

We are a family of recovering perfectionists. Unfortunately, we are not driven to perfectionism in the same domains; ergo, we drive each other perfectly crazy!

Chandler is a perfectionist when it comes to games to grades. Anything less than first place or 100% and he might as well have failed completely.

Graham is a perfectionist when it comes to music and art. Almost nothing he produces meets his own expectations.

David is a perfectionist when it comes to scheduling, banking, and alphabetize-able items being in alphabetical order (i.e. DVDs, CDs, and books (by author first, then by title))--a system I continuously disrupt.

I struggle with perfectionism when it comes to the proper use of prepositions and adverbs, the cleanliness of the kitchen counter top, and the immediate removal of garbage from my car. And a few other minor areas that really aren't worth mentioning.

I believed myself to be furthest along in recovering from my perfectionist tendencies...until yesterday--when I made cookies with Chandler.

Together we made gingersnaps. Sort of. I say, "sort of" because:
  1. We were out of ground ginger (a key ingredient in GINGERsnaps)

  2. Chandler accidentally added double the prescribed amount of ground cloves.

  3. I prefer chewy cookies, so I take measures to ensure that my gingersnaps are not actually snappy (a key feature of the gingerSNAP).

But the fact that our gingersnaps could more accurately be called cloverchews did not bother me in the least. I'm all for adventuresome cooking, and to tell you the truth, the cookies taste delicious!

My perfectionist tendency reared its ugly head over a much more trivial issue.

In our division of labor, I shaped the dough in to one inch balls, and then Chandler rolled the balls in sugar and placed them on the pan. Each time he placed a cookie on the cookie sheet, I was tempted to move it (mere millimeters) so that the spacing of the cookies was exactly even. Chandler's spacing may not have been perfect, but it was without a doubt sufficient for the cookies to bake without touching each other.

In a small victory over the perfectionist monster, I successfully resisted the urge. I did not move a single cookie. I left every one where Chandler put it. But may I confess that it caused a knot in my stomach to put imperfectly spaced cookies in the oven? Why in the world would such a menial thing have the power to cause a physical reaction in me?

Perfectionism is a tool of the enemy. It drives us to selfish pursuits and distracts us from God's purposes. Though the Lord is perfect in every way, He accepts us in our imperfection. He is all about relationship, and demand for perfection from ourselves or others often interferes with true loving relationships.

I think the cookie-making incident is a great analogy. Everyday my Jesus invites me into the kitchen of His kingdom work. He is fully able to do all things without my "help;" nevertheless, He lovingly involves me in His purposes on earth. By allowing me to "help" mistakes abound! Key ingredients go missing, unimportant side ingredients get over-emphasized, and cookies end up all willy-nilly on the pan. And yet, for the sake of RELATIONSHIP--not PERFECT cookies--God lets me work in His eternal kitchen.

Because of His great love, and in spite of my missteps, the result is always sweet. What a joy to make cookies with God.


  1. Good word! Thanks Jenn :)

    I like chewy cookies too, btw. ;D

  2. What a flashback for this dad. I have so much fun doing things with other folks, but I have learned to love 'other ways' of doing things. It is one of His blessings that He lets us in on how He is shaping OTHERS, in our very presence!

  3. BRAVO!! What a 'yummy,' heartwarming analogy! I love it!

  4. Oh, does that sound familiar! (I like them to be a little chewy too. That's one benefit of making them myself!) Our pastor actually did a sermon on "perfectionism" earlier this year! How funny!

  5. This is a great post! So true. THANKS!