A paradox of overseas life means that scarcity ushers in luxury. Our first years abroad I rejoiced over every “find” in the food department. Cheese, sour cream, and milk products illicited flurries of communication via cellphone to team mates. Did you know such and such a place has such and such an import product from home? Special feasts came from such finds. Months of doing without dairy products ended up being better for me by all but eliminating some painful stomach problems. That didn’t stop me from gorging on sour cream enchiladas when appropriate, meaning, whenever someone served them.
Over time the scarcity changed our daily lives dramatically. Where Bisquick does not exist pancakes transform themselves slowly into whole grain, made from scratch morsels of deliciousness. My kids grow up oddly spoiled because the price of cereal is highway robbery. Eggs and bacon become the economic alternative. Homemade granola serves as cereal. Nothing pops open to eject 8 cinnamon rolls to be eaten in minutes. Cinnamon rolls become a much anticipated treat that delivers all that cinnamon rolls should deliver when made from scratch.
Along the way I stopped feeling sorry for us, made from scratch is way better. Don’t get me wrong, we still enjoy mac n cheese from a box and there are plenty of times when a baking mix is just the thing on a Saturday morning after a busy week. I still cost it out when I see bag of pre-shredded cheese to see if I can justify avoiding the task of cheese shredding myself. And, I rejoiced when IKEA sold premade cookie dough. From scratch still tastes better though.
Spiritual life seems similar to me. There’s no shortcut to maturity just as there is no real shortcut to good cinnamon rolls. The road to maturity like good cooking is a recipe, time, quality input, and a result of trial and error. Most of my best creations in the kitchen meant that I risked too. I tried and sometimes…maybe even often… failed. I gain maturity in much the same way. More lessons got learned when it didn’t go so well. Sometimes I’m so afraid of making mistakes that I’m afraid to risk. I pull out a recipe of life and think “Hmmmm…I’ll try that no gossip thing another day…seems pretty hard.”
I’m realizing that risking is the path to maturity. Taking God at His word and stepping out is the path. Maybe that’s another way of thinking about faith…taking a risk with God. Do I want my life to taste like Bisquick pancakes? No. Made from scratch, please!