One of the genres that completely captivated me was baking shows.
I was enamored with people taking simple ingredients and creating something that looked delicious even through my television screen. The steps seemed easy enough to replicate. Surely it couldn't be that difficult considering the countless shows on baking. I was committed to taking my turn at turning my new interest in preparing home baked goods into a hobby.
As a wife and mom, I've never been much of a baker. In fact, there wasn't much baking in my childhood home. The time it took to gather the ingredients and to do a proper bake was time that my family would have preferred serving the community through block walks, registering people to vote, visiting sick friends or attending any number of church activities. There were all noble things and none that I regret undertaking. We just weren't a family that spent a lot of time baking goods that you could simply buy off the shelf or from a preferred vendor.
Cooking Sunday meals with entrees and vegetables? Yes.
Baking cakes, pies, and sweet breads? No.
Aside from one or two favorite recipes given by women with whom I've been vulnerable enough to share my lack of baking skill, I didn't bake. I bought sweets, which I love. So I thought with this new time on my hands and these new tutorial videos showing step-by-step instructions, surely, I could do this. I invested in scales to convert measurement units. I bought new pots, pans, and utensils. I was all in on the quests to have a new thing or series of things that I can bake for my husband and my sons.
I was in for a stunning revelation. It's not as easy as it looks although the series I was following included “easy” in the title.
It wasn't easy. In fact, it was frustrating. I was almost defeated when nothing I prepared looked like what I was seeing on my screen. The boys were kind enough to chip in and boost my morale saying although it didn’t look great it tasted great. They even devoured some of it.
I was disappointed in myself. I thought I could do this. I was looking forward to expanding my interests. Being good at something else. I wanted to stun my family with these baked goods hoping for the same reaction I often received when marveled at some of my columns and other writings.
But I hadn’t written much lately. I didn’t think I had given them many reasons to be proud of me.
I wanted, no, I needed to get this baking thing down. It was going to be my new thing. So I just couldn't figure it out why I was struggling in this effort. Then I had to face the fact: I'm not a baker. I'm a writer.
Although I hadn’t committed the time to my writing that it needed, I’ve always wanted to write. In fact, I was spending the time on baking that I should I have been working on my writing.
I loved writing. I loved putting words to recent experiences and past lessons. The past two years had taken a lot from me. I feared it was taking my love for writing, too.
I know the misery of the last two years is not mine alone. I don't own the fear, anxiety, doubt, and distress that many of us have experienced in the global pandemic.
I’m not exactly sure why I haven’t written more. I haven't posted as much on social media. I haven't finished that book that I really, really want to publish, especially since it’s halfway written. I haven't done so many things.
I haven't put anything down on paper or in a podcast because I've been so consumed with the things that have been consuming the rest of the world for the last 24 months.
So I threw myself into other things hoping it would help to make sense of this new normalcy that we call “life after a pandemic.” In my quest to become the best home maker and create the dessert my sons would long for when they were off at college, I failed. And failed gloriously.
I was working outside of my gifts and outside of my calling.
I’m not a baker. I’m a writer.
I’m inspired by the skill, patience, and artistic effort it takes to execute beautiful baked goods. I still have a strong interest in learning how to bake but I could put that time toward my strengths not areas where my weakness is magnified.
I'm not throwing away my aprons or all my cooking accessories, but I'm not a baker. I'm a writer.
I’ve had many revelations through this pandemic. Many of the gut wrenching, heartbreaking actions I’ve experienced have shown me who I am and who others are not. My mistake was thinking this “clarity” was driving me toward something else. The reality was many of these disclosures were pushing me back into my focus.
This season is confirming what I’ve always known.
I am who I am.
The same holds true for others. This season has confirmed who others are – and, in some cases, who they are not.
If you’ve been struggling with your own version of raspberry donuts, don’t despair.
This may be the tug you need to sharpen your focus on the actual thing you’ve been called to do.
As for me, I'm convinced now more than ever – even the first time I declared in a third grade bible class that I was going to be a writer – that I am a writer.
I also know that I’m not a baker.
So here goes nothing… or everything.