Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Easy as Pie?

I never enter contests.

The reason for this is that I do not like to lose. As a kid, I never entered the "fastest runner" contest, because I knew that Brandon could outrun me in a second. And, I was glad that I wasn't popular enough to enter the Junior Miss pageant, because being up on a stage and coming in last sounds like a nightmare. The closest I came to running for things, was auditioning for the school plays or running for study body secretary. Those are a little bit easier, because it's not like there's one winner, and everyone else lost. You usually get at least something, even if it's a lame part in the play. But at least it's not like you just flat out lose.

So, I'm in an apple pie contest. Today.

Now, this is hugely uncharacteristic of me, not only because i do not like contests, but also because I'm not a huge pie baker. If I make pie, it's chocolate. Now, I would enter my chocolate pie into a pie contest any day, but not so much apple. I've only ever made one really simple kind-of-OK apple pie before in my life. And even though my husband was excited about having apple pie, it was nothing to write home about.

So, I researched apple pie recipes. I compared different tactics for crusts, and studied up on apples. I chose very carefully a recipe that has won 2 state awards in a row, thanks to my pie making friend. Now, as I sit here and type, my pie sits in the oven and bakes. With nothing left to do but wait.

My feelings over this contest are not so much worrying about the competition...because the reason I entered the contest is because if you win, you get $1000 towards a ministry that you are involved in. It would be soooo neat to have the money to be able to go towards the after school program that I direct. So that's why I'm even in the contest. Not so that I can show my best pie, and win a ribbon for it. I haven't even ever tried this apple pie! I'm just having blind faith that this is an "award winning recipe"! Now all I can do is trust that it will be good. Maybe even good enough to win.

But it might not be. It might really be awful. The crust too hard and the filling too runny. The judges might even think, why in the world is this pie in this contest? I could have totally screwed up the recipe without even realizing it. I mean, I've never made a homemade pie crust before. I'm no expert on apple pies. I didn't even have a rolling pin to use...I had to borrow my 3 year old daughters kitchen set pretend one. Seriously.

As I wait, I think about how easy it is to just follow the directions for how to make life what you think you can make it. You can try a recipe that someone gives you. You can even have an award winning recipe. But you just don't know what you're going to have dealt to you. And we aren't supposed to know. What happens if the recipe fails. Or it just comes out all wrong with no understanding as to why it went wrong.

Trusting the Lord when we're uncertain of what the outcome will be, or when we've seen that the outcome is not at all what we choose, is what true trusting is all about. Knowing you might lose, but trying anyway. Knowing that you're not the best, but that you're doing the best you can do, and not for man. But for the Lord. I'm not trying to have a cheesy cliche, or put a Godly spin on it. It really is a step for me to know that it's not about what man thinks, it's what God says is true that I can rest in. He says that even a joyful noise is music to him, so then even apple scraps and lumpy dough can be a delicacy.

I don't know if my pie will win, but I'm glad that I made one. Whether or not it wins, it's the process of trying that is the most important. To be willing to try something, even if it's not the best of the best. To be willing to trust that it's OK to not be good enough to win. The part that blesses the heart of the Lord is just to be willing to step out and do it for Him.


Kari said...

I entered that chili contest last year because I am like you - I hate to lose. And, uh, I did lose (sorry this story isn't more inspiring). But I am so proud of myself for entering, for taking a risk. And I am proud of you, too!

I won't say, "It'll turn out great!" because I don't know that for sure. But it's great that you invested your time and effort into it, regardless of how it turns out.

The chili contest will be in another few weeks. Should I enter again?

Marshall Benbow said...

Great post, Melsassa - looking forward to the follow up!

emily said...

What a big step for you to be okay with a dessert that is "apple scraps and lumpy dough". You. Dessert Girl. Big steps. HUGE steps.

Sleepless in Greensboro said...

The only contest I remember entering was a teddy bear dress up contest. (Maybe this is why it was the only contest I've ever entered)...I don't even remember if I won or lost, there were probably only 3 or 4 of us in the contest. I just remember caring about it so much and changing my prized teddy bear 6 or 7 times until I felt he was perfect. That's all I remember, so I must have lost and blocked it out of memory? You are very brave and the analogy was beautiful. You are His whether you win the prize or not--that's all that matters.

carrie said...

I am so proud of you for being willing to offer yourself for service in a way that could be humiliating. And, I am so excited about how that was blessed, after your offering of trust.