Today, for the first time, I cooked Bobby’s favorite dinner his mom made for him growing up: baked ziti. I didn’t quite prepare myself for the large amount of food the recipe produces, or the large amount of mess I made in the kitchen. Our sinks are tiny and barely hold any dishes, so dirty dishes had to be strewn across all counters wherever I could find a place. As I am rushing to wash the colander after I drain the ground beef, the boiling noodles are overflowing and the turkey sausage is burning. AAHH! Sauce spills all over the floor, burned meat tries to escape the hot pan and jumps onto the floor as well, and the boiling water all over the stove is making that really loud kind of steam. Obviously, I’m sweating as I am going back and forth from sink to stove, and of course, Bobby comes in. He stares. He tries to offer to help. This experience is reminding me of last week when I was trying to make a smoothie and made the mistake of sticking a spoon in the blender as it was going. Needless to say, thick green liquid all over the counter, broken spoon, and broken blender. Boo.
I don’t know why I thought cooking would be this easy, natural thing that would come to me as soon as I got married. I have always been an incredibly messy chef- but I thought it would magically disappear when I got married. After dinner (which was, by the way, amazing) when I was confused and crying on the couch to Bobby (confused as well) I came to terms with the reality that marriage doesn’t bring magic the way I expected. Yes, there’s the real magic word: expectations. This word eats at and hurts and destroys relationships and self-confidence. I was warned against setting unrealistic expectations for Bobby, but I didn’t bother to think about unrealistic expectations on myself. The truth is that I can’t become the Iron Chef, SuperWife, the Merry Maid, the Teacher of the Year, the Proverbs 31 woman, or the Princess of the World overnight. Unfortunately I wrongly assumed I could be. I set so many expectations on myself that I literally believed would magically happen without the necessary learning period. After much talking and encouragement, Bobby gently reminded me that when God gives us a lot, it means we CAN handle it with Him. If we truly want to be great people of the Lord, we should practically be asking for struggles and trials to make us stronger. He did say “in this world you will have troubles.” Then Bobby told me some embarrassing stories about himself when he was my age, which of course cheered me up. Love him.
Another misconception: acknowledging sin or mistakes is NOT the hardest part; taking action to a life of discipline and putting Jesus first is the hardest. I can point out all my sins, flaws, and wrong doings until I am blue in the face and all the world knows, but taking those first, second, third, fourth, etc. steps is when I halt, practically blatantly saying “sorry J, tomorrow! promise!”
I’m learning the way to overcome struggles and heavy burdens is to focus on the pure goodness of the character and grace of Christ, not simply praying to be better. Action is key- as learned, it comes through trials and hard times, not just overnight or as soon as vows are said. Messes will continue to happen (it is me after all) and feelings of being overwhelmed will still happen. Choosing His strength and His grace in those moments, remembering His good and perfect truth are what I need to dwell on instead of the mess itself.