This is not a post detailing my adventures in bread baking. I have baked a lot of bread but I suppose that post is for another day.
Still, this post is about bread. Another kind of bread. Ironically, I had been wondering about when I would post about something other than my adventures in sugar, butter, and eggs. And so here it is.
I emailed a friend recently. It was during a time when I was ambivalent about some situations and decisions. And God being gracious, and my friend being so awesome (and she is awesome, no superfluous statement here), gave me this truth to ponder:
"Don't live for the expectations of others, but rather for the Lord. ... I got a vision just now of rising bread dough - as it expands it will fill every bit of space it can find, whether or not its supposed to. I feel like that is you. You're trying to expand into the spaces people want you to fill in their lives, reaching to be nourishment at the expense of its own stability. Does that make sense? You're nourishing and filling, but just fill the pan you were made for."
Bread bakers have a lot of terms. Bread that rises too much is called over proofed. It makes for a loaf that collapses when it bakes and is full of holes when it's sliced. (I told you I really had baked bread before, hehe.) It's not that it doesn't taste good. It's still bread. But its holes and small shape make it hard for it to hold anything put on it. The butter and jam seep through every cavernous hole, and its small size means you end up using four slices of bread for that lunchtime sandwich. It takes a lot more over proofed bread to feed someone.
I pondered this for only two seconds when the light fell on my iPhone calendar: I've been running non stop, stretched thin because I haven't had a free day in 7 weeks. I keep giving, saying yes, slipping in one more person or event and...I don't even know what to do with myself any longer. Because that's the other thing: I easily live for others' expectations. Maybe it's an oldest child thing. Maybe it's a sin thing. Maybe it's a Keturah-coping-with-life-in-her-own-strength-and-wisdom thing (which is a sin thing, by the way). Perhaps it's the result of years spent honing over-achieving perfectionist survival skills. I have no idea at present. What I do know is that the weight of others' needs, obligations and expectations, both conscious and unconscious, press on my heart and mind until I am choking with it. It's difficult to see what I should be doing because I can't see my bread pan for all the other pans stacked on the counter. Half the reason I don't know to do is because I'm always doing for others and never taking time to discover and develop the kingdom dreams he has for me. Some would say that is hardly a fault in our self-centered society.
But is it really? If I'm living life and meetings others' needs in my own strength isn't it just a slice of over proofed bread? Jesus said He is the Bread of Life. He came to give us life. Daily. Nothing in this world can give us life apart from him, not even the good Christian things we're all supposed to do to keep the plates spinning and people happy and the world going. Know that if it's not giving life than it is absolutely taking life away.
I'm excited to dream his kingdom dreams and see all he has in store for me. But I won't be able to do that until I clear out some bread pans and start filling the spaces he has called me to.
What are your spaces to fill and what are his expectations for you? Do you see a lot of holes, are you feeling pressed down and overrun with obligations and "yes" moments?
Love and joy,