Has anything like this ever happened to you?
We invited our friends over for New Year’s Eve dinner, and I decided to bake the dessert a day ahead of time. I have this fancy-looking Bundt pan that I use for cake. But I don’t make cakes very often, so I always forget this particular Bundt pan always needs to be both greased and floured.
You know what I mean when I say “greased and floured,” right? To keep the cake from sticking to the pan while it bakes, the person prepping the pan has to slather the inside of the pan with butter and then dust that same pan with flour. This time-honored tradition promises to reward the baker with a finished confection that slides right out of the inverted pan at the end of the baking session.
I don’t know why, but I always forget the flour.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, this particular dinner party proved no exception. In fact (and this is just embarrassing), I actually said to myself, “You should probably put some flour in that cake pan,” and then I didn’t do it. I know, right? I am without excuse.
I was astounded to discover the cake, at the end of its baking session, was firmly cemented to the pan.
Back in the ’80s, a television commercial advertised the amazing adhesive powers of a product called Krazy Glue®. The commercial showed a man suspended from a construction beam by a hardhat that had been affixed to the beam with Krazy Glue®. That’s how firmly my cake was stuck to the pan. I tried prying it loose, shaking it loose, and beating it loose. It did not budge. So, I inverted the cake over a plate and left it on the kitchen counter overnight to let gravity do its work.
You guessed it.
In the morning, the cake had officially become one with the pan. It had not released its grip. And so, I thought to myself, “You’ll have to make another cake.”
I headed to the car to buy new ingredients for this new cake. I drove to the grocery store where I wandered the aisles for a bit, trying to convince myself to restock my pantry and not forget to flour the pan this time. But, something in me wouldn’t let me give myself a cake mulligan. Deep on the inside of me, I think I knew I was going to be serving that cemented cake to my friends and family on New Year’s Eve.
And that’s exactly what I did.
When we’d cleared the table of the dinner plates, and refilled the glasses with each person’s beverage of choice, I went to the kitchen to retrieve the cake in its partnered pan.
I delivered the cake and pan to the center of the dining room table and served the cake straight from the pan. Lightening did not strike me. The guests did not run out of the house in horror. The hospitality gurus did not revoke my entertaining rights. In fact, the cake was a hit! My guests asked for the recipe. People had seconds. One friend was even spied eating cake crumbs off the tablecloth.
The honest truth is I probably could have set that cake in the center of the table, handed everyone a fork and said, “Dig in!” and no one would have batted an eye.
Most of the time, when I find myself sweating the small stuff, it’s because I’ve set up some sort of ridiculous (and false) expectation for myself. I get all worked up about presenting the perfect cake to my friends and family and, all along, my friends and family are simply happy to spend time with each other and with me. As far as they’re concerned, cake is a bonus. “Cake?” they say. “You made cake?!” They don’t care if the cake is stuck to the pan. If the roles were reversed, I can assure you that I wouldn’t care if the cake was stuck to the pan.
Now, while this cake story is true, you’ll probably agree with me that the cake serves as a metaphor for so many other things in life, doesn’t it? That cake represents:
- the way we imagine things will be as compared to the way events actually unfold
- the (many) times we open our mouth and insert our foot (or feet)
- the awkward thing we did in front of that audience
- the time someone fell asleep (and snored!) in the front row during our talk
- the book that didn’t sell
- the job we didn’t get
- the moment we realize the back of our dress has been tucked into our leggings all morning
- and more!
You can insert your own experience here, but the common thread among all of these moments we wish we could change or take back is that they don’t define us. Not one single bit. And knowing that is the key to learning how not to sweat it in this life we’re living. If you and I are valued simply for the cake we bring to the table, then we’ll wear ourselves out, striving for a little bit of recognition from whomever we’ve deemed the recognition gods. But when we recognize our worth is really determined by the God who made us, our focus shifts from performing for those imaginary gods to simply being loved by God.
“You Made Cake!!!”
No one is perfect, and each of us will have our fair share of cakes cemented to the pan. In all of this, however, the most spectacular thing of all is understanding, even when you bake a cake and it fuses itself to the pan, it’s not just that your friends and family don’t think twice about it. The most spectacular thing is knowing the Creator of Everything looks at that cake stuck in the pan, then wraps you in an embrace and shouts with delight, “You made cake!!!”
THIS is how much you are loved by God, just because you are here. And knowing THAT is the first step to learning not to sweat it and instead, grab a fork, pull up to the table, and dig in!Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I remember that Krazy Glue commercial…lol! And, yes, I have done my share of cementing food to it’s baking container. Actually, I think that when we aren’t always in Martha Stewart mode, our friends are relieved. When they see us making mistakes and laughing – it gives them permission and freedom to be human too. So, I view my mess ups kind of like an invitation of sorts…an invitation to be a flawed person but still loved by God. That’s the key – as you said – to know that God isn’t disappointed, He says, “Great! You made cake!” When I know that I have the un bending un-yielding love of God it makes life a lot easier. I do regret, though, when I inadvertently say things that hurt people. That, I will stew on. Again, God is there with His grace reminding me that all have sinned and fallen short…but His love remains! Love this post and thanks for the smile this am 🙂
I always enjoy your comments. They are seasoned with salt and light. I appreciate your transparency, and look forward to seeing how you relate to the messages. Bless you sweet lady.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I remember a speaker once said that the best gift we can give each other is our vulnerability…I’ve tried to take her advice to heart 🙂
Blessings back to you,
I always love to read your responses, Bev. Thanks so much!
Wonderful post….made me smile, especially the bit about the leggings and the dress… I once spent a whole afternoon on a boat trip with friends with my dress tucked into my “unmentionables”…..while it was embarrassing for me it gave everyone something to smile about afterwards and I am sure God was smiling too because I am so loved by Him…..
Oh my gosh! That is priceless! Thanks so much for not keeping that story to yourself!
Good reminder–it made me star the day with a laugh!
Ha–I meant “start”.
Nothing wrong with starring a day, right? 😉
Michele Morin says
Deidra, you’ve captured my word for 2017 so beautifully with these words of grace. It’s “standing” from The Message’s version of Romans 5:1,2: “We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
So often I’m busy laboring for that perfect, slide-out-of-the-pan cake when the one that’s already sitting on my table is just fine. And because of God’s grace and glory, I can be just fine, too.
Oh, wow, Michele. That is beautiful.
Maria Mullins says
Thank you for this reminder! So needed this morning! Blessings!
That was so powerful!! What a great reminder. Thank you! Start this year with the right perspective of who I am and who I am looking to for my acceptance. Needed that.
Your blogs address among my favorites! Yet again, you’ve spoken right to me. This is something I’ve been working through recently! Thank you!!
I LOVE this analogy…I LOVE your words… thank you!! I appreciate this timely post! I, too struggle with “perfection”/people pleasing issues. It’s a work in process & this was a great reminder!
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
Deidra, this is just the message I needed today as I was worrying about how and to whom I should be marketing my book. I sooo remember that commercial! I am inspired from your post!
That commercial cracks me up!
All the best to you as you work on promoting your book. Be you. Do what feels right and best to you, and it will be absolutely wonderful!
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
Thank you so much. You and your family are in my prayers.
Thank you. That is encouragement I needed to face this day (another job-hunting one) and it takes forever these days it seems. I need to be reminded I’m not worthless. xo
Oh. Job hunting. That’s a job in itself.
You absolutely are not worthless. You make God SO happy!
Jeanne Takenaka says
Deidra, can I just admit that I might have laughed out loud at the comment about the person eating crumbs off the table? Yeah, that would probably be me. 🙂
I so appreciate this post. As one who strove for most of her life to live up to others’ expectations, all in the vain hope of being accepted, I’ve finally begun to grow beyond the need for others’ acceptance. You shared it so well. God already loves us completely. We don’t have to do things just right to earn His love, or to make Him love us more. We already have our worth in His eyes. What an amazing thought.
And thank you so much for the reminder that those mulligans truly don’t define us. They may help us become more like Jesus, though, if we work through them with the right perspective, and perhaps a good dose of laughter.
“I’ve finally begun to grow beyond the need for others’ acceptance.” That’s a powerful statement, right there.
Thank you! It’s OK to make a boo boo sometimes, it’s not the end of the world!
Kelli McKnight says
YES! THIS! Thanks Deidra for reminding for sharing such a perfect example of the beauty of imperfection!
Cheri Johnson says
“…the Creator of Everything … wraps you in an embrace and shouts with delight, ‘You made cake!!!'”
Rebecca L Jones says
I’m not much of a cake baker either. Once, I used up 5 lbs. of flour trying to make biscuits. Now I bu y the bags, and I know why they have bakeries in the store. Using oil when my cooking spray ran out was also bad my cornbread stuck. But real friends won’t care, even if your cake is stuck, they’ll stick with you.
So true, Rebecca!
I probably wouldn’t have made another cake either. I probably would have bought one, because my guess is I’d be too embarrassed (caught up in the small stuff) to actually serve what is a perfectly good cake. Lol…Which is way it blesses us all to share our stories, as they serve as great reminders that these are small things and don’t have even a small impact on how our Father in heaven sees us. Thanks for sharing.
Melissa Henderson says
Love this message! 🙂
Hi, Melissa!!! 🙂
Melissa Henderson says
Hello Deidra! 🙂 How are you?
Thank you Deidra for your delightful cake story with a big message! Sweating the small stuff seems to be my “speciality”and generally stops me from stepping out…Last year, I did the unimaginable and launched my project (I sweated the small stuff and kept it under wraps for years). I’ve not regretted but certainly thought of returning the project to hibernation mode many a times. Deidra, thank you for reminding me God has purposes for all the things that we experience…thanks for sharing yours!
the only cake I make is the banana bread loaf( I call it cake) from the cake mix. I forgot to flour my pan before adding my mix, and was quite surprised to see the loaf sticking to my pan. Reading your post all of a sudden made me wonder if you knew about my cake situation and wanted to whisper sweet encouragement from above.
Beth Williams says
My motto is Martha Stewart doesn’t live here. If you want perfection look elsewhere. I make mistakes & tend to sweat the outcome. All I need to do is realize that no one is perfect and God loves us all just as we are! Let my guard down & be myself-fun, loving woman who is crazy about God!!! Thank you for the permission to be ourselves and not worry about being “perfect”!
Have a great 2017! Congratulations on the Craving Connection book!!
Thank you so much for these words…I can relate to the cake sticking in the pan (along with other baked goods …they still get eaten, as I found out when one of my friends wanted to try my so-called baking fail and I’d already binned it).
Definitely need to not sweat the small stuff and to remember to give myself grace…it’s ok to stuff up at times. I’m thankful I have friends who will give me a reality check and remind me that it’s ok to laugh, as I’m sure God does too at times.
Holly @ beejoyful says
I love it! That was me, but I would have never dared serve it. Wish I could be like that, but I get too anxious over what others think. I will say though, He and I are working on me.
Julie Garmon says
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Sounds like you’ve been set free from the perfectionism trap–one that’s snagged me my whole life.
Wo-hooo! Such freedom!!!! And I bet your friends actually enjoyed the cake even more straight from the pan b/c the best hostesses enjoy their own parties. They don’t stress.
“When I find myself sweating the small stuff, it’s because I’ve set up some sort of ridiculous (and false) expectation for myself.”
So true. So true. I can so relate to this cake story and wanting things to be perfect and horrified when things weren’t, especially in my younger days. But now after so many hypothetical cakes stuck to a pan in my daily life, I have come to realize that no, these things don’t define me. But they make wonderful and funny stories once we can learn to laugh at ourselves. Now I entertain my friends with these stories and people love them because they realize they can laugh at their imperfections and mistakes too. Life is to fun to take to seriously.