Photo credit to Once Upon A Chef (Jenn Segal) – Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

Matt 7:7-12

The last couple weeks have been a challenge to say the least. There have been multiple opportunities for offense, misunderstanding, outrage and hurt feelings.  I must admit, I made myself available to accommodate these things.  It was wasted space and energy. Not fruitful at all.

I kept trying to write.  It proved to be a nearly impossible task because my mind was full of too many conflicting ideas and attitudes. I would attempt to write, even just to know what I was feeling and thinking.  Yet I would find myself frustrated with the process and quit.  I would give up before I allowed myself to fully commit to any one train of thought.  It often did not end well.  I was left feeling defeated and scattered. This includes my attempt at the last post via mobile phone…which ended in suckage because I fat fingered the wrong button and posted an unfinished post. Uuuuggggghhhhhh!   To which I internally screamed:  I. Give. Up. I’m over it.  All of it.

Don’t quit.

Those were the words I heard, have been hearing for three solid weeks.   

Don’t give up.

I was ready to give up on everything. I mean, what more can you do when you feel like a failure?  For starters, you can still yourself, and listen.  So, I did.  I got still and quiet. Shut out the constant chatter of the world, including the churchy, mommy, wifey, friend voices.  The moment I decided to do this, it became clear I needed to be honest (that is transparent without expecting anyone to ‘fix’ anything for me, just to listen) with my spouse about my feelings, to allow my friends to see what I had been hiding, to allow myself to be vulnerable. Once I did this, weights began to lift.  This only happened in the last 24 hours, by the way.  This morning, as I wiped my face with a toner drenched cotton ball, the Lord whispered one word to me:  connectivity.

I had been disconnected, operating on obedience and a sense of responsibility that so often accompanies ascribed roles and duties.  Yes, you can operate in this manner for a moment, BUT, it is not meant to sustain you.   I had been seeking answers, knocking on doors, asking questions, but still not getting the desired results.

Today, I was reminded of one small detail.  There is a decided order to how the world works (be it the kingdom of God, of darkness, or of this earthy realm we habitate).  If you move out of order, you will not receive the desired results.  What I long for most, more than anything else is connectivity. Not just bonding, but actual connectivity in the events and habits in which I participate in relation to the people and events I’m invested in.  Without this connectivity, I have trouble maintaining any positive position in any area of my life.  I have to know there is a good plan and it is for a good and expected end (Jeremiah 29:11 and Jeremiah 33:3).  I have to know the God of the universe cares about me in an intimate way, and not on some generic of level.  Sounds dumb, huh? Sometimes, we allow wrong thinking to navigate for us, and it derails us.  But I digress.

Then God said:  ‘Ask, Seek, Knock.  There is a decided order to things.  You are out of order.’

Hmmm.  I’m out of order?  M’kay.  HOW?

The order is ask, seek, knock (ASK).  You are not following that order.

And just like that, I was able to see what I couldn’t before.  When one asks for a something, they WAIT for an answer.  When one seeks something, they are diligently looking for it.  They are actively engaged and in excited anticipation – they are on the lookout, eyes wide open, preparing for what they will receive.  When you knock on a door, don’t you expect an answer? You prepare yourself to be greeted, regardless of whether the answer is a good or negative one – there is preparation on your part.  The common denominator in this equation of all three positions is full engagement of the receiver.  You and I, the receivers, are in the exact same position to receive and to be gracious, just like the one who gives.  You have to yield yourself to the process, and the key is how much you rely on the one who told you to follow the process.

All processes are not the same, but the premise is:  follow steps in a precise order, and viola!  Results. Just as with any good recipe or algorithm, things go awry when you start messing with the steps.  Recently, I had a terrific cake turn out dry and crumbly like cornbread for one very small reason:  I did not cream the butter and sugar for eight minutes like the directions said.  Why did this make a difference?  Because the air was used as the leavening agent, and since the recipe had no leavening in it, I had to rely on the air to do the ‘lift’.  I didn’t know it would matter that much.  I was tempted to blame the recipe for such a dry cake.  However, I couldn’t do so when the reviewer comments differed.  The most positive reviews came from those who followed the directions.  The most negative reviews came from those who did not.  They blamed everything from not having baking soda to a lack of milk in the recipe when the reason for the cake fail was simple…they didn’t follow the directions.  Simple.

How are we any different?  We’re not.  If you’re gonna bake the cake, follow the directions in the order they are given to get the best results.


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