How do you determine your why?
A question that has plagued me in my pursuit of numerous projects. The proverbial “they” say that by finding your “why” will give any project the endurance and perseverance to see the light of day.
So why is it so hard for me to determine my “why?”
Every time I stop to think about it I find myself going down rabbit trails leading to confusion as I get so tangled in the weeds that I forget why I started in the first place. It’s frustrating. While I don’t want to foolishly make assumptions, I can’t help but think that I am not alone in this train of thought.
So today dear friend, I want to share with you my why for creating this space in the wilderness landscape of the internet.
I started writing this blog in 2009. Food was an ever-evolving passion for me and food blogs were just becoming a “thing.” I spent countless hours reading the quirky thoughts and unique flavors of Joy The Baker. Deb Perelman of the Smitten Kitchen taught me that I could create BIG FLAVOR with less fuss. Shutterbean gave me a different perspective on life through her art and tasty kitchen creations. These ladies were the ones that ignited the spark of my food blogging dreams, but something was missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Life carried on as it tends to do and I fought to write, but I could never seem to get it going because I didn’t have a “why” to push me forward and sustain my process. In 2013 my husband and I welcomed our first-born son into the world and I started to lose steam keeping up with the website. The posting became less and less due to the weight of new (and good) responsibility. The season of writing felt like it was on pause, yet God still kept a spark alive in my heart. A spark of discomfort in complacency, which I feel is an all too easy state to slip into when your life feels on hold while taking care of helpless little babes solely dependent on your undivided attention.
I felt the spark as my tired body sprawled out on the couch to soak in some daytime tv while my baby took his afternoon nap. I felt it every time I watched friends post new creative adventures on social media. I admit it was a little tainted with jealousy, but also tinged with a sadness that triggered the tension of guilt between motherhood and the desire to do more. The tension was good- while being a mother is holy and good work I realized that God was preparing me to participate in His mission in other ways. I needed to be patient in His timing, all the while looking and listening to where He was leading me.
I noticed in this season of waiting the moments where I came alive. It seemed to be around 6pm each night when my husband would arrive home and I would tag out of the parenthood arena for a brief period so I could make dinner. Every night this would become a spiritual practice for me as I set the scene to create.
Mood music my soul needed to hear, a glass of wine and a delicious recipe for us to enjoy was all it took to ground me in the present moment and remind me of who God created and gift me to become. Those 45 minutes were the magic I looked forward to each day. The spark was ignited into a fire of passion for cooking, and it never went away.
I am currently in my seventh year of parenthood and a lot has changed. I am physically different, mentally and emotionally stronger and I feel like I have more a grasp on what it means to be spiritually engaged in my relationship with Jesus. Through the voices of trusted friends, encouragement from my mentors and newly discovered love of reading I started to reconsider the idea of writing. The spark of food writing never went away, but I still felt like the puzzle wasn’t complete. Something was missing.
So as the year of our Lord 2020 arrived, I knew that it would be a different year. A year of preparation. We were planning to bring our 3rd baby into the world and I was weary with the stress of beginning again.
I was worried that this sacrifice would set me back further from my dreams. But God kept whispering to me “ALIGN” and paired it with these words from the Bible.
Isaiah 43:19 “Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
God was paving a new path, I needed to trust His guidance. He reassured me that this would be a season where rest was an act of obedience, listening would be a daily discipline, refinement of heart and mind would continue to align and attach myself to the mind of Jesus leading to a new idea that I started to wrestle with:
ME: Should I start a YOUTUBE channel? What would I have to offer?
GOD: What about cooking and fearless living?
ME: What about it? Does that even work together?
GOD: Why not?
ME: Well, I haven’t really seen anything like that.
GOD: So why can’t you be the one to create that?
ME: I’m afraid.
GOD: Fear not.
This was a conversation I would have almost on a daily basis through months of quarantine and playing teacher for my young kids and basically surviving the winter/spring months in the face of a scary pandemic. There was a lot of fear and it felt like there wasn’t room for new ideas.
Despite my fear, He kept planting seeds. That old spark I thought was long blown out reignited with a fierceness I couldn’t ignore. I watched and listened to tragedy after tragedy happening in the world. The heaviness of the brokenness was difficult to process.
So I started to write.
A baby step of faith, is still obedience.
So I wrote.
I practiced by sharing pieces of my heart with my friends and family on social media, and the desire grew. I decided to move forward in active obedience. Social posts turned into video scripts. Video scripts turned into video shoots. Video shoots turned into relearning video editing. Which lead to my first edited video for Janie-Jean Makes.
But I felt like something was missing. I love sharing my passion for cooking and am excited to share this with the world, but I wanted to share something more. I am equally as passionate about encouraging others to live fearlessly. Oh how I get triggered when I witness the effects of fear on my fellow peers.
Fear robs us of the abundant life God prepares for us.
I have been sharing this idea with my coach regularly, and I just couldn’t see how I could make these two seemingly different topics merge together cohesively.
Was I overcomplicating things? (Yes, yes I was.)
I was in the weeds so deep that I needed the grace of a dear friend and the push of the Holy Spirit to unveil my eyes to this truth:
“The church needs voices, to rebuild and to proclaim God’s truth to a broken world that is listening. Fearless living needs to be embodied by me through the empowerment of Holy Spirit. Cooking is the catalyst.”
Just like that, it all became crystal clear. My “why” for this endeavor is to encourage you to fearlessly live your life the way God intended.
If you’re not into that message, and are just here for the recipes and cooking tips, please know you are welcome into this space and you are loved. If you are interested in going deeper into this conversation of fearless living I will post a blog to accompany each video I put out into the world. Simply click the link and you can read my thoughts on fearless living to which I invite you to engage in constructive discussion in the comments section.
I am not a guru when it comes to fearless living by any means, but I have a lot of stories, thoughts and opinions about it and want to know what you think as well. Fears have been glaringly apparent in this season. We’ve had to face a lot of fears recently. It’s overwhelming and I think we forget that we are not alone in this struggle. And we weren’t meant to face this alone. Our friend Jesus is right beside us and I think He uses the community of fellow believers and seekers to remind us that in Him we have true strength to carry on down the long, narrow path He has paved for us.
So that’s my invitation to you as we learn together how to fearlessly live inside and outside the kitchen. Let’s discover the abundant life Jesus promises us when we seek Him and His Kingdom first through acts of obedience as we grow in God’s grace.
Won’t you join me in the journey?