October 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
There’s an episode of Friends where Monica makes Christmas candy for her neighbors, and Chandler, in a moment of brilliance, questions her as to why she became a chef. “So people would like you”? he asks. Zing. She counters him right back, because, as we all know, Chandler’s jokes and one-liners serve a deeper purpose for him as well.
I’ve baked several good things lately, and I’ll admit to more than a passing familiarity with this fictional scene. I love to bake and enjoy what I’ve made, and sharing my experiments adds even more fulfillment to the mix. I like it when I’m proud of something I’ve made, and when others are enthusiastic as well.
But, in knowing myself more and more, sometimes my desire for people to like my scones/caramels/cookies turns into a need for their affirmation of me. It is a struggle, I confess, this wanting people to like me (and, moreover, to show it), and it’s been thrown into sharp relief as of late in specific relationships in my life. My desire for friendship and connection is genuine and good, but all too easily becomes what I’ve heard described as an “overdesire,” a self-centered interest. That’s a hard thing to admit, even more disappointing to realize that I’ve been struggling with versions of this same selfishness for most of my life. Yet, I am thankful for how God is using this in me. He is gentle in reminding me that I am accepted by him so that I can accept myself and I can accept others without burdening them to respond to me in a certain way.
I’ve been so wonderfully affirmed and loved by my parents, and that is one of the most defining characteristics of my relationship with them. And in turn, thankfully, their love reminds me of God’s love and encourages me to share that with others who have much the same need. Differently received or expressed than me, of course, just as tastes differ. As I made the pumpkin cookies below yesterday, I was still ruminating on all this, but maybe just slightly more so, I was happy to be in the kitchen, making something to share with people I am growing in friendship with. For once, I let the cookies be cookies and me be okay with me.