Lessons from a circuit breaker chef
During the circuit breaker, I decided to cook all my meals to save money. Big disclaimer: Prior to this, I had never seriously dabbled in the culinary arts before, apart from the occasional burnt toast.
As part of my endeavour, I found myself shopping for groceries in aisles I never knew existed, memorising expiry dates of the things I’d bought, learning the shelf lives of fresh foods and washing loads of dishes.
I never knew how much effort it actually took to make one meal. It made dining out seem all the more appealing and thankfully, with the beginning of Phase 2, we’re able to enjoy it once again.
But with the onset of post circuit breaker life, I’m hoping I won’t forget the lessons cooking has taught me – and by “lessons” I don’t mean my new cooking skills, but how cooking has helped me realise the importance of process.
LIFE LESSONS FROM THE KITCHEN
Cooking is, if nothing else, a process. Everything you do during the process of cooking influences how your dish will turn out.
Similarly, we go through various processes in life, like the process of looking for a job, the process of reconciling with a friend or the process of healing from our hurts, and going through these processes is important yet often difficult and tiring.
Cooking reminded me of some encouraging truths about how God moves in the midst of our process. I’ve listed down three of which I hope would remind you to trust God and what He’s bringing you through because God is cooking something amazing in your life.
1. Different ingredients have specific cooking times
When I first started cooking, I was surprised at how long it took for an egg to fry. In TV shows, the eggs turn white almost immediately but in reality, a fried egg can take up to 5 minutes before it’s crispy and well cooked.
It may not sound like a lot, but when you’re standing there watching an egg fry for 5 minutes, it can feel like an eternity.
Similarly, we hold onto our expectations of how quickly our processes should progress when in reality, timing is in God’s hands. If He moves slower than what we expect, then we get impatient and stubbornly insist on things to happen according to our timing.
But there is a uniquely right timing for everything.
For example, fried eggs may take 5 minutes to cook, but scrambled eggs takes even longer despite both dishes being eggs. And what happens when you try to flip an over-easy egg before it’s ready? It breaks apart, the yolk spills out and there goes the runny effect you wanted!
Likewise, if we impatiently move faster or stubbornly move slower than God’s plans, the consequences may not be pretty.
One example in the Bible can be found in 1 Samuel 13. Here, we see King Saul’s army hard-pressed by their enemies and were left to hide in the wilderness. The prophet Samuel had set a time to meet Saul but in his impatience, Saul took matters in his own hands and ended up presenting an unlawful sacrifice to God.
When Samuel arrives and sees what Saul had done, he tells him that due to his impatience and disobedience, his kingdom will not endure. If he had been patient and played by the rules, God would have established Saul’s kingdom over Israel for all time.
Let us persevere in trusting God’s timing so that we will see victory. He knows best.
2. Recipes were made to be followed in sequence
After I started cooking more complex dishes, I realised how important it is to closely follow the given sequence of a recipe. For example, when cooking a scrambled-egg-and-spam tortilla wrap, it’s best to cook the spam first, followed by the scrambled egg, then the tortilla wrap last.
The first time I attempted this, I cooked everything in the reverse order. The egg residue on the pan led to the spam being unevenly cooked and I also wasted cooking oil because I had to replace the residue-filled oil in an attempt to prevent that problem.
When we follow the right sequence of recipes, trusting they’ve been laid out that way due to cooking times and reasons of efficiency, we save time, resources and most importantly – having to eat a bad meal.
Similarly, in the other processes in life, it’s helpful to remember that certain things may need to happen first before we can move ahead to the next thing.
In Luke 22:31-34, Peter (also known as Simon) tells Jesus that he’s ready to go with Him to prison and to death. But Jesus tells him that before that can happen, he would deny knowing Jesus three times.
Another way to see this is that before Peter could become a person who would go to prison and die for Jesus, he needed to go through the trial and disappointment of denying Jesus first.
We know that Jesus expected Peter to deny him, but this step was one that prepared him for his ministry in the future because Jesus also tells Peter in verse 31: “I have prayed for you, Simon (Peter), that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Obstacles and trying seasons in our lives often serve as preparation for what’s coming next. So in the face of an obstacle, we can trust that it is part of God’s process. We can take that first step knowing He is preparing us for something greater.
3. Burnt or half-cooked food can be salvaged
Mistakes are inevitable as a beginner chef, but I discovered there’s so much grace in cooking. When I make mistakes, there’s often a way to somehow cover it up and make it more edible. Like how I was able to salvage my burnt spam by frying it in a mixture of soy sauce and sugar to caramelise it.
Likewise, God grants us so much grace in the process that when we make a mistake, God will provide a way out. Even when we stumble along the journey, God can redeem us so long as we turn to Him for help and forgiveness.
We can trust in God’s character that He will save us when we seek Him (Isaiah 55:6-7) and in His promise that He will forgive us when we confess and repent of our sins (1 John 1:9).
Whether it’s the process of waiting on a relationship or the process of discovering your calling, let us never take our eyes off Jesus.
Rather than insisting on getting the end product as quickly as possible, remember that God will bring you to the finishing line at His perfect timing, in the right sequence and covered by His grace. He makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
In the meanwhile, we can take delight in the process just as much as we rejoice in the product.
THINK + TALK:
- Is God bringing you through a unique process right now?
- Do you find it difficult to trust God during these processes?
- What are some steps you can take to place greater trust in God today?