Make the Brownies

I was a newlywed, married to the youth pastor when an older woman in our church made this comment…

You make brownies for every event!

Up until that moment, I felt pretty good about my contributions to our church events. I had never had a desire to bake during my growing up years, so my experience was minimal when I married my husband. But I had discovered that I could actually make a pretty spectacular pan of brownies and they were always gone quickly when I took them anywhere.

The truth was that while they were my go-to item, I made other things too, so this off-the-cuff comment by a woman I respected cut me down. I felt like I had been judged and found wanting. I stopped making brownies for awhile. A long while!

It’s amazing how words and opinions can wound deeply. I know for a fact that this woman never meant to hurt me. In her mind, she was simply making an observation, but her words hurt me nonetheless.

I made brownies for a Valentine’s Day party that we hosted yesterday and her words came back to me. This time, the memory made me laugh, because I have been married for over twenty years now and my experience in baking AND in church events is extensive. I’m no longer wounded by her words and if an occasion calls for brownies (which this one most certainly did!), then I will make the brownies.

But I’ve stopped “making brownies” in other areas of my life.

I’ve stopped writing frequently in this space, because I hear the voices of critics and they are loud at times. And so, I write, but I don’t post.

I haven’t finished editing the book I wrote two years ago, because there is a fear that it is not good enough. No one can laugh at me if the book is never read, right?

I’ve pulled back a bit in friendships, because I keep getting hurt and my heart feels like it can’t take anymore.

But as I consider these areas I am stuck in or have pulled back from, I realize that I am allowing words and actions of others to dictate my words and actions. How foolish is that? There are a lot of people out there who prefer brownies. The simplistic blend of words that come from my fingertips, the life experiences that God keeps pressing me to share and the depth and breadth of friendships I pursue are unique to me. While there are many bloggers and authors and friends out there, isn’t it possible that some might actually prefer me?

The difficulty in caring so deeply for others is that I open myself up to be hurt by words. But I’ve come a long way since I first posted in this blog (nearly a decade!). My book could be written by a better writer, but no one can write it quite like me. The hurts in friendship will continue to weigh heavy, but the joy of friendships without pretense is worth it!

It’s been long enough.

Make the brownies!



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