Several year’s ago, I took and participated in Lay Speaking classes at my church. (Remind me tell you about my 90-year-old friend Frank, who took some of the courses with me.) I thought I’d {re}share this liturgy with you today.

Personal Liturgy

(The background)

Last Saturday, I got up earlier than usual to make my grandmother’s two-layer carrot cake to take to our Sunday School class St. Valentine’s Day party. I dug out the food processor, gathered all the ingredients, set the confection oven for the required 350 degrees, and started the process.

I had just scrubbed the house in some kind of strange nesting ritual — and it sparkled. The heavy snow from the week had wreaked havoc on a tree and our friend “S” came to help my husband take the biggest branches off the roof of our house.

They’re going to be cold and hungry when they come in, I thought. I better make them something warm to eat. I had a single steak thawing in the refrigerator, an onion, a can of tomatoes, and some frozen veggies, and so I quickly put together a stew.

I stirred the cake ingredients together, popping it in the oven, and set the steak soup to simmer in the pan. Everyone will like me. They’ll think I am talented and special.
Soon, Keck, “S” and I were eating the warm soup, and I basked in their praise of a job well done. Keck even said, “I’ll let you cook again.” Our secret code for a great meal that says, “Good job, honey. I love you.”  

After I tested the cake and took it out of the oven, I left it to cool while I ran some errands. On my brief shopping spree, I scored a new pair of shoes and a beautiful new sweater to wear to the party.

I dashed home to whip up a killer cream cheese frosting, and carefully placed the cake on a Fenton glass stand. With great care, I slathered on the icing. When I was done, I stood back and admired my handiwork. It was beautiful. I rushed to get ready and put on my new clothes.

Everyone would love me. Me. They’d think I was Superwoman. They would say how lucky Keck is to have me as his wife. They’d think I was attractive. They would like me.  

The cake was good. The icing fantastic. People raved. And the evening went pretty much the way my vivid approval-seeking brain thought it would, until…

I went to gather the cake at the end of the party, only to discover that it wasn’t quite done in the middle. Mortification set in like a cold stone in the middle of my stomach. What happened? Everything was perfect. Now it’s all ruined. Why couldn’t I ever do anything right?

My friend “L” shared a story with me this weekend about a time when she learned a lesson in humility. She said that in that moment an echo in her mind reminded her and asked her, “Why would you try to be anything other than who I made you to be?”

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3 (NIV, Biblegateway.com

I am not less than or greater than what God created me to be. When I continuously keep my view on the Cross, I am where God wants me to be.

As I’ve shared this story with my friends, they laugh together with me. I don’t have to make perfect cakes for them to love me. And, for this I am thankful.

My Personal Liturgy

Opening Scripture:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3 (NIV, Biblegateway.com)

Song: “Free to Be Me,” Francesca Battistelli 

Kris: I confess I do not believe that I am who God says I am. 

Friend: Kris, listen to this translation in The Message: “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48

Kris: I have a God-created identity?

Friend: Yes! God created you: Reading Psalm 139:13-18:

For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
       How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
       they would outnumber the grains of sand.
       When I awake,
       I am still with you.

Kris: So is it OK to say I am good at something?

Friend: Hear these words from Beth Moore’s book, Believing God, I am  changing so you can hear them as words just for you: “Believing you are who God says you are necessitates choosing what God says over what you feel more than any other faith challenge you will face.”

Ephesians 1:3-8: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ; for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, accourding to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Yes, it’s OK to be good at something and to embrace it as long as you place  yourself in the light of the cross and that you understand that all good things come from the LORD who died for you. 

Kris: Then, please – share this cake with me. Although I am not perfect, I can make my grandmother’s carrot cake. Break it with me, and let us celebrate our talents and our inabilities together. Knowing that 

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” Matthew 5:5 (The Message)