When It Doesn’t Feel Like a Wonderful Life

English: Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna...

Is there such a thing as Holiday Baking Anxiety Disorder? Because if so, I definitely have it.

I made some pie crust on Wednesday night, and it came out tough and brittle, and I didn’t have time to redo it, and I kind of lost my mind. This comes on the heels of me flipping out over the failed caramel apples for Halloween.

And now I’m remembering many other failed batches of baked goods that I let ruin holidays. Cookies destined for care packages that melted all over the pan. A lemon cake for my little brother’s birthday that looked like it got sat on. No-bakes for a visit to a friend that crumbled in my carry-on bag.

In retrospect, of course, all these things seem totally silly. Baked goods are a way I like to show love, but when they flop, it doesn’t mean my love is worthless or unwanted. But ridiculous as it seems, in the moment, that’s how I feel.

It’s definitely a pattern with me. I hate showing external failure, no matter how small it really is in the scheme of things. And when I’m backed into a corner and can’t help but show it, I feel like my life is meaningless.

In those moments, I always wish for the angel to show up like in It’s a Wonderful Life. I want proof from God that my life does have meaning, that people are better off because I was here, that I have worth even when I feel like I look worthless to the world.

Well, so far God hasn’t sent an angel.

What’s up with that, God? How come only Jimmy Stewart gets one? How am I supposed to know you love me even when my feelings tell me otherwise?

Oh… I’m supposed to just believe it? You mean, have faith? Take seriously all those promises in the Bible about how God will never leave me or forsake me and loves me enough to have died for me? Keep perspective on the things that really matter, remembering that success without love is nothing and humility in failure will always be met with grace?

But that’s so much harder than in the movies.

In all seriousness, I need to stop waiting around for the angel. I can’t truly live if I’m addicted to praise and afraid of messing up. I may never be able to see the true worth of my life while I’m alive – and that’s okay. In fact, it’s even kind of normal.

Paul talks about this in Hebrews. He gives us this long list of Bible folks who did outrageous things because of their faith: Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Rahab, Moses. Did any of these people get proof of the promises God made them while they were alive?

No! As Paul says, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised…” Their faith itself was the goal, the ability to believe things would turn out okay even when all signs pointed to worthlessness and failure.

We all need to have “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” That’s what helps us keep going when things feel too overwhelming. We need to believe there is hope, hope that is more real than our feelings of despair.

So I’ll try to see my Holiday Baking Anxiety Disorder as an opportunity to strengthen my faith and my patience. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Christmas cookie season is just around the corner…

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