Last week, I decided to take some time to bake cookies. Baking is something that calms me and brings me back to waiting and watching for something new to be created; a practice that doesn’t come naturally to me. I have been baking my family’s chocolate chip cookies for years and can make that recipe without much thought. The oatmeal raisin cookie recipe I was trying I haven’t made as often, but was still pretty familiar to me.
I knew that I usually cut the sugar in half when I made the oatmeal raisin cookie recipe because my preference is for less sweetness, so I didn’t think twice about doing that again. When the cookies came out of the oven, they smelled delicious. They were perfectly baked and broke with the softness you want in a cookie filled with oats.
But they tasted awful.
I tried another cookie just to make sure it wasn’t just that one that had a salt deposit and discovered the whole batch tasted awful. I must have used a different recipe than I had before because when I cut the sugar, it threw the other dry ingredient portions off. I looked at the tray of beautiful-looking cookies trying to determine if there was any way to salvage the batch.
I was going to have to start all over. My mind started to calculate the costly eggs and butter that I had just wasted. Then my thoughts centered on how a cookie could look so good and yet taste so bad.
As I was looking at the tray, delaying the inevitable task of tossing them into the trash, I realized that the very same thing can be true about us. We can look beautiful, put together, and even as if we don’t have a care in the world when the inner ingredients that sustain our soul can be off balance. When this happens, the off-balance inner ingredients can’t sustain our souls. Eventually, we will fall apart.
It takes careful and intentional soul work to create something beautiful. That work always starts with slowing down and carefully balancing those ingredients to create something new.