Encouragement · Fun · wisdom

Cookie Fail; Humility Win

When we got the news that all our kids would be home for Christmas, we felt deep joy. For anyone who has grown and flown children, you know exactly what this feels like. It is no small feat to gather all your people, so the simple act of being under one roof at the same time is gift enough.

I tried to be chill, but my excitement had me behaving like a kid in a candy store. I wanted to grab at every moment and over-schedule the 72 hours we had. My instinct is toward perfectionism, so I wanted every moment to be just right. That is exactly why I had a lesson or two to learn on my own before 2022 ended.

I dialed back all the things I wanted to do and settled on a few non-negotiable activities and meals. As I was casually browsing the Christmas aisles at the craft store, I nearly lost my mind when I found Shrinky Dinks® Christmas ornaments. We would definitely make this activity a priority because who doesn’t love to watch those papers become strong and thick works of art?


The only other thing I wanted to do was decorate sugar cookies. In 2020, we did this, and it brought so much joy to us in a time where joy had waned. We skipped cookies in 2021 because we were not together for a long period of time and then the dreaded sickness hit, so it was time to dust off our decorating skills and enjoy the time around the table. Because we have lots of dietary issues among us, making rollout sugar cookies can be a challenge. This year we had to eliminate eggs, so our already gluten-free, dairy-free recipe saw additional modifications.

I joyfully mixed up the dough, refrigerated it overnight, and got to rolling and cutting them out the next day. I was determined to have the cookies ready for decorating when everyone arrived. My hope was high as I placed the cookie sheet in the oven, but when I went to check on the progress, I was horrified to see this.

Where were the candy canes, stockings, bells, and Christmas trees? I had followed the directions. This was the same recipe I used [successfully] in 2020, so what went wrong. I had two options–freak out or laugh. When you fight perfectionism, letting things go is difficult and accepting disaster is grueling. Contrary to my instinct, I decided to laugh. It was what it was. I took this picture and texted it to my daughter and daughter-in-law with a little comment about my cookie fail. Their responses shaped me.

My daughter laughed with me, but assured me it was okay. We did not need to decorate cookies. My daughter-in-law immediately said she had a great cookie recipe that she could attempt for us. She did not even hesitate, and she is a great baker, so this was another unexpected gift of Christmas. She set out to buy all the necessary ingredients and got to work whipping up a batch of cookies for each of our dietary needs. Our cookie decorating activity was back on, and I got to scratch that worry off my list.

I won big in the daughter department. They are humble and kind. They know how to show up. They remind me of the value of doing things imperfectly and laughing along the way. They enrich my life with their outlook and presence. They are the evidence of God’s mercy and love.

I got to pull the plug on perfectionism and delight in my daughters. We got to enjoy decorating and eating the cookies. I believe that God desires to use all our disasters for a greater purpose. When things don’t turn out as we plan, it is wise to look for the good among the gross. It might not be immediately obvious, but it is there. When we surrender to the Father, he works things together in ways we could not have imagined.

Our failures do not define us. If we stop at the failure, we miss the gift. I know this sounds minor, but I think it also works in the grander disappointments in life. If I had hidden the great cookie fail, I would have missed the opportunity to be loved by my daughters. I don’t want to miss that, friends. We need to let others into the story. God uses those around us to love us through the valleys we will inevitably walk through in this life.

Humility always wins. It might not feel like it in the moment, but I assure you that if you keep watching, you will see the win. It is okay that things don’t turn out perfectly. Use that opportunity to laugh and look for the gift and the gift-giver in the imperfect moments.

Even in our failures, let’s be the kind of people who let humility have the final word.

This is my desire for myself and my hope for you!

Here’s to salvaged cookie decorating and the many other wins in life.


BTW–In case you missed it, I am doing a trial run with a solo podcast project. Here is a link to the latest episode. Another one will hit within the week, so be sure to bookmark this page.

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