My plans for this post were full of the highest expectations. I spent a lot of time sifting through never-ending Pinterest recipes for homemade sugar cookies, studied for days on the scripture I wanted to share, and thought of a pretty brilliant (if I do say so myself) post theme to tie together said scripture and cookies. In my mind, I was moving up from my novice standing in the blogger world. But like most things in life, this post is pretty much a complete fail of those so high expectations.
Y’all should know by now that we love cookies. And the bible. So when it hit me on how to address Psalm 19, I kinda squealed (okay, I really squealed). And when God smacked me right in the forehead with reality (and a dash of flour), I squealed even more. To Hub it was probably more than a squeal, sort of like a shriek of frustration. Do you make that sound too? Okay, good.
So, let me break down my originally perfect, flawless plan. I was going to attempt to bake Hahn-made (as we call anything homemade) sugar cookies, roll them out, use super cute cookie cutters, pop them in the oven, then magically create beautifully crafted icing decorations – complete with ornaments on the trees and snowmen with faces.
Then I was going to take super hipster pictures and use a VSCO filter to make them look even more perfect. And probably spend too much time deciding between two of my favorite filters that look almost the same, yet totally different. You’ve been there too? Good.
After focusing a lot of attention on my perfectly Hahn-made, tasty, cute, Instagram worthy Christmas sugar cookies, I was going to break down Psalm 19 by talking about being “cookie cutter Christians” and how the law is to set us free from that burden of trying to be perfect. Because using cookie cutters means you want cookies that look exactly the same, perfectly shaped, not bending out of their mold. And sometimes we think of God’s law in the same way.
Brilliant right?! I thought so too. (Do you see the irony already?)
But then reality hit.
I did in fact make Hahn-made sugar cookies. The first thing that went wrong? Recipe called for 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk. I put in 3 eggs. The second thing that went wrong? No rolling pin. But no fear! My spirits were still high – I’ll just use a drinking glass! Third thing that went wrong? Cookies took over an hour to set in the fridge. I was fine with this, but you know who was not.
The hour passed and I eagerly took the dough out of the fridge. As I started rolling it out (with my glass), I realized this wasn’t going to work. The dough was sticking to the counter despite my extra flour and I couldn’t get the dough flattened out to the right thinness.
And then the cookie cutters happened.
What happened, you ask? THEY DIDN’T WORK. I pressed them down into the dough, pulled the excess dough away from the cut out and lifted up my beautifully designed Christmas tree. THAT BROKE. I tried again. BROKEN. Tried the snowman. RIPPED IN HALF. You get the picture.
Somehow I managed to get three decently cut out Christmas shapes onto the baking sheet and rolled the rest of the stupid dough into balls and slapped them on too. Into the oven they went.
And then it hit me. Sometimes cookie cutters don’t work. Sometimes the batter we make is too sticky, and following the directions is hard. Sometimes our expectations fall through. Sometimes reality just simply isn’t what we planned. What we wanted.
Here I was, attempting to bake the perfect Christmas cookies for a blog post about how being perfect is not only impossible, but also not the point of being a Christian. The irony people! God has the best sense of humor.
Psalm 19 might be one of my favorite passages of scripture right now. David is expressing how perfect and wonderful the law of the Lord is, but also his distress of not being able to obey the law completely. He truly desires to obey the Lord because David sees the beauty of His law.
“The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.”
– Psalm 19:7-11
David describes the law as perfect, reviving, full of wisdom, joyful, enlightening, everlasting, righteous, desired, sweet, rewarding. For me, I don’t often think of God’s law as reviving or sweet or rewarding. But it is. I think of His statutes as hard, impossible, unreachable. He calls me to be kind to those who hurt me. To love those I quite frankly don’t want to love. He calls me to hold my tongue instead of gossip. To give what I have, no matter the cost. This is so hard. My nature is to hold on tight. To control. To take God’s law and try my hardest to obey every one of His commands, all while knowing I just can’t.
And just like my attempt at making the perfect Christmas cookies (for the wrong reasons), my attempt at obeying God’s law is a complete and total fail. Why? Because I’m not perfect, and because as the Psalm is titled, the law of the Lord demands perfection. That perfection was fulfilled in the only perfect person to ever live and breathe on this earth. That law I push myself to exhaustion in order to obey. That law I try to check off the list and in the process put above my Creator.
That law was satisfied on a cross by the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Oh how quickly I forget that this life is not about me. The Lord continually reminds me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus’ perfect life. In doing so, I find the freedom to obey (and fail) His commandments, and in freedom I’m liberated to try without fear. How often we take his Word and fixate on how we don’t measure up, when in fact, God measures us by His Son. The Holy, Perfect, Sinless One.
So, whether it’s those thoughts we keep in, that gossip we let out, or the cookies we can’t bake, let’s commit to praying these verses to the One who fulfilled the commands of the law so that we might live freely, and has the power to break our cookie cutter mold.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
– Psalm 19:14
In case you were wondering what beautiful Christmas cookies actually look like, here are a few from some of my favorite Instagram feeds!