This week I will celebrate two holidays, Thanksgiving, of course, and my own personal holiday, Pie Day. Pie Day falls on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and is the day I dedicate to making the pies for whatever dinner I am going to the next day. I have been celebrating Pie Day every year since I officially took over the job of sole pie maker when I was ten.
When Pie Day began I was so overjoyed that I was trusted to make all the pies for the family. Making pie was something that brought me great happiness. I loved rolling out the dough, preparing the filling, carefully placing the top crust and successfully creating a delicious treat for my family. And I loved the hours of being in the kitchen alone, listening to my music, dancing around and focusing on my task of baking.
But somewhere over the years the joy of pie making was lost to the stress of expectations, and Pie Day shifted from a celebration to a chore. Slowly my emotions about being the sole pie maker changed from joy to anxiety. What if I accidentally skipped a step? Forgot an ingredient? Or tragically burnt the only dessert we had for Thanksgiving? These fears and stress robbed me of the joy that got me the pie making job in the first place! I spent several years dreading the coming of Pie Day. Fixating on the what if’s, the worst case scenarios, the idea of disappointing myself and my family. But that is no way to live, and no way to make pie! Making pie for my family should be a time of joy, it should be a time of fun and excitement. A time I get to focus my mind on one task and lose myself in the familiarity of making a dish I love.
Once I came to the realization that my stress and fears were effectively ruining a beloved holiday, I knew something had to change. One option would have been to stop making pie, to let someone else handle it, or just not have pie. Which is an insane option that I never really considered. Another, more reasonable and possible option, would be to simply stop putting so much pressure on myself. To let go of my need to make perfect pies every year and instead be happy with whatever I make. To spend a couple moments before the day starts to remember the joy I felt baking as a child, and focus on that rather than the what if’s.The only problem with this option is it is significantly easier said than done.
My solution for this year’s Pie Day was to focus on the beautiful fruit of the Spirit, specifically joy and peace, instead of the stress and expectations I put on myself. These are gifts given by the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life, a result of my relationship with Jesus Christ, not something that I am supposed to create in myself on my own power. The focus on the fruit of the Spirit helped keep my mind from focusing on the stress and what if’s. It helped me remember the joy I used to feel every year on Pie Day, and brought that joy back into this special holiday.
I wonder what other areas of your life used to bring you happiness and are now a chore. What things you do every year or every month or every day that were once life giving and now are life draining. I wonder what stress and fears are robbing you of your joy and peace? Whatever your answer might be, my prayer for you is that you seek the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of joy and peace and patience, and strive to live them out by the power of the Spirit, not by the power of you.
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. -Galatians 5:22-23