When I say flames, I mean real ones. There was a legitimate ball of fire in my hands, and immediately afterwards, there was a legitimate ball of fire in my carport...in addition to a horrible, sticky mess and shards of glass EVERYWHERE.
You have no idea how badly I wish I had photos of this incident to share, but due to the unfortunate series of events that led to the excitement in reference, I didn't have the chance to stop and snap some pics. My house thanks me for that.
I do, however, have a photo of what I was attempting. Stay with me...I'm going somewhere with this.
When I first saw that picture, I thought about how eye-catching the recipe and photos would be for my blog and social media accounts. I thought about the kids and how much they love hot chocolate. I thought about pretty much everything except how dangerous it could actually be to broil marshmallows.
So... I followed the recipe "to the T." Just like it said to do, I moved the oven rack down to the second slot (further away from the broiler), and I placed the parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet in the oven, and within seconds, the marshmallow topping began to flame. Then, flaming marshmallows dropped down onto the pan and caught the parchment paper on fire, and before I could clearly think about what to do, I grabbed the flaming pan--nearly catching my oven mitts and hands on fire--and I threw the entire pan into the carport to get it out of my house.
Needless to say, the end result looked nothing like the photo above...ha!
What did I do next?
Well, I did nothing, and it was very, very hard.
One little fact about me is I don't accept failure very well. I don't accept it at all, really. My grandmother jokes with me about how I've handled defeat since I was a little girl. She says I tend to pick up the axe and just start chopping. In my defense, I've had to in order to "make it."
In some ways, I started out in this world with the cards stacked not-so-much in my favor. My biological father was absent, and so was his, and I internalized it. I adopted the belief that I had to prove to myself that I could be "good enough," whatever that means.
**Spoiler alert** Good enough doesn't exist.
If you're trying to be good enough for someone else, there'll always be someone you can't please. If you're trying to be good enough for yourself, you won't be happy until you reach perfection... which is impossible.
It took me a looong time to understand that, and sometimes, I still forget.
Nearly everything I do, I do to the fullest extent I can muster, and with nearly every failure, I repeat the process--no matter the cost--until I feel I've proven that I can succeed. Don't mistake this for grit; although, this trait has carried me through some really tough stuff. But, the refusal to fail can also be selfish and have a detrimental effect on those we love.
"If at first you don't succeed...blah, blah, blah.
Well, you won't hear this much in the classroom, but I'm going to just throw it out there that if at first you don't succeed, it's 100% ok to never EVER try that thing again while accepting that you are still worthy, valuable and unconditionally loved.
What's this got to do with hot chocolate?
After the flaming fiasco that nearly destroyed my house, hands and oven mitts, I wanted a do-over. I wanted to perfect the process, take the photos, and have the satisfaction of being able to say, "see, I CAN do it."
However, I had already taken half the day's worth of light for cooking; my family was choking on smoke, and the do-over could have resulted in the same scenario (if not a little worse) just as easily as it could have worked out on the second go. I simply needed to be ok with failing and not trying again. I also needed to prioritize my family, to sit in the failure and let them laugh about it a little while continuing to live out the rest of the day with the ones I love the most.
Can I really use a failed recipe to learn about life?
Can you think of any more serious situations during which your addiction to "getting it right the next time" can be harmful? Maybe Gambling? Or, maybe sinking more time, money and energy into a project on which you already know you "bit off more than you could chew"?
Our son, Bennett, is 7. He loves sports and wants to play them ALL. He also wants to be good at them all. At the end of the very last game during his soccer season, after playing hard the entire season and learning more each game, he came off the field completely devastated and very upset that his team didn't win a game all season.
We could have pushed him and told him there's always next season while giving him false hope of being the best, eventually, as long as he "just keeps trying." Or, we could congratulate him for trying and improving his skills while also teaching him that his desire to play every sport doesn't mean he'll be great at every sport.
We chose the second option because everyone needs to remember how loved and valuable they are, even if they're not good at everything.
Fearfully & Wonderfully Made
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16
You are not just a body defined by the things at which you are talented or the things at which you have failed. You are an extraordinary work of art designed by the God Who spoke this world into existence. You were that work of art before your failures. You were that work of art before your successes. And, you will be that work of art until the day you stop drawing breath.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made when you've been fired from your job, when you've broken your diet, when you've been through a divorce and when you've experienced major financial setbacks. You are fearfully and wonderfully made when you've stood idly by instead of standing up for something when you know you should have, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made when you've been "ghosted" by someone, mocked by another, and when you've nearly burned down the house during a Pinterest fail. You are.
Celebrate the failures. We learn from them all. Give yourself the credit for trying, and let the failures be a source of humility instead of the source of perpetual negativity...and when it's all said in done, let go of the failures and live. There's a whole world of people out there who need you for the fearfully and wonderfully made individual you already are.