As I write this post, I am waiting for my ground beef casserole to get done baking in the oven. It’s a dish I recently added to our dinner line-up, and the kiddos love it. When I told them what was for dinner tonight, they were all excited because they have been waiting about a month for me to make it again.
It’s a very simple recipe that calls for about five or six main ingredients, only requires about 3-4 steps, and produces enough for leftovers, all for roughly $15. That’s the kind of meal I like on days when I don’t feel like creating one of my down-home, southern-style meals with all the fixings.
The first time I made the dish, I followed the recipe’s instructions exactly. Although it was good, I quickly noted some changes I’d make the next time around, just to meet the standard of how I like my food. As my oldest, Joey, was in the kitchen watching me cook, he picked up some of the ingredients and said, “I don’t remember you using this last time,” and as I was mixing he told me, “That’s not how the recipe said do it.”
I quickly told him to get out of my kitchen trying to dictate how I was cooking my food! I said to him, “It’s my dish and I can change it up as much as I want to.”
We shared a laugh!
The original dish is made with egg noodles. For my liking, I use penne rigate. The recipe also layers the meat sauce mixture on top of the noodles mixture, which I didn’t quite like. So, this time I mixed a little of the meat sauce with the noodles mixture and then layered it. I cannot wait to bite into this dish once it comes out of the oven! I am excited to see how the dish turns out with the changes I made to the recipe to tailor it to my preference. I can certainly say that it looks good, but we will know the verdict in just a bit.
In thinking about how I altered the recipe to make it work for me, it brought to mind how we have the freedom to alter “life-recipes” to fit our life.
For instance, there may be a basic, foundational way to grow your hair. If, at first, you try and it doesn’t quite work for you the exact same way it did for the person who created the instructions, you have the freedom to tweak it to make it work for you.
I remember when I first transitioned to natural hair about three years ago. I had no idea what I was doing so I would watch natural hair tutorials on YouTube and read countless articles on what to do to maintain, moisturize, grow, and style my locks. I followed certain instructions exactly to try to create the hair my favorite naturalistas had. In some cases, the products they used were too heavy for my hair or made it feel dry and brittle. Sometimes, there were too many steps (I like simplicity!), or the recipe for luminous, flowing coils just did not work for me. I cannot even begin to tell you how much money I spent on different products, trying to follow someone else’s rules to govern my hair.
Their method wasn’t wrong, but it simply wasn’t right for me or my preferences. I actually discovered my staple hair products from that process. I used some of their basics, but made it work for me.
And guess what? Even though I took away from or added to their recipe, my way turned out perfect for me. Making it work for me worked for me.
Although I use the hair example here, the same applies to pretty much every area of life. Just because someone else did something a certain way and achieved good results does not mean that you are bound to doing it their exact way to produce the results you desire.
In relationships, in career goals, in fitness ambitions, in parenting, in dealing with certain situations, or whatever the case, you have the freedom to create a system that works best for you. It does not matter how any other person before you or around is doing it or has done it, you do not have to follow their way. Even if you like the way they do it, you may find that what works for them will not work for you. And that is perfectly okay.
I think about Jeremiah 29:11 where God says, “For I know the plans I have for you…” That for you sticks out to me because I take it to believe that means His plan is specific or tailored for you and you only. To me, it means that no one else has the same plan. Though we may walk the same path, our steps are ordered…meaning our steps are different. That’s the beauty of process. We can end up with the same results, yet go about achieving them in unique ways. And it doesn’t mean one way is better than the other, but only that it’s different.
So, if there is something you are attempting to accomplish in your life and you’re following someone else’s blueprint, but it’s not quite yielding the results you’d like, then seek the Lord for the plan He has for you, and make it work for you.
Edit to add: Dinner was delicious! All three of the kiddos raved about how good it was and ate seconds! I made it work for me and it was a hit!