My mom is known for her awesome cooking skills. Her food helps me to go on. No, really, I’m being serious. While in college I remember going home to Fort Smith and her spaghetti and meatballs lifted my spirits for a solid week.

So when I had a craving for her….wait for it…cabbage rolls(!)…I didn’t want to ask her to make them, I decided I would try.

Side note: I never eat cooked cabbage unless it’s in this dish. My parents grew up in a small Oklahoma town with a large Lebanese population so the food was influenced accordingly there. One of the dishes I grew up on were these cabbage rolls…admittedly I picked off the cabbage and ate the meat filling for at around 20 years of my life. I now happily consume all parts of the dish, so if you can’t stand the the texture or taste of something there is hope for you as well…She had her own recipe growing up, but relatively recently she found this one by Tyler Florence online, so she’s tweaked it and we use it now…back to the story…

This is a dish that seemed way too complicated for me to attempt in years past, but honestly God is making my word for the year “new” a reality. I am trying new things that I never thought possible for myself:

1) Starting a new blog (this is way scarier and crazy vulnerable for me than you may realize)

2) Getting up hours before the rest of my house (WHAT?!)

3) Running (WHO AM I?!)

4) Keeping up with the laundry (I know, really? But seriously…it’s a new challenge with an additional person added…I’ll keep you posted…)

5) Cooking confidently for others and trying new recipes (AHHH!)

(I’m nervous-excited to see what is added to the list this year!)

What I have learned (so far):

1) Trying new things is equally exciting and paralyzing for me.

2) With each “new” thing I try I learn that I underestimate and self-talk myself into being paralyzed. When I turn it over to God and ask for His help, I can do far more that I ever thought possible

3) When I pray before trying new things it always turns out better.

4) I should have prayed before attempting the above mentioned Cabbage Rolls.

My mom’s advice for the recipe was too not get overwhelmed by the amount of words on it, but that she had confidence I could do it.

Mr. Florence said it should bake for an hour. I allowed myself 30 minutes for prep time. In actuality, it took me almost three hours to get the food on the table! WHAT?!

What I learned from this experience:

1) Do NOT compare my beginning attempt to someone else’s end results.

This was stated more eloquently by someone else, but the crux of it is don’t compare. My mom has been cooking my whole life, of course it makes sense that she makes it look SO easy. It should take some work for me to get to where she is. The same applies to this new blog adventure…I can’t compare our beginning here at “Finishing the Race” to other ministry blogs that have been up and running for years!

2) Having accountability makes a ton of difference.

I knew if I went ahead and bought the ingredients for the dish, I would have to make it. So that cabbage in my fridge, called to me all week telling me the clock was ticking. The other accountability that has been crucial for me has been other people. I cannot stress it enough, we were made to be involved in other people’s lives. There’s no ministry without PEOPLE. And without the excitement of this cute cooking partner, I would have given up. However, I had to push on so that he could see what hard work produced (although I was super nervous it would turn out terrible, but there are lessons to learn in that as well, right?)

Look at that face...I could not give up!

Look at that face…I could not give up!

3) Live and learn

Now that I’ve made that super-wordy recipe, I now know that “Core the cabbages” will take me watching a youtube video or asking my mom for tips. This was where most of the experience went south. So now that I know this piece of information I can adjust and have a better experience next time! Isn’t this true about any new experience? Monitor and adjust. Experience has to be learned somehow!

4) Give up on perfect.

Yes, the Cabbage Rolls turned out to be Cabbage Blankets instead. Yes, it took an extra hour or so to get it finished. But we had a fun, crazy, messy time getting it finished. (We all had seconds, it was so good!)

Notice the almost clean plate behind the cuties.

Notice the almost clean plate behind the cuties.

So as I navigate all of this new, I hope I can remember from this experience that I will take some messy turns.

But with the encouragement of others, giving up on “perfect,” and a whole lot of prayer, it can be a beautiful experience.

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” James 1:12