Today I want to share with you something that my mother never failed to communicate to my sisters and I. And that something is the mystery of the box cake.
I grew up dreamy, zealous, ambitious and wildly creative and my three sisters grew just the same. We were encouraged to dream, to desire impossible, beautiful things for ourselves. We were always told to aspire above what is average. And that is the way our heart grew: formed by love but filled with the expectation that we can do and be absolutely anything, anywhere, anytime. Our parents afforded us opportunities that they were never given and they let us know that they were both happy, and obligated to cultivate and nurture and package us for the futures we desired. In the confectionery isle, we would be in the cake section. And if you looked at the box, you’d want to buy us.
My mother, for the duration of our primary education found interesting ways to teach us meaningful lessons. Some of them were very plesant. Others served their purpose well- and those we disliked the most. One day, while preparing us for exams, she called me into the kitchen. Back then, she was quite the baker lol. Don’t tell her I said ‘was’ okay. But she was, and we always had a box or two of cake. I don’t remember what sparked this lesson but she asked me to pass one of those to her.
She said “what is this?” and like any child I responded “it’s a cake mom.”
“What is this, Christina?” she asked again. “It’s a box of cake?” I said most uncertain this time because I did not know what answer she was looking for. To me, it was a cake. And somehow, when it moves from the cupboard to mom’s hand, what I enjoy is cake. So it must be a cake. Right?
But the next thing mom said stayed with us for life for two simple but distinct reasons. The first is because she repeated it, constantly, maybe even until we mocked her sometimes. But the second, is because she found ways to show us how vital it was to understand this concept.
She said “This, is a potential cake.”
If you add a few ingredients and mix it just right and allow it to bake, you will then have a cake. But in this box, this exquisitely packaged box, it is just a cake in potential. If no one bakes it, it will never become.
I didn’t know it then, but mom was preparing our minds for the principle of process. Together, our parents had packaged us with many of the necessities to live a life where we would materialise and realise our dreams- but we were never to believe, that in that state, without being processed, that we were cake. Leaving home for school was the equivalent of a box of cake leaving the shelf in a supermarket or being taken from the pantry at home. Leaving the nest, is just the beginning of process.
Many of us, and I mean a whole lot of us, are stuck because there is great disparity between our box full of potential and an actual cake. We are loaded with an array of furnishings that set us apart from others who were not afforded the same opportunities as we were. We sit and sleep on our accomplishments scholastic and secular, on every word of promise and destiny released over our lives from the heart of God. And yet, we are the ones that roll in our beds, sick to our stomachs from dissatisfaction, discontent and despair.
If I were you, I’d get off the shelf, I’d leave the pantry. Let that which is meant to make you, make you. Let that which is meant to bake you, bake you! Let your process strip you of your pride. Let it cripple your ingenius defenses and bring you to the place of purpose. Allow it. Let it happen. Because there is only one thing worse that a poorly baked cake, and that is a cake whose mixture got so clammy, the only alternative was to throw it out.
Real quick, before you go, just imagine with me, that it’s your birthday. Your friends throw you a surprise party and you are happy. They walk you up to a small table and finally remove your blindfold and scream “Happy Birthday!” With all the excitement, you open your eyes and infront of you is a beautiful box of strawberry cheesecake. I wonder where you’d stick your candles and wouldn’t you be disappointed….