In 2008 I decided to do something very adventurous… for me at least. After years of wishful thinking, I finally entered the cake decorating competition for our local fair. I had been wanting to do it for the longest time, but between me showing horses, my brothers showing rabbits, and our normal busy life, it just never seemed to work out.
Going into the contest, I figured I’d pick something that looked good, but was simple and easy… after all, I’d never done this before. As it turned out, the cake I picked wasn’t exactly for beginners (haha… go figure). Of course, everything had to be perfect, so for four long days I labored over that cake until it was finally ready (that’s right, I said four days). Next, we drove it to the fair grounds and set it down next to the other cakes.
I was really happy with it, but I had no idea what to expect. Every time a little bit of hope entered my mind, I’d quickly push it away, not wanting to set myself up for too much disappointment. Finally, the day came for judging and I waited anxiously. My best friend called me from the other side of the fair grounds to let me know that the ribbons had been distributed on the cakes, but she wouldn’t tell me what I’d gotten. I rushed over and found it; a big purple ribbon (Grand Champion) sat proudly on my cake and a note soon told me I was getting a trophy too. Best cake at the fair. Can you say ecstatic?
Well, this morning I was watching pictures slide by on the computer screen saver and this cake showed up. It’s been three years and I haven’t entered any more cake decorating contests since. While some would have seen that as a wonderful beginning, I seemed to see it as more of an ending. I mean, I got the best placing I could… how was I supposed to beat that?
Looking back on this, I’m going to start working on thinking differently. First off, I enjoy cake decorating and while ribbons and trophies are nice, that isn’t what it’s all about. Second, sure, I could fail, but I could also succeed, and I’ll never know if I don’t try. But most importantly, there’s always more to learn and just because I made it so far doesn’t mean that it’s time to stop.
So as this picture slid by on the screen this morning, these were the thoughts that began tumbling through my mind. And after a while, I began to realize a few things about my Christian growth as well.
You see, there is no point here on this earth when I can say, “I’ve made it as far as I need to go.” No matter how much I learn about my Savior, there is always more to learn. No matter how well I understand the Bible, there is always more to comprehend. No matter how successful I am in my Christian walk, there is always something for me to be working on. And even the strongest believer can grow stronger in his faith.
In the end, we are continually learning, growing, and pressing forward in this race.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:12-14