A Pi Day Parable

I am flat out terrible at making pie crusts. As a matter of fact, I have one in the oven as I write this, and it looks…well, pathetic. Here it is, in all its glory (family members, look away, lest this preposterous image be burned into your brain):

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Pie crusts are a big deal in our family. My sweet grandma could turn out a perfectly flaky pie crust that would bring a tear to your eye. In turn, that gift was passed down to my aunt, who made the absolute most decadent French silk pie known to man. My mom also inherited the gift of pie crust making, and took it to an entirely new level – Thanksgiving was entirely based around pie. It wasn’t unusual to find her turning out at least a half dozen pies the day before Thanksgiving.

My mom has passed the tradition, filled with tips and tricks, on to her daughters-in-law to fulfill my brothers’ pie cravings. Even my girls were turning out apple pies made from scratch under her tutelage before they reached double digits.

And then there’s me.

I distinctly remember one of my first pie crust tutorial sessions. It was almost Thanksgiving, and I was putting a pie crust together under my mom’s watchful eye, with a friend overseeing the entire affair. Everything was going just right. The water was the perfect temperature, the dough rolled out beautifully, and I carefully placed it in the pan, edges crimped with the utmost care.

I turned around to wash my hands, turned back…and there was a hole in the middle of my crust. My dear friend thought it would be a great joke to cut a piece right out of the middle of the pie crust. I smiled at the joke, but inside, I was seeing red. It was, indeed, a great joke, and easily repaired, but it didn’t hide the fact that I once again had failed to create a perfect pie crust.

Twenty years later, I can laugh at that memory, but it has made me reflect on pie crust as a whole. (Oh…that was almost a pun, there…) What is my deal with pie crust? Why does it bring about such angst, frustration, and make me downright angry at times?

It’s because I had my identity wrapped up in my ability to produce pie crust. In my mind, all true females of our lineage should be able to produce this pie crust. It was a matter of pride, worth, and identity. Because I couldn’t make a decent pie crust to save my life, I was, in a way, unworthy. Below standard. A failure to the family name.

And that’s just plain ridiculous.

As much as we love our families and cherish passing along beloved traditions, our identity is not about how much we are like our relatives in looks, characteristics, or abilities. Our identity, rather, lies in who we are in Christ. We were made in His image, to be people who reflect Him. Our love for Him spurs us on to want to be more like Him – more loving, more giving, and more forgiving.

As with my pie crust skills, I am going to fail. But just as I haven’t given up on pie crust, I am not going to give up on seeking to be more like Him year after year.

Some day, rather than my daughters telling stories about my amazing pies, they will be telling stories about my mind-blowing pie foibles and failures. And we will laugh…a lot! Even more, though, I hope that they will tell stories about how I loved Jesus and lived a life that reflected Him well. I hope and pray that they, too, find their identity in Him and seek to be more like Him.

And I wouldn’t mind if they mastered their pie crust skills along the way, too… 🙂

Happy Pi Day!

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