Our Sticky Situations

So look upon your old sin nature as dead and unresponsive to sin, and instead be alive to God, alert to Him, through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:11 (TLB)

I found a homemade Twix bar recipe online and I wanted to try making it.  I don’t know why, since it’s so much easier to just walk the 15 minute stretch to the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market up the street, or say 10 minute walk to Harris Teeter and buy a bag.  I think it sounded like a challenge at first, and I like to have stuff that’s made without a lot of preservatives and things of that nature.  So I set out this afternoon, all the while packing for my trip to Tucson this week and cleaning the kitchen, to make these homemade Twix bars.

The recipe has three steps: the bottom shortbread layer, a caramel layer, and a top chocolate layer.  Sounds easy enough, right?  All was going fine until the caramel, because I made two substitutions in the recipe when I got to it.  In place of dark corn syrup, I did a brown sugar/water mix, and in place of sweetened condensed milk, I used evaporated milk.  It wasn’t coming out bad, but it wasn’t coming out right, either.  It was runnier than the recipe described it to be, and I kept trying to thicken it some by adding more sugar.  I finally got frustrated after the third addition and turned the stove up slightly so it would boil and then I could cool it and let it cook to as thick as it was going to get, then pour it over the shortbread layer and refrigerate it to cool.  Having to refrigerate it meant it was going to get harder anyway, right?

I turned away for a very, very short period of time – if it was for two minutes, it was a long time.  It was just long enough to clear out the sink and put a dish or two in my dishwasher.  When I turned back around, I discovered caramel boiling over the pot and onto the stove top.  Quick thinking, I turned it off and started to clean up what can only be described as a sticky, icky mess.  The caramel had boiled over and under the burner, under the catch-all pan under the burner, and ran over top of the stove, as well.  Fiona ran in the kitchen, hoping some would run off the stove so she could eat it.  I just stood there, shook my head, and started to clean it up.  A two-minute turnaround caused me nearly 45 minutes of cleaning up a messy situation.  I was truly grateful to God that I was standing right there and that the situation had not been made worse by walking away or not realizing the pot was boiling over.

As I was cleaning up the mess (which, believe it or not, was not my worst kitchen disaster ever!), God began to reveal to me about the often sticky and icky situations we get ourselves into.  How many of us just turn our head for that one moment, only to have a mess form in that quick, short period of time?  After the sticky situation has been made, how long does it take for us to clean it up?  Standing in that kitchen today, I was very aware that the second we stop paying attention is the moment we “boil over” and mess comes forth.  There is a reason the Word alerts us to being aware, prepared, and alert at all times.  Many messes we find ourselves in could be avoided if we would simply sit up, pay attention, and stop turning to the right or left to do something else because we are bored, frustrated, or otherwise uninterested with the task at hand.

What is God calling you to focus on, right now?  Where is He calling your attention?  What is distracting you, or what distractions do you face?  Remember, that little tiny diversion – the one you don’t even think can matter – can wind up causing you a lot of trouble, clean-up, and hassle later on.        

(c) 2013 Lee Ann B. Marino.  All rights reserved.

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