Overwhelmed? A Parable: Making Cookies with Grandma

Overwhelmed?
A Parable: Making
Cookies with Grandma
One day I walked into my mother’s
house to pick up my daughter who had been visiting Grandma.  I passed the visiting room on the left and
entered the family room where I could see the kitchen where my mother tends to
be.  I saw my 4 year old daughter sitting
on the countertop facing away.  Grandma
caught my eye and shook her head, signaling me to not interrupt.  You see, my daughter was making cookies with
Grandma, and Grandma did not want me to ruin the moment.  I retreated back into the visiting room where
my dad and others were and began joined the conversation.
After a while, my daughter and
Grandma came walking into the visiting room, my daughter carrying a large plate
of cookies, and Grandma, in her sing-song voice saying, “Look what your little
girl made!”
Now, bear with me, as I go over
this delightful experience with a spiritual psychologist’s brain.  With significant revelation, I found many
important eternal principles in this experience.  This became an especially important set of
revelations when I realized that it was similar to what I experience as a
therapist who works to serve as a tool in the hands of God.  It is not uncommon for clients to leave my
office having the feeling of freshly baked cookies. J     I used
to take credit for that.  Then I realized
that God was allowing me to feel the same thing that Grandma was allowing my
daughter to feel.  “Look what Maurice
made!”  As I look at my experience as a
therapist, I feel more and more like a little girl sitting on a counter-top
making cookies with Grandma.  I started
to ask some questions…
–         
Why is Grandma giving the little girl credit for
making the cookies when we all know that Grandma did all the work?
o  
Because she wants the little one to grow in
confidence.  Grandma doesn’t need an ego
boost, she knows what she is capable of, but the little one could use a surge
of energy that will keep her motivated to learn more and achieve more.
–         
Does Grandma really need the little girls help
in order to make cookies?
o  
No, and God doesn’t really need our help.  This includes raising children (many children
were orphaned at a young age and became great people anyway), doing therapy
(God worked with the hearts and minds of people way before therapists were
invented), etc.  At times, I have to
remember that if I died, God would empower others to both survive and thrive.
–         
What does the little girl need to bring to the
kitchen in order to make it a successful experience?
o  
Almost nothing. 
A desire to help.  A desire to
enjoy Grandma’s company.  A bit of
enthusiasm.
o  
In fact, it is probably easier for Grandma to
make cookies by herself than it is to do so with the little one.
–         
What if the little girl does it wrong? 
o  
This is probably more than likely.  She may put too much of this or too little of
that. 
–         
Do such mistakes ruin it for Grandma?
o  
Grandma has all power in the situation.  There is no mistake the little one can make
that is unrepairable for Grandma.  As
long as the little one keeps trying to get it right and will work with Grandma,
as long as the little girl can relax and plug along with a decent attitude, the
story will have a happy ending.
–         
And my most insightful question after observing
how irrelevant I was feeling based on the answers to the questions above, “Why
doesn’t Grandma just make cookies by herself?”
o  
All who have made cookies instinctually know the
answer to this question.  “Where is the
fun in that?”  It has been my experience
with God that he prefers to
work on things with us.  He likes working
with us, His children.  He enjoys helping
us to learn things as we go.  He doesn’t
mind compensating for our weaknesses and cleaning up our messes when we
enthusiastically work with Him!
     I don’t know if I have the words to
describe what this feels like at a therapist. 
I can often feel Him sitting next to me in my office.  Remember that feeling of slight anxiety you
have as you watch you little one crack an egg for the first time?  I can sense His slight anxiety as I try new
things as a therapist.  It is as if he
has both hands near the bowl, ready to catch it if I spill.  I see him (behind my back), adding a little
more flour because I didn’t put quite enough in.  I see Him wiping up the sugar that I spilled
when lifting the scoop out of the sugar bag. 
I even see Him smile while giving me a soft rebuke when I pop a few
chocolate chips into my mouth instead of into the batter. 
     There are several scriptures on
this topic, including Alma 26:12:
“Yea, I know that I am nothing; as
to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will
boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things: yea, behold, many
mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name
forever.”
      Please take a close look at your
life and your overwhelm.  An added
revelation on this topic included God getting a little firm with me.  “Maurice, stop acting like the whole world is
going to fall apart if you don’t…….  This
is my earth, not yours.  It was running
just fine before you were born, and it will run just fine after you die.  I can do everything without you, but it is
more enjoyable to do it with you.  Even
if you do just a little more than a dead person would do, sometimes that is
enough.  I can do the rest.”
     It took a little practice, but
notwithstanding the significant responsibilities I now have, as long as I
remember that I am just a little girl on the counter top, as long as I remember
to bring my enthusiasm and desire, in time I will be able to enjoy sharing one
more plate of warm, delicious cookies with my friends.

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About Maurice W. Harker, LPC

Director of Life Changing Services, Director of Sons of Helaman, Facilitator of the WORTH group, Consultant for the Daughters of Light program.