Stick With It

Work Improvement Like Yeast in Bread
by Liz Thompson

Published in Suburban News Publications
February 3, 2012

The smell of bread baking is a favorite of mine. At 19, while living in an apartment in California, I followed the aroma and found an open door. I was invited in and sought advice on making bread. “Find a recipe you like and stick with it,” she said. “You’ll have flops and successes, but eventually you’ll catch on.”

Good advice and I ran with it.

I remembered the original recipe I used until I “caught on.” It was cut from a Red Star Yeast packet, taped to a 3×5 card and placed in my recipe box.

Now covered with signs I had used it for years, I remember my flops and successes.   How after years of practice, I learned how the dough felt in my hands when it was right – and when it wasn’t.

Memories on a yeast packet. Unexpected.

But advice to “stick with it” served me well in many areas of my life. Had I not listened to her, or sought her out in the first place, I might never have had that gem of advice to run with.

Yeast can make or break a loaf of bread.  Several factors determine how well it will rise and make heavenly smelling bread. That thought reminds me of a parable in the Bible not about unleavened (without yeast) bread.

“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Matthew 13:32-34

Believe me; I never work 60 pounds of flour at one time! But this verse is speaking of how yeast permeates the dough to give it “life” similar to how God’s Word works through our lives to help us grow. I love the analogy.

It doesn’t take much yeast to make bread rise, under the right conditions. And it’s infinitely easier to work small amounts of flour at one time. Yet if the yeast is old or handled poorly, the bread won’t rise. So we buy new yeast or read the directions again. Start over.

As we begin another year, we might be thinking of resolutions we made to lose weight, exercise more, learn a new skill or any number of ideas to improve our lives. My advice would be to stick with it till you find what works for you. And as in making yeast bread, work a little into your life gradually to make improvements until healthy choices are second nature.

I didn’t learn to make bread—or do anything really—overnight or without practice and failures. Think of inventors who toiled faithfully to make their dreams and ideas happen.

These same ingenious folks make our lives easier with choices that were unimaginable in my early life.

But today I still choose to learn things carefully, measure advice cautiously and accept failure as a learning tool. No, I don’t like failing. Looking back on my life I can see how those tough moments strengthened me.

So I stick with it till I get it right. Good advice.

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