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Dropping the To Do List; Picking up a Cupcake

Y’all – I know I talk a lot about overcoming big hurdles and fears and really stepping into the massive and badass role God has for you. This weekend, I really walked the talk…

I made cupcakes.

Yup. I made a baker’s dozen of the most beautiful and scrumptious eggnog cupcakes you’ve ever seen or tasted, and I even went all Pinterest on ‘em and put them in a mason jar garnished with the cutest little wooden spoon and twine.

But, Alani, how is that “overcoming a big fear”? Because much like you – my fellow high achiever – I have a tendency to be a slave to productivity.

Can we talk about “to-do” lists for a second? I love them. No, I mean I LOVE them. I have them for annual, quarterly, weekly, and daily goals. I love filling a clean, blank sheet with my task list – complete with little squares at the start of each line so I can fill in my progress as I go. My Self bullet journal was a game-changer. Not only could I have an organized “to do” list, but I could visually see how efficient I was being with my time. BOOYAH! And few things brought me more joy than crossing an item off my list, because we got work to do for the Kingdom, y’all!

Many of you know what I’m talking about. Some of you are staring at your screen in bewilderment. I have a dear friend who works for a VERY high-powered organization (you’ve definitely heard of) pick up baking out-of-the-blue one day. At the time, I thought it was fun but something I would never do, because it was a waste of time and added to my waistline. How did that help her on her career path? What was the purpose? Once, I got to enjoy a double chocolate cupcake creation of hers, and sweet Lord, it still is the best cupcake I’ve ever had in my life. At the time, I was grateful to be the beneficiary of such a luxury while half-lamenting that I would probably never get to be so frivolous with my time. But it was the beginning of a conversation I had with myself: Was it a waste of time? What was the true benefit? Was this something I even wanted to do?

About a year later, I got invited to my first vision board party. Those events where you get to cut pictures out of magazines and tape them to a poster board to give you a visual reminder of what your goals for the next year are. There’s wine, food, and great company…they’re fabulous! Anyway, I showed up with my laptop – eschewing the traditional format in the name of efficiency and utilitarianism – and proceeded to type “GOAL 1: Be more creative” at the top of my basic white PowerPoint presentation!


Fast forward to now: I’ve had the most productive year EVER (more on that in a future blog post…stay tuned!). But as I entered into this Advent season, I found myself depleted and unable to shake the nagging feeling that – although I had a great year on paper – I still hadn’t reached my fullest potential. And then I remembered something a mentor told me last year:

God is the ultimate creator. In Genesis 1, He brought the universe, light, land, and life into existence in six days (I bet that “to-do” list was SICK!), and we are created in His image (Gen 1:26). What if we were meant to create universes too? What if we were designed to create new and beautiful things under the watchful eye and guiding hand of the ultimate Creator? Have you ever watched your child (or someone else’s child) create something out of nothing and marvel at how bright and intelligent that child was? It’s like getting a front row seat to a miracle when you see a toddler expand their true potential, and I believe our heavenly Father feels the exact same way when we step out boldly and create solely for the reason that “it is good” (Gen 1:31)…even if it might seem scary at first.

And so this Advent season, I set out to put my “to-do” list down and focus on creating, simply to bring joy to myself and hopefully spread that joy to others. I messaged my high-achieving, cupcake-wielding savant of a friend and asked for her best holiday cupcake recipe. This batch of deliciousness is going to a group of support staff at the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office who have played supporting roles in Operation Keiki Shield (“keiki” means “child” in Hawaiian). All the HR staff that make sure we get paid on time, the intern who did the awesome graphics for the press conference, the poor procurement staff who we fought on-and-off with to get critical equipment into the hands of the investigators and intel analysts (Lord, you know how hard I pushed them to make it happen!). I pray these cupcakes help them feel appreciated not just for what they’ve done but because they’re loved just as they are.

Sisters, what is God calling you to do (or not do) this season and into 2020? The world’s picture of success is so different than that of our Father’s. Stop looking down on your earthly “to-do” list and look up and imagine the universes – big and small – that God put on your heart to create.

Ecc. 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity on the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Exo. 35:31-32: And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze.”

Eph. 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

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