Paying Attention to Product and Process

Many scientists, especially biochemists, love to cook when they are not spending time in the laboratory. After all, a recipe bears resemblance to a protocol, some measuring cups look like beakers, and a creative dish is just an edible experiment. Whenever I have the opportunity, I enjoy spending time at the granite lab bench known as the kitchen counter.

My goal when cooking is a tasty, nutritious meal that appeals to my family and any guests present. This meal is the product.  I can choose to bake, boil, sauté, poach, steam, fry, broil, grill, braise, or cook sous-vide. These techniques are the process. My choice of cooking method and my skill using that method will affect the quality and properties of the product. For example, steaming vegetables preserves more vitamins than boiling them. Both steaming and boiling transfer heat through water. When you steam broccoli, you place the vegetable in a closed environment (pot with a lid on it) saturated with steam. This method softens the broccoli while maintaining the flavor and vitamin C content. If you were to boil the broccoli, the water-soluble vitamin C would leach out into the water, reducing the nutritional value of the vegetable. Cooking the broccoli sous-vide (under vacuum) preserves water-soluble vitamins, but requires the use of special plastic bags and controlled temperatures not normally found in home kitchens.

College students planning careers in medicine go through the experience of memorizing biochemical pathways for metabolism in the human body, such as the breakdown of carbohydrates into energy. Glucose, fructose 6-phosphate, and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate are some of the products of sugar metabolism that a student needs to memorize. However, hexokinase, phosphoglucose isomerase, and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase are equally important to students, scientists, and physicians. These enzymes convert one metabolite to another. They are responsible for the process that makes the products. Inborn errors in metabolism can cause serious disease for infants and small children. These errors arise from defects in enzymes. When the process is wrong, you do not get the products you need.

Products often catch our attention, while we forget the importance of the process. We see the athlete holding up the Olympic gold medal for the cameras, the graduate walking across the stage for his diploma, or the crisp pages of a newly released book. These products may inspire us to reach for similar goals ourselves. However, if we want the product, we must be willing to go through the process. If you want to be a world-class athlete, you must face hours of repetitive and grueling physical training. If you want a diploma, you have to learn to study. If you want to write a book, be ready to invest blocks of time writing and editing over the course of months.

We may admire a person of good character and forget that spiritual growth is also a process. “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7). To each good trait that we develop as we grow, we need to be prepared to add the next one. The process of growing to become more like Christ resembles slow cooking more than deep-frying. To get a healthy product, we must be willing to forgo our impatience with the process. Instead of becoming discouraged, we need to stick to the goal and take the next step, trusting that God finishes what He starts (Philippians 1:6).

Key Concepts to Tweet

  • Products often catch our attention, while we forget the importance of the process.  Buffer
  • If we want the product, we must be willing to go through the process.  Buffer
  • To get a healthy product, we must be willing to forgo our impatience with the process.  Buffer

Fork in the Road (A Guest Post)

“Sometimes it’s embarrassing to talk to You, to hold a conversation with the only one who sees right through this version of myself I try to hide behind” -Relient K

Yes, I DID just brilliantly quote Relient K. Despite their [for some – unpreferred] punk rock tones the lyrics of certain Relient K songs are extremely deep and can speak to my Christian walk. This particular song “I Am Understood” perfectly depicts a 19 year old version of myself. Maybe you remember a time in your life where you met “the fork in the road” as a young person. Well, I hit mine at age nineteen. I needed to make a very specific decision that I knew would determine what kind of character I would have for the rest of my life. You see… God had called me to a very full life; a life that I would have to dedicate my whole self completely to His service. I have known since I was nine years old that God has called me to full time vocational ministry. However, this dream became a little tainted when I became a teenager. I quickly realized how difficult ministry life would be for myself and my future family (husband and children). So, I planned on making a deal with God. I created a few “terms” that were my conditions for accepting the job for full time ministry! I know… I was blindly arrogant and presumptuous because I was operating out of fear. And yet, God saw right through me and He “let me know I was understood”.

I am a fourth generation pastor’s kid. My parents are exceptional Pastors and always tried their best in keeping my childhood experience as it rightfully should be. Being a PK [Pastor’s Kid] is something I am very proud of. However, that also means I saw a side of ministry that most young people do not ever experience. I was exposed to the sacrificial and emotionally draining effects of ministry life. Through some of my PK friends and their families I saw the darkness of ministry failure. I saw so much anger and hurt from other wounded and failed pastors and missionaries. I knew the scary statistics for Pastor’s families. I realized as a young teen that my parent’s had somehow beaten the odds. Would I be so fortunate to replicate their success in my own adult life someday? I was so fearful to release my “terms” because I did not want my future family to struggle financially or even relationally. You’ll laugh when you hear that one of my terms was “I will NOT marry a Pastor under any circumstance”. I wanted to marry someone with a so called “normal” job that could provide a steady source of income who’s schedule was reliably 9am – 5pm. That way I could continue to do ministry myself and not have to worry about making money to provide for a family. I had to be [what I thought was] realistic about life! I thought if I married a Pastor then my children would eventually miss out on something due to our busy ministry schedule. So, I tried living my life on my precious terms. This proved more difficult than I anticipated! I was trying to do ministry uninhibited, but my “terms” kept on getting in the way! I desired to be captivated by Christ and wanted to grow my relationship with Him more and more, but this required full obedience to Him.

Ultimately, I was faced with that proverbial “fork in road”. I had to make a decision to either cling to my terms, or cling to God and trust He would take care of me. Finally, I was tired of the charade. Decision time was unavoidable. I just could not continue running from the full embrace of God’s calling – it became so draining! I couldn’t keep everything together, only God could meet all my needs.

During that decision time I spent so much time in prayer seeking God. As I made changes in my life God began to reveal to me a new set of terms – His promises! He promised to be with me, to meet all my needs, and assured me that He would always have my back. A difficult time of transition became an era of promises! My God had proven faithful to me, yet again. As Relient K sings “You’re the only one who knows [me] yet still loves [me] completely… through the times I’ve faded and you’ve outlined me again; You’ve just patiently waited to bring me back… Your voice has broken my defense. Let me embrace salvation.”

Six years later my life hasn’t been easy, but it’s been beautiful. I have watched God provide in good times and bad. He has delivered to me an amazing husband that I can live out my youth ministry calling with. Can you believe I ended up marrying a Pastor? We make an incredible team – leaving a dent in the kingdom of darkness! I wish there were words that existed to more accurately describe how fulfilling, joyous, and comforting it is be in the perfect will of the Father. I could have had a decent or “good” life on my terms… but now I’m living an EXTRAORINDARY life that is beyond my wildest dreams on His terms. How could I have ever thought my plans were better than God’s plan for me?

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:3-6

Kimberly Clervois is an enthusiastic Youth Minister with a passion for this generation of teenagers.

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Key Concepts to Tweet

  • God saw right through me and He let me know I was understood.  Buffer
  • Do you remember a time when you met the fork in the road?  Buffer
  • A story of an incredible team that is leaving a dent in the kingdom of darkness.  Buffer