The first time I heard the phrase crème brû·lée was in the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding starring Julia Roberts. Julia Roberts had a best friend who was a guy and they had been friends forever. He was getting married and Julia Roberts was his best man. From the moment Julia Roberts was asked to participate in the wedding, she came to the realization that she was in love with her best friend; thus, she made every attempt to halt the wedding.
In one scene, Julia Roberts is at the engagement party and she is having a sort of confrontation with the bride. The bride is upscale and comes from wealth. Julia Roberts and the groom were not quite born in the same circle as the bride, nor did they grow up enjoying the same type of lifestyle. At this point in the movie, there are issues arising between the bride and the groom caused by Julia Roberts. Things are coming to light which brings into question whether the bride and groom are truly compatible. Julia Roberts is explaining to the bride that she is crème brû·lée and the groom needs jello. The bride, emotional and such, tells Julia Roberts that she can be jello; to which Julia Roberts emphatically responds saying, “Crème brû·lée can never be jello!!!”
What exactly is crème brû·lée? Crème brû·lée is a glorified version of jello defined as a dessert of custard topped with caramelized sugar. It is one of those semi-fancy French-American desserts that often seems too pretentious to make at home. You do not see it often on the dessert menus of your everyday restaurants. It is the cream of the crop.
As I was pondering life one day last week, God gave me an analogy of sorts in which He showed me how crème brû·lée and jello applied to our lives. A prime example of crème brû·lée would be a small child that knows very young in life that they desire to be a participant in the Olympics. It is their goal … it is their calling. From that moment on, their life is catered around achieving that brass ring. What they eat … what they do … everything in their daily existence is specifically designed to getting to the Olympics. They make many sacrifices by not enjoying life as the world thinks they should, especially as a child, and they remain focused on one thing, and one thing only …obtaining their crème brû·lée.
Of course, not everyone is blessed with the knowledge of knowing what their crème brû·lée is so early in life. Some of us don’t figure this out for many years and some are still trying to figure it out. I, personally, do not know what my crème brû·lée is but I do know what it is not. I know enough about it to know the road I need to travel to figure it out. I have an inkling of where God is leading me, but I cannot say 100% for sure. Still, again, I know which direction I must go in order to get my answer. However, for many years, I was clueless. I not only did not know what my crème brû·lée was, but I did not care. I lived each day and simply took whatever it offered.
As a young child, I had more responsibility put on me than I was mature enough to handle. I was robbed of a childhood. Though I had many privileges that few have early in life, it came with a very high price. As an adult I strived to get back what I felt was lost and spent way too much time just getting by. I never had goals … I never pondered what my crème brû·lée was … I simply did what felt good and wasted a lot of years. I would be in my 40’s before I even desired crème brû·lée.
A biblical story of someone learning later in life what their crème brû·lée was is the story of Paul. He was living one type of lifestyle and it was in no way leading him to the realization of his crème brû·lée. Then, one day on the road to Damascus, God met him. Within the course of days, Paul would know without a doubt that his crème brû·lée was to become a disciple for Christ. He set his sights only on this, knowing without a doubt what he needed to do to achieve the ultimate goal.
By now you know that your crème brû·lée is your goal in life. It is what your heart says you need to do with your life. Whether it is a plumber … a doctor … a school teacher … a vet … a janitor, whatever the goal, you need to set your eyes on the task and push ahead. No matter what life throws at you, you know what you need to do in order to achieve your crème brû·lée. It doesn’t matter how long it took you to come to this realization … it doesn’t matter whence you came from. It only matters that you know now and what you do about it.
You now know what your crème brû·lée is and you are set on pushing ahead. But what happens when life sucker punches you and robs you of the opportunity to achieve your crème brû·lée? What do you do then? How does a person who has trained for years upon years to be an Olympic contestant move forward if that dream is taken from them? How does a professional football player who has been injured move forward after training all their life to play football? What now? Instead of crème brû·lée, you wake to find only jello. How can you possibly take jello and make it into crème brû·lée? Doesn’t the world tell us that crème brû·lée can never ever be jello? You don’t want jello. Jello is not an option for you, but it is the only option left. If that is the case, then how can you go on? What do you do now?
I knew someone once whose crème brû·lée was very obvious not only to them, but to everyone who came into contact with them. At a very early age in life, this individual’s intelligence set them apart from the rest. It was no doubt they would do great things in life. They would go to college and achieve their brass ring. It was white collar all the way for this individual. They knew this, their friends knew this, and their family knew this. Throughout their school years, teachers recognized their intellectual abilities. They won debates in school and they tested very high in academic circles. Jello never entered the equation. It was crème brû·lée all the way. Everything they did … everything they studied … everything in their life pointed only in one direction and it was to the top.
The problem with life is that it can be very unpredictable. If you are on the fast train to having life your way … doing things your way … and it is all about you, but you have left God out of the equation, then life can become very precarious. If your crème brû·lée is not what God had in mind for you, then you are flying solo. Or, if your crème brû·lée becomes your focal point, then sometimes we leave God no choice but to uproot us. You say, “But how can my crème brû·lée not be my focal point if I am ever to achieve it?” Nothing in life should put God 2nd in your life. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” And in Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
It was not so much that this individual was outside of God’s will for them as much as they were dabbling with one foot in the world. The Bible also states in Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So, then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
They had a love for the Lord and they were still on track for their crème brû·lée, but they were in danger of hitting a brick wall because they were not traveling the straight and narrow. They were swerving to the left and right, periodically in the wrong directions, and, therefore, they were jeopardizing everything they were destined to achieve. One day it hit them smack in the face … life sucker punched them. The road they were traveling suddenly came to a drop and crème brû·lée … their life’s work … was no longer an option. They were left with jello. It took this person awhile to gather their wits about them. It took dabbling in this and that before they accepted that jello was their only option. There was no turning back. The white collar, for now, was blue. They had to adapt to a lifestyle which was nothing they had ever pondered. It was sort of like an adult who has to learn to read and write all over again. They were at crossroads where they had to take jello and turn it into crème brû·lée. By the world’s standards, it was impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
At this junction in life, you have two choices … you either pick yourself up and continue on the only path left or you remain still and wallow in defeat. This person, though it took awhile, found that they had more talents than they ever thought. They choose the flavor of jello they desired … they reprogrammed their mindset … they redirected their path … they accepted what was … and they are today turning their jello into crème brû·lée. It was not their first choice … it was not what they would have preferred … but it was not the end of the world. They are a walking example that with Christ nothing is ever impossible. When I am down on life, I make myself remember the roads they have travelled and the determination they sought to move ahead. You are only held in prison by your mindset. You either choose what you tell yourself or you choose what God says is possible.
Going back to Paul in the Bible, you know the guy who learned later in life what his crème brû·lée was, there was a point where it appeared he was losing his crème brû·lée. Life suckered punched him but in a different way. He found himself in prison for doing exactly what God told him to do. He was on the fast track to achieving his crème brû·lée, but the devil threw him a curve ball. How did Paul know whether this was an attack or whether his road had halted? Paul had a relationship with Christ that was unshakeable. He knew what an attack from the enemy looked like. He knew without a doubt what his crème brû·lée was because he was in the perfect will of God. Therefore, when he was thrown in prison, he knew what he had to do to get out. Settling for jello at this point was not an option … it was not even a thought. Paul was not laboring in vain to build his house. God was building Paul’s house. Therefore, Paul’s house was on a solid rock and not shifting sand. When the storms raged against Paul, his solid rock kept his house in tack and his eyes never left the goal of achieving his crème brû·lée. Matthew 7:24-27 says, “Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” In the midst of one of the low points in Paul’s life, he turned to God. Right in the prison … in the middle of his trial, he glorified God. He sang praises to the Lord, and the Lord set him free. Not only did God set Paul free, but He used this detour to show others in the prison what their crème brû·lée was.
If you are at a junction in the road where you feel you have failed at achieving your crème brû·lée … if you have allowed life to pass you by … if you have wasted many years on the beaten path … if you have made mistakes you think are unforgiveable … I am here today to tell you that it is never too late. You may not have crème brû·lée from the onset but you have many options of jello in which to choose from. Seek God, allow Him to show you which flavor of jello to pursue, and then run with it. With God at the helm, you cannot go wrong. Show the world today … right this moment from wherever you are … that your God can indeed make jello into crème brû·lée. The world may say you are unworthy … they world may say it is too late … the world may say you can never be forgiven … but you are a child of the Most High King. Who are you going to believe today?
Before I close, let me say one other thing. Crème brû·lée is exciting … it is adventurous. It is also hard work and takes lots of dedication. You can enter the kingdom of God without crème brû·lée; however, it is like watching the parade passing by. Giving your heart to Christ will get you in the Kingdom but it won’t show you your crème brû·lée. Only by seeking His will for your life … only by moving forward and not sitting still … only by focusing on the needs of others, can you truly find the excitement of walking this life as a Christian. I don’t know about you, but I do not just want to be a Christian sitting and waiting on the day I get to go home and spend eternity with Christ in Heaven. I want excitement here and now … I want a life full of joy and laughter … I want to see all of God’s promises fulfilled while I am here on earth. I want to be able to overcome life’s toughest trials knowing that the sun will shine again tomorrow. I never want my light to go out. I want to constantly be climbing that rainbow looking for the pot of gold. I don’t want to be idly sitting by watching everyone else moving forward. I don’t want to live a life of defeat. I want His best now and I want that for you too!