I love quotes. They simply sum up life in a few sentences. They also remind us of how cognizant we should be but are not.
Simplicity is a goal that either takes great concentration and effort or becomes a necessity. Mine has become the latter. Right after my last post about my goals for 2018 my husband went in for hernia surgery and due to some complications we spent the entire month of January in the hospital. It was not a great way to begin the year, let alone my goals.
I quickly became aware that I was not going to get my closets cleaned out, the garage put in order or even clean out my desk. I was not going to plan meals, send out birthday cards on time or make my grandchildren anything by hand this year. All I was going to accomplish, at that point, was making sure I had an extra change of underwear with me at the hospital.
But God is good. He understands my desire for simplicity, even if it did become a necessity more than a desire. He helped me to see that when life boils down to just surviving and helping someone recover you find the time to do the things that really matter and you just ignore the rest. No, I don’t want to say ignore; that’s not really what you do. It’s more like you sigh heavily, feel the pang of guilt, but allow yourself to move on because you have no choice.
I want to write but I feel overwhelmed. Still, I want to share my heart in words. I can’t tell you why. I only know it is an inherent gene that God planted long ago. I simply want to write. So today, I’m going to write…simply. Jesus taught us that all of the laws and the prophets hang on just two simple commandments; love God and love others. Jesus was the master of simplicity. I can only hope to be as good at that as He is.
Verse: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Love God: Do you love God as much as he loves you? Could you give up everything important to you, for him?
Love People: If God loves “the world” that much he probably loves the guy in the next room with the obnoxious voice, your ex-spouse, and that annoying girl you still hate from high school. Should you consider how you feel about the people God loves?
Prayer: Father, thank you for your gift of everlasting life despite the way I treat others sometimes. Please help me to see the way you see so that I can love the way you love.
I love to shop. I love it so much that I use it as my down time, my celebration and my pacifier. It is really not healthy even though I don’t really buy much. In fact, my husband and my mother have both noted that I can “nickle and dime” myself to death. Still, it seems I can hear the Spirit whispering when I’m moving through the isles, “Are you sure you really need that?”
And, of course, I usually don’t.
Barring the story of the “good shepherd” and how he always sees to the needs of his flock, I attempt to remind myself that this time it’s more than that. This time when I read, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” (Psalm 23:1) I realize that believing this small phrase is a matter of trust, not acquiesce. It’s not about sitting passively wishing I had more but of trusting that if I really need it, I will have it.
I’m not sure if you’re like me but I know I’m not that person…the one that waits to see if I really need it. I am a Preparer; an obsessed version of the good boy scout. Ask me, at any given time, what I have in my purse and I’m sure I will be able to bring forth something odd and/or only necessary if the sun goes down at exactly 7:19 pm. So the idea of passing up something in the store that I might, at some point, want to use is really difficult for me. (How many extra measuring tapes and boxes that look like books can one use, you say?)
“I shall not want…”, it’s not a command, it’s a promise.
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. —Psalm 118:24
Hi, my name is Dee, and I am a control addict [hello Dee]. It’s been 10 minutes and 21 seconds since my last attempt to control a situation. I have alienated friends, family, and strangers with my addiction. I know it’s all an illusion but I can’t help myself, it’s a disease.
Okay, seriously, I have not alienated people (because I also like to control whether I’m liked or not) but I have gone through some major emotional pain trying to make things come out the way I want them to be.
So the other day I was reading this scripture verse and it suddenly hit me to put the emphasis in another part of the sentence. THIS is the day the Lord has made.
As in, this is the day the Lord has made…(Yes, I’m sure you would like this day to be a different kind of day)… Let us rejoice and be glad in it….(So, be grateful for this type of day and know that I have a plan.)
Oh, so this isn’t a sentence only meant to praise God but also to give up your control issues?
ME: No! This is not working out right! Oh God, I don’t think I can do this!
GOD: Relax, I’ve got this. This is the day I made.
ME: But if this happens everything will be ruined!
GOD: But this is the day I have made.
ME: I can’t see any good come of this! It’s painful for me and uncomfortable for them.
GOD: Every way of a man is right in his own eyes but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts*. This is the reason I have made this day.
ME: But, what if…
GOD: Nevertheless, this is the day I have made.
Hi, my name is Dee, and I am a control addict [hello Dee]. It’s been 5 minutes since my last attempt to control a situation and God loves me anyway. Lucky for me He forgives my attempts to control Him too.
I am often reminded, in my stupor of personal wallowing, that the fact that I have plans for my future is of no consequence to God. It’s not that He doesn’t let us choose our future, it’s that He is, after all, a Father.
When my college-age daughter comes to me with a plan that I believe will ultimately not be good for her I have two choices; I can support her decision-making process (even while telling her how I feel) or I can tell her I know better than she does and that she will do it my way or not at all. I’m sure you can imagine that I would like to do the latter most of the time!
And yet our relationship has been steadily built on the premise that she is an individual and, as such, may want to do things differently than I would do it. Truth be told she has made some very good decisions and I’ve been proud of her. However, for the most part, I know her potential, her weaknesses and her strengths and I know what she should probably be doing so I could save her a lot of time and effort by just insisting on my course.
Here’s the glitch though. She may end up in the same place I would’ve sent her but if she doesn’t make it there on her own she will have missed the opportunity to grow in that area. What could be the most important thing she does can quickly turn into the thing she resents because it wasn’t her idea in the first place.
I think God is that parent when we try to make our own plans. He listens, He nods, He celebrates our willingness to think for ourselves and try new things, He laughs with us and cries with us when it doesn’t go as planned and He could say, “I told you so” but He never does. He actually knows us better than we can ever imagine, what we’re here for and what is best for us and yet He allows us to come to that conclusion all by ourselves.
Dee Shihady © 05/09/16
I have no need
on bended knee
to plead my cause to God above
for all He does
approved or not, by me,
my Father does with love.
So as I kneel
if I could learn
that time was made abundantly
in life, in time,
my Father knows what’s best for me.
So when I plead
an earthly cause
I have no need to want control.
A willing heart,
and trusting faith,
will bring me closer to my goal.
(c) May 2016 DWS
What is learned respect for earned humility?
The natural feeling of grateful reflection of another trial overcome?
I, too, have been humbled by the enormous
but I have failed to respect the provoked devotion
one must have to bow beneath lesser trials.
It is easy to comfort oneself after the big mountains
saying, “Look, all I had to overcome!”
But maybe in reverence we should bow our hearts,
even in an exhausted plea for comfort,
for those trials of a lesser degree,
those problems of every day,
and then experience true humility.