This is a lie that we are fed daily in our lives, especially on social media.
If only we could get up earlier, buy this planner, take this course, or be more like our Facebook friends who seem to have it all together. Then things would be better. We would be more organized, be a better mother, our kids would behave better, get better grades etc.
It all sounds so simple.
But whatever we try, it doesn’t work. Maybe for a few days, but not long term.
It was a beautiful summer day. It was really a perfect day to be at an amusement park. It had been years since I had been to Storyland. My parents had taken me there a few times when I was just a kid but I had never taken my kids.
We had fun with our extended family, letting the kids explore the rides and also exploring the exhibits that highlighted all the popular stories we heard as kids. We saw the old woman who lived in a shoe. We crouched down low as we went through the house where Goldilocks and the three bears had their adventure.
We were walking along moving from one exhibit to the next when I suddenly realized that my six-year-old little boy was no longer with us. There was little immediate panic because we had so much family with us. There were probably twenty of us. We figured he must’ve been with somebody else. As we started to ask, “Where is Tyler?”, the mumbling went through the group and the response was always, “I don’t know”.
Even as a kid, I learned quickly that there are times of want and times of plenty, times when I had the world by the tail and times where my world was in a tailspin.
I found myself in one of those situations a few years back. In my grief, I quickly realized that prayer was really hard! Sometimes to put words together seemed nearly impossible. I knew it was crucial that I begin to take my thoughts captive.
It was then that I created a Pinterest board titled, “Inspiration”. I collected graphics of verses that became my lifeline. In the wee hours of the night, I would find myself reading through those verses. I could quickly tell that speaking these words and reading these words was actually opening my heart to begin to feel the truth in these words.
“I can’t believe it! What kind of person would steal pencils from a church?! I saw that little old lady going around and taking the pencils from the backs of the pews and putting them in her purse.”
The pastor smiled. “She isn’t stealing them. She noticed that the pencils had gotten dull and took it upon herself to take care of that need. She gathers the dull ones and takes them home to sharpen them.”
At this part of the story, I imagine Emily Litella (classic SNL) sheepishly saying, “Well, that’s quite different. Nevermind.” LOL!
I remember hearing this simple story years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. I want to be that kind of person.
See a need, fill a need.
This lady saw the dull pencils and decided, “I can help.”
If you look around you, you’ll see need everywhere. We can’t personally solve all that is wrong or broken in this world. BUT there are plenty of things that we can do to make a difference.
Standing in the kitchen after our dinner party had ended, I picked up the beautiful China plate that was my husband’s grandmother’s. We purchased it at her estate auction. I admired the sweet pink roses that patterned the milk white glass as I washed and dried the fragile family heirloom. As I was placing the plate into the cupboard for safekeeping until the next dinner, it slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor. I stood there – frozen – looking at the broken remains of what was once one of the most beautiful treasures. I was upset, and angry at myself. How could I be so careless?
I picked up the pieces and stored them in a box until maybe one day I could fix this plate in some way. My sad attempt, I guess, to make myself feel better.
One day finally came. I sat out back of the house on the picnic table. The sun was shining and the birds were chirping and I felt good about restoring this plate… into something, even if it wasn’t a plate any longer. I just couldn’t let this heirloom be trashed. I just couldn’t.
Instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore, in their land they shall possess a double portion: they shall have everlasting joy.
Isaiah 61:7 ESV
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see what God sees?
I know what I see and I don’t like it. This is what shame says to me…. “You’re an old gray haired overweight woman. I know what you did in your past. You are so ugly. You are not good for anything. You’re worthless and good for nothing, Who do you think you are to lead women? You are stupid.”
My shame list could go on and on!
So, where does those thoughts come from? The father of lies – Satan.
See, he does not want us to influence anyone for Christ – not your family, friends, people in line with you at Walmart! Satan would like nothing more than to render us useless for God. He takes great joy in seeing us wallow in our shame and self-pity – totally unproductive – to keep us isolated from others and God.