I have the unfortunate habit of wanting to be the best at things for which I think I have a natural talent (perceived or real). I recently got a road bike and an app that times my ride and on certain stretches of pavement. I can’t wait to get home to see if I set a new record or beat someone else’s time. Now every time I go for a bike ride, I feel like I’m in a bike race.
John Lennon said, “Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.” I’ve often thought about that quote because I think it’s true. I said it once to a friend. She looked at me thoughtfully and then said, “I don’t believe that.” I haven’t been challenged on many things in my life so when she disagreed with me, I really had to step back and consider it. Life throws us challenges and hardships but I truly believe that everything always works out in the end. Maybe not in the way we intend, but if we’re Christians, certainly in the way God intends. So I thought about that through the lens of not being a Christian and I can see why my friend disagrees. If you’re not a believer and life deals you tough stuff, you have no hope. You try to muscle your way through things in your own strength. That is a heavy load to bear. No wonder Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (NIV) He will gladly take on our burdens if we let Him. In Proverbs 3:5 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” If we take our worries and difficult circumstances to God, He will carry us through. Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
My husband and I are in the midst of raising four teenage daughters…yes, that’s right, four girls between the ages of 13 and 19. Our oldest will be 20 in a few months, so there is light at the end of the tunnel! Raising these kids always puts me in mind of where they get their sense of worthiness. It’s in our human DNA to belong. This is especially true in kids. When we belong to a group, we feel a sense of worthiness and well-being and are at peace. Instead of my kids getting their sense of belonging from the world, which is fleeting and ever changing, I want them (and me!) to get it from the Lord, who is eternal and everlasting.
Let it go…let it go. We all recognize these words from a familiar Disney movie. Words that many times are much easier sung than done! How often do we hold on to minor offenses done to us by others…many times unknown by the “offender”? We either become angry and defensive or retreat into ourselves. I am guilty of this a lot, especially the retreating part.
One time in particular comes to mind, a time years ago when my kids were little. I was running around like crazy all the time, with four girls all under the age of six. In an attempt to keep them occupied one day we made a trip to the craft store. After loading our purchases and all of the kiddos into the minivan I drove to the nearest Chick Fil A. It was then I found that my wallet was missing. My heart dropped. Not that this was an end of the world situation, but it was upsetting nonetheless. I would have to cancel all of my credit cards (having to remember which cards were in there in the first place); I’d have to get a new driver’s license (which is a huge pain when you just lost your only form of ID); I’d have to contact my health insurance company and get new ID cards…just additional things to worry about when I was already up to my eyeballs in little girls.
I took it very personally. I began to argue with her and engage in conduct unbecoming a Christian. She finally left, and I went on venting to those around me. A little while later I was talking to someone about having to miss church the next day and he joked that I was a bad Christian. I defended myself by saying, “But I love Jesus.” Even as I said those words I remembered that difficult customer. How could I say I loved Jesus if I wasn’t following His command to love one another?