There was a time in my life I was busy about many things. As a young wife and mom I wanted to get things right. I wanted to be right. I worked hard (very hard) to keep the house in tip-top shape. I did all the things I thought my husband would like. I took my kids to all the places that I believed would benefit their development and refine their character. I did a lot, yet I still felt like the “a lot” was not enough. At night I’d drop into bed and wonder where I’d gone wrong, and at what turn I’d missed happily-ever-after.
I can’t explain what happened then, but I think it came to the point when enough was enough. God let me go down the path of exhaustion/longing/missing-the-mark, until one day I realized I was toast without Him.
Even when I realized what I was doing wasn’t working it wasn’t like I instantly knew what the answer was. Was there a magic formula somewhere that could make everything click into place? I wondered. I hoped it was true. Hoped that out there, somewhere, was the right book, parenting curriculum, or marriage manual that would teach me what I needed to make life work.
I wanted a magic formula for my relationship with God, too. Surely there had to be some type of practice or discipline I could incorporate to make God take notice of me and to give me a little help?!
Okay, the truth is, I never voiced those things. Never prayed them, but that’s how I felt. I kept my eyes open for the one thing that would make life work, not realizing that my works would never achieve what I desired.
The transformation started with one verse.
Better one handful with tranquility
than two handfuls with toil
and chasing after the wind.
I can’t say how I felt that morning reading that verse, except that those fifteen words seemed to sum up exactly how I felt. In my mind’s eye I pictured myself running in circles, attempting to grasp happiness, success, and joy from the air that rushed by. But no matter how I grasped and struggled, my hands came up empty. So much work, and no reward.
This verse was soon followed by another. (If I didn’t know any better I would have thought
Someone was trying to tell me something.)
Be still, and know that I am God.
Those words popped up every where I looked—in books and on the radio, on stationary and even on the wall hanging my stepmom made me for Christmas. (I actually chuckled out loud when I opened my gift.)
It was clear from these two verses that there was something I needed to do: calm down. (I can clearly hear my mother’s voice telling me the same thing as a child, “Can’t you calm down?”)
The very idea frightened me. If I wasn’t doing a very good job with life running full speed ahead what would happened if I slowed? Without the numerous Bible studies, the volunteering, the kids’ extracurricular activities, and the busyness of work projects: Where would I be? Who would I be? If I couldn’t be known for what I did: What was left?
To be continued!
What about you … have you gotten to that point in your life? Are you there now? What did you do or what do you plan to do? How are you taking steps?
(photo credit here)