January has ushered in the sun's return--thankful for that gift--but the wind chill is below zero--not so great for kids with cabin fever.
Despite my calling to homeschool today, a quieter, more productive existence plagues my dreams. Am I cut out for any of this? Despite my desire to be "spiritually above it", sometimes I just want to live a life of ease and recognition...instead of the exhausting, thankless job of motherhood.
Cravings for something different, something more, combat my sense of gratitude. Despite what I want, I have more than I need--a warm home, an enjoyable career, healthy kids, a loving husband, clean water, surplus clothes in the closet.
The dichotomy of life. This tug-of-war says, "See me? Pull for me!" My "wants" try to crowd over into the "need" category, and somehow I believe their masks. Sure, you belong there. God looks at me and beckons, "Does that matter to you? Why does it matter? What matters most?"
What do I really bow down to? My actions will speak louder than my oral devotion.
This verse out of 2 Kings 17:
vs. 33 They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.
It wasn't an either/or: it was a Him and them. So, I've been assessing my heart's cravings this week. What do I want? What do I feel entitled to? What do I really acknowledge as boss over my time, energy, happiness?
This month, our family has given up buying extra drinks at the store and otherwise. It's a small thing and hardly sacrificial, but I want our kids to get used to self-denial instead of self-indulgent. As a counter to our "giving up," we are "giving toward" World Vision's clothing drive. In a house where 7 weekly loads of laundry isn't the worldwide norm, our kids see that others aren't always so fortunate. Twenty shirts? Nope. Try two.
My eldest is memorizing Luke 3:11 right now: "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."
For me, the question is this: what am I willing to give up? Is that thing more important than them? Certainly, no one can (or should) play the Holy Spirit's role. For each person, the sacrifice will be different, look different. It isn't so much about what it is but how it impacts your life.
The Hunger Games third installment opened with $123 million. One hundred and twenty-three million dollars! I can't even fathom how much good that money would do to fight world hunger.
John Calvin, "The evil in our desire typically does not lie in what we want, but that we want it too much."
Sometimes what we work toward are "good" things--the idolatry comes when their shadow of influence succeeds the weight of their importance.
I won't bog you down with my list of functional gods, but I will share one small token of surrender God has asked of me this winter. This example will isolate some of you, as not everyone can relate, but in an attempt to be more vulnerable and submissive, I'll tell you all the same.
As my husband will attest, I'm not much of a diva. I don't require brand-label clothing, I highlight my own hair, use Maybelline makeup, and have only had one manicure in my whole life. I have clothes from college and shop off the clearance racks at Old Navy.
I love playing with fashion--although I don't have the funds to do so--and prefer more eclectic/vintage looks and simple attire to the "latest rage." But, every now and then I get snagged too. One such fashion trend, as you already know, is to wear tight jeans and riding boots.
Something like this...
I have several boots, but none like this. My husband even encouraged me to get some for Christmas, but I just felt God's gentle tugging, "Can you give it up? How much does it matter to you? Do you really want to look like everyone else...? Why is this so important?"
Now, I'm certainly not saying that it's wrong to buy yourself a pair of new shoes or see a movie. It's not wrong to spend money on vacations or little luxuries here and there. The question always comes down to motivation, doesn't it? Why do we do what we do? Can we release it if we're asked to? Do we feel that it's a "need"? Is my comfort king? Is my identity wrapped in what I can acquire or do?
These are questions I'm exploring this month. I have no resolutions this year, but I do wish to be more intentional and willing to give. If I can tell my kids over and over that it's not about them, can I then digest the thought when it's turned toward me? It's not about you, Kristin; it's just not.