Life throws its fastballs, it comes with its pitfalls – but every day is surrounded in great joy and blessings. The question is, are we in line ready to receive our blessings? If there’s one thing the world today could collectively agree on, it might be that nobody sees a long line and says “oh boy! let’s jump in!” I don’t believe it’s as much as a pride issue as it is simple impatience.
My husband, Chris, and I spent Christmas weekend in Raleigh with two of our very closest friends. One of them said something that didn’t strike me until this morning, as I sat down to connect with God. When telling us about the North Carolina state fair that they went to and how extraordinarily long all of the lines were, she said, “we knew we would wait in line for one thing, and we had to decide exactly what that would be.” A pretty huge decision, if you ask me. It probably took near an hour in all of the lines at this fair.
God gave me a vision of me waiting in line for what He has in store for me. Would I be patient enough to wait in line? And after I received what I had been so longing for, would I loop back around to stand in the back of the line and begin again with a thankful heart? This vision can be seen in so many different ways. It’s caused me to rethink some things. If God’s gift for me is smaller than I expected, would I still walk away thankful? How do I align myself to appreciate everything God has to give me, and how do I go about being so careful in my decisions that I don’t pull myself out of line to begin all over again?
Life has been all but a huge disaster for me as I went through high school and into the years of young “adulthood” partying and choosing the shortest paths to the least-lasting highs and happiness. I gladly chose the shortest lines and while I believed I was receiving the best gifts, they absolutely pale in comparison to the blessings God had stored away for me. It wasn’t until I got married that my eyes began to peel back the blinded lens and see the real war that is constantly fighting for my mind and heart.
In marriage, choosing the easy route will almost always result in later destruction. What I choose to ignore yesterday will come back in greater force in the weeks to come. What my husband and I are too impatient to see through to fruition will always leave us wanting more and becoming disappointed of the life we are creating. It’s the long, rough, drawn-out lines that we begin and end together that quite literally change the wind’s direction around us and send us off to greater destinations. Marriage taught me that every single morning is a new day to die to myself and choose the path God has designed for me and mine. Although it’s something I’ve learned, it’s not always something that I practice.
When it comes to my life and I look back at the past year, I have failed. I have jumped out of line time and time again. I have created my own destinations with no lines! No waiting necessary… kind of like fast food. It’s good for a while, but the more I eat it, the more sluggish and unappreciative I become. It’s those meals that take hours of preparation that are eaten with such gratefulness and the sigh of “mmm” with every bite that leave us with a lasting impression. God has delightful meals for my soul and too often am I choosing the fast-food lane. When I choose to ignore my soul’s cries and opt for a quicker fix, it doesn’t last nearly as long and it doesn’t have half the effect that a great meal would. I don’t know about you, but my husband and I rarely look back on fast-food meals weeks later and say “remember how good that processed hamburger was?” It’s the meals we work on together and prepare for that we can look back on in the coming weeks, and even months!
I’m using food as an example to God’s blessings, but the fact of it is, I need to eat to survive, we all do. As Christians, sometimes Sunday becomes the only meal we eat. By the time Wednesday comes, Sunday’s message might be crumbs that are slowly being swept away. And while we may be hungry for God’s Word – why is it so easy to starve ourselves?
I’m challenging myself this year to make huge strides in my poor attempts at spending time with God. I can pray all I want, I can give advice to those in need, and I can have good intentions – but I will slowly become sluggish in all of those actions if I don’t continue to feed my spirit with His knowledge.
“To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding;
To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion–A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles.The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”Proverbs 1:2-7