I’ve been mulling over a passage of Scripture:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known unto God.
I mull over this for many reasons… for the “be careful for nothing” part —the don’t fret about anything; and the “every thing by prayer…” part —the pray about everything; and the “with thanksgiving” part — I’ve been mulling over what it really is to not worry, to pray and to pray about what I’m not worrying about and to pray about it with thanksgiving.
I have about fifty things or fifty directions I want to say or go with this matter and then I find another thought that has been swirling around in my mind… actually, thoughts — thoughts regarding the “bigger-better-more’s” of life. If we’re honest, we’d all be able to immediately bring to mind some “bigger-better-more’s” that either plague us or cause us to feel dejected, worthless or inept. I can’t think of anything that will bring a woman down faster than the reality of the “bigger-better-more” of someone or something else.
I’ve written a number of times about my dumb three-ingredient-cookies. Many years ago, when our son was first married, our daughter-in-law was making a spectacular dessert at Christmastime in our kitchen. She was in the main part of our kitchen… the production encompassed the counters, the stove and the sinks. At one end of our kitchen we have our washer & dryer and in a pinch, they, too, become kitchen prep counters. So I was standing there with my bowl of melted white chocolate and I was stirring in and coating Cocoa Puffs and mini-marshmallows. I then proceeded to drop them by spoonfuls onto the parchment paper on the dryer. All the while I was seeing the butter clarifying, the orange peel was dredged through the chocolate… just a hint of flavour… the whisks beating the dark chocolate, the mousse filling was cooling in the fridge, the dark chocolate was being shaved and curled, the mixer whipping up the eggwhites for the many layers of chocolate meringue torte….
Plop, plop, plop… spoonful after spoonful… these little treats dropped down on the paper. All the while… I would glance up to see the beautiful work and the creation of this spectacular and delicious dessert was really simply amazing to me. It was, for me, another of life’s many “bigger-better-more” moments — and there really have been many. Ironically, there’ve been so many that they really aren’t “bigger-better-more” anymore. Instead, many what used to be to me “bigger-better-more” moments are now just met with a smile: “Of course they are.” Or, “Of course they do… (or did or whatever).”
Someone gets a new this-or-that… I can just smile. No longer (hopefully/prayerfully) do I see the acquisitions or accomplishments of others as indictments against myself — and just as those things or accomplishments don’t define who they are, they also don’t define who I am not. I am not the car I drive, the house I live in, the possessions I do or don’t own. These don’t define me — and I mustn’t let them — good or bad. I’ve had to work at this decision to not be controlled by what others think, say or do — and especially not by the “bigger-better-more’s” of life. I cannot compare my self or my life or my children with other’s lives or other’s children or another’s husband or whatever. I cannot do it – not only bcz it’s a well known deep-dark spiral, but it’s also selfish and covetous — both are dangerous.
So when we’re faced with a “bigger-better-more” situation, what do we do? Do we burn with envy? Do we stammer and make excuses for why we don’t, can’t or didn’t do, buy, make, build, etc., etc., this or that? No… we must simply decide to acknowledge the fact as fact, rejoice with the person and admire the thing or whatever and leave it at that. If we don’t, we’ll be consumed with envy and discontent. And really, envy or discontent is one of the ugliest attitudes – both mentally and physically and becomes a debilitating, negative disposition. Envy is the greatest joy stealer – it robs of today’s joy and tomorrow’s hopes and clouds everything in its wake. What’s more, envy is opposite what God says we’re to do when we pray, when we talk to Him, when we make our requests known to Him. Whether we seem thankful or not, God knows our hearts and really, what’s happening with others is His concern, too. That’s just one more reason we mustn’t envy others.
And you know… most of the time, the person we think is or has “bigger-better-more” stuff really isn’t or really doesn’t have “it all together” as we assume they do. They don’t really “have it all” like we think they do. In fact, many times the people who seem to “have it all” or “have it all together” only have it that way on the outside — inside they may feel or be totally empty, they may feel or be very lost, alone, or aimless; inside they may be feeling a whole lot of things we’d never be able to imagine. Worse, they may be alone without faith in the LORD. No matter what they do or don’t have, if they don’t have Jesus, nothing else matters. That’s why it’s so dangerous to emulate the “stars” of the world, the “fashion models” and other headliners in the news.
Things aren’t always as they seem… and as I tell my children, everything seems to have a way of settling in the end. Things may go some way for a very long time, but in the end, things always settle. I tell them, when their friends have this or that or can do this or that or are always so this or that: don’t fret over that, don’t murmur over that… just be you, just be the best you God created you to be – don’t worry… be happy. Be happy for them, be happy you’re you! Anything else is selfish and covetous.
So what happened with those dumb-three-ingredient-cookies? Well, in addition to becoming my funny story and great equalizer, they all got eaten up right away… I made more and those disappeared, too. Her dessert was spectacular and was superb — whatever she makes is that way… and I’ve learned so very much and always look forward to whatever she’ll create next.
I’m never going to be it all or do it all or have it all… I’m never going to be thin enough or pretty enough or young-looking enough or clever enough or athletic enough or industrious enough —for what others might think, see or do — but by the grace of God, I will continue striving to be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication —with thanksgiving— I will be glad for wherever, or for whatever, He has for me.