Thursday, July 19, 2012

Where are you looking?

Funny how... the 3 times we toured the house before we moved in, it seemed next to perfect.  Funny how the day we got the keys, Adrian & I both began to see things that needed improvements-- as if we had a new set of lenses over our eyes.  Suddenly, the grass was embarrasingly tall, there were chips in the tile and grout, thick dust on the ceiling fixtures, the doors wouldn't close right... funny.

As the children learn to ride their bikes, I hear myself repeating, "Keep looking where you want to go!"  When they keep their eyes ahead, they maintain their balance and reach their destination.  When the look behind or down, they go... down.  

Two of my friends have posted blog entries this week about being content with what we've got.  I really enjoyed the posts (thank you H & M!).  At the same time my friends are working through that, God is working on me.  A few days ago, we left our house on the hill here at Utopia and went to some friends' house.  We had a grand evening, but as we drove home, I identified a lot of discontent in my heart.  "Our house doesn't have trees or water nearby."  "She decorates so much better than me."  "We don't have animals".  "They have been able to customize their house over time"  Wait, stop.

"May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in your sight O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer!"  -- Psalm 19.14

We have been repeating this Psalm with the children a lot over the past few months.  It is more effective to put the Word of God in their little hearts and minds than to just tell them to quit whining.  Same goes for me.

So that night driving home to one of the most beautiful houses I've ever stepped foot in, I was aghast to find discontent in my heart.  Really?  After all God has done for me, after the most recent heaping of blessings, and driving toward a home that may never feel like home because it is too nice for me ~ I am complaining?  I am whining because I don't have all the boxes unpacked, and the closet isn't organized?  Really?

I thank God when he gives me a little snapshot of my heart, because I see what a wretched and miserable, selfish and shallow person I am without Him.  Oh, how I need a Savior to save me from myself!  

I see among my peers (and in myself) the temptation to look around and see what everyone else has/does/is.  But every time we look around, we see a) someone better than us b) someone not better than us.  In our estimation.  So looking around either makes us puffed up (pride kills!) or depressed (that happens more often to me, 'cause I have so many cool friends!)

When I focus on what I don't do as a full time mom, there is a long list ~ I don't homeschool my children with finesse and confidence, have them in all sorts of activities, always shop organic, make all our food from scratch, go on long bike rides with the family, ski, sew clothing, quilt, knit, crochet, cloth diaper my babies, sew cloth diapers, milk goats, make soap and candles, can gallons of food each year, grow fantastic gardens, bring in a reliable paycheck, go dumpster diving, take quality photos, take an annual vacation....  yep, that's what my friends do!

But while I pine about what I don't do, life is slipping away, and I'm not making the most of it.  I'm not 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God!  --Hebrews 12.2

That's what I'm actually here for!  The hummingbird does not whine because he can't run like an elephant.  The worm does not complain that he can't soar like an eagle. Each part of creation is supposed to glorify God in their own way.  Romans 12 is an excellent read about how we are all needed for diverse reasons: 
"If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be...."

"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"  (Obviously not!)  Romans 9.20

If you LOVE sewing, then stitch away!  If you are GOOD at preserving food for your family, you should do it!  If you ENJOY gardening, you absolutely should!  If you derive joy out of training for marathons, go for a run!  God gave you those talents to honor Him!  (Just acknowledge Him in all your ways -Proverbs 3.6)  Don't spend any time trying to be someone else.  And don't be fooled that anybody is better than you.  We are all bought with a price, and we are not more loved because of what we do.

So thank you friends for sharing your hearts.  Thank you for reminding me to look up.  One of my favorite quotes: "It ain't heaven, 'til it's heaven, folks!"--Jon Courson  So I should not try to make this life heaven: let the weeds grow, let the spills spill, let the clothes be stained, let the tears fall ... and remember, what I've got is a wonderful way to spend time until heaven!

And sweet Heavenly Father, I'm so very sorry for having any speck of ungratefulness in my heart.  You have given me all I have, I deserve nothing, and I love you.


  1. Prov 15:23 - A word in season how sweet it is! Your words were so needed in my heart today. I have been wasting time arguing with God as to why I should bother staying alive. I don't feel important, wanted, loved, remembered or worthy. Maybe it's time to change my focus from what I'm not, to what I am through Christ. Phil 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ. In His strength, I can do His will and really, that's the main reason I am on this earth.

    Plain ole me!

  2. I just realized I failed to post the poem I wanted to share since your amazing words to my heart!

    Give me a grateful heart Lord,
    For each small favor granted,
    As years unfold may I behold,
    Life still through eyes enchanted.

    Let me find beauty in all things,
    Not too blind to see,
    The goodness in my fellowman,
    That he would find in me.

    Grant my ears remain attuned,
    To hear the smallest sigh,
    And may I lend a gentle touch,
    To those less sure than I.

    Let me remember lessons learned,
    To profit from the past,
    And may I build a bridge of dreams,
    That shall forever last.

    Let me rejoice in simple things,
    I need no wealth to buy,
    The scent of pine upon the wind,
    A burnished copper sky.

    Scarlet roses on the fence,
    Sunrise through the trees -
    Oh, Grant that I may not outgrow
    Affinity for these!

    Give me a grateful heart, Lord;
    Let me be satisfied,
    When days are less than sunny,
    And plans lie at low tide.

    Life is an adventure,
    That will lead to who knows where,
    So, give me a grateful heart, Lord,
    That I may always care.

    Author Unknown

  3. What a great post and it echoed many of the same thoughts on my own heart!

  4. What beautiful words Anna- You said far more eloquently what I have thought, but didn't have all the words to express. You are wonderful. God is proud of your example to the world of Christlike living and devotion. Bless you :)

  5. And then I have this great friend/cousin who has a spirit I admire, amazing patience, sweet sweet kiddos, makes beyond adorable babies, can homeschool, has a super awesome house with amazing views and LOTS of rooms, a wonderfully supportive husband, can cook up some pretty mean applesauce, etc...! I love you and the great accomplishments that even you can't see..

  6. Thank you Anna for being used by God to turn our hearts towards Him.