When I write, just to be clear, I am writing from my heart, flaws and all. I have a certain understanding of life based on my experience and who I believe God to be. I don’t claim to be a scholar or “right” on theological issues. My husband, who has a masters degree in theology/philosophy and preached weekly for 20 years, always maintained the stance that even though he is speaking the truth on issues he believes in, there are plenty of other smart and spiritual leaders that believe and teach something different and even opposite. The best he, or I, can do is to remain humble and open and teachable about what we hold as truth.
I guess this is important for me to explain because, as I was preparing to write today, I looked up a scripture I thought supported what I wanted to emphasize and ended up thoroughly confused and doubtful after reading what several commentaries said about it. In the end, I decided I will write from what I believe to be true based on what I have learned and studied and experienced over the years. Take what you like and leave the rest.
So, since all that felt a bit serious, let us take a sharp left turn and talk about Big Lots (a Midwest chain specializing in closeout retail–read “cheap”). Or maybe I should start from the beginning. I began my day like any other morning. I made my coffee and sat on my couch ready to read, meditate, and connect with God before the day got going. But before I picked up a book I sat and stared out the window for quite sometime. There was something going on inside me that made me resistant to praying, reading or focusing on my soul or the real stuff of life. I found myself compulsively checking my emails, and Facebook and decided I absolutely needed to order a couple things on Amazon. I then transitioned into work tasks that I told myself needed to get done immediately (even though it was 7:30 in the morning). Every single time I began to reach for a book or bring my attention to spiritual matters, I found something else to do. I did this for the next hour or so, just long enough to have to get ready to show a house to some clients. I said a quick, pinkie-swear prayer to God, telling Him I would check in with him later in the day, which never happened.
Anyone been in this place? Inwardly fleeing from God at every turn? I don’t even know why I was doing it, but it was an inner refusal and avoidance that was palpable.
So, fast forward to this morning as I woke, feeling compelled to make a gratitude list before I got out of bed. As I reviewed yesterday’s blessings, it dawned on me that even though I had pretty much chosen to just do my own thing and distract myself with the frivolous things of life, God did not leave me hanging.
It reminded me of the verse from the book of 2 Timothy: If we are faithless, God will remain faithful.” I know that this is bigger than the little benefits I receive in a day, but sometimes that’s how he speaks to me the loudest. Even though I put my Will above his and wouldn’t still my mind and heart long enough to really listen to him, he still showed up.
I just repainted my bedroom and got a new bedspread. It was sort of impromptu so I was trying to keep the costs low. I really needed (wanted) new white, furry pillows to match the blanket on the bed and new sheets (in the weirdest shade of Apricot you’ve ever seen). I never ever go to Big Lots but for some reason felt like I was supposed to check there. I’d already been everywhere else I could think to look. Not only did I find two pillows that exactly matched my blanket, sheets in the perfect shade of apricot, but I also found straws! I have driven an hour and a half to St. Louis just to buy IKEA straws because they are longer and thicker than the normal straws. I cannot find them anywhere else. Apparently IKEA has stopped selling them so I have been searching the internet and every grocery store in town to find some that work for my giant water cup. I found them at Big Lots. I bought 400 of them 😬.
As I reviewed my gratitude list, I also remembered other ways that God blessed me. I got a call from the hospital saying that they would carry my Soul-Selfie book in the gift shop! I wrote a contract on a house. My son had a promising job interview. And my teenage daughter agreed to go with me to Big Lots (a God-thing in more ways than one!).
So I added something else to my gratitude list. I am so grateful that even when I am not engaged in the things of God, He is always, always engaged with me. He knows and sees. He blesses because it’s in his nature to do so. I don’t have to earn or deserve his love, guidance, wisdom, attention, care, comfort, or blessings. He just gives those things to me because he loves me. I am his child and he thinks I am worth it. He thinks you are worth it too.