“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.”
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
I have too many clothes. We as a family have too much stuff. I remember with such fondness the children’s Christian videos called VeggieTales. Animated vegetables reenact bible stories and Christian morality tales for kids. I think I learned more from the show than my kids did. The episode that hit me between the eyes is called Madame Blueberry and features a rich, ungrateful, envious blueberry who can never have enough stuff. She only wants what all of her friends have. A stuffmart moves into her neighborhood (watch the funny video here) and she gorges on stuff. She fills her house with so much stuff that it collapses. Only when she loses everything does she see the friends she lost and the blessings she has but does not appreciate, and she becomes thankful. A thankful heart is a happy heart is the message to kids.
Hmmm. I think I would say a thankful heart is a joyful heart. Happiness is fleeting, but incredibly, joy can be found in some of the most horrible situations. Like Job who loses everything and still praises God. Like Corrie ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, who even in a concentration camp finds things to be thankful for and praises God. I have always admired this type of Christian and wondered how to have that kind of faith.
I am beginning to get a small glimpse at how faith in all circumstances is gained. I know that faith is a gift, given to us by our Creator God. But this realization is new: that the posture of thankfulness, giving thanks for all things at all times, is the beginning of the process which leads us to faith spilling into all areas of our lives. I tend to give thanks when things are going well, after a tough time. In the middle of a trial, I pray, but I pray for release from the trial, I pray for God to get me out of the situation. Perhaps I should first be praying a prayer of thanksgiving that I am alive and can breathe. Perhaps I should give thanks to God that he created this world and sustains it every day and at all times. Perhaps I should give thanks that God loves me where I am, right now in this moment. Perhaps I should give thanks that God provides, even when I don’t understand the provision. Perhaps I should give thanks for all of the small things and not worry so much about the big things. I am beginning to see that giving thanks and praising God for all things, even the ones I don’t like, is life changing.
Back to the stuff. For most of my life I have shoved anything and everything I can find into the God shaped hole that we all have. I have tried alcohol, drugs, shopping, food, time on the internet, etc. Guess what, none of them fits or makes me feel any better. Why, because what my soul is craving is God’s Presence and Love. And here’s what’s new to me: by being thankful I create the space for Him to enter.
In the last two years my primary “hole stuffer” has been shopping for clothes. How many pairs of black pants or jeans does one girl really need? You don’t want to know how many are in my closet (and neither does my husband). So, right here in this very public place, I am saying that I will not buy any clothes (or shoes!) AT ALL for one month. I want to let God in, and stand still and dare to see what will happen. Updates to follow….