Ok, you know that I told you that I had been working on a post for quite sometime - writing it and re-writing it - trying to get all my thoughts on paper so to speak. But I just kept hitting a wall - I didn't know how to respond to these things that God was laying on my heart and it was proving very difficult to fully wrap my mind around it in order to write about it.
But some recent developments have helped things have cleared up a bit - it has opened up a whole new perspective on the subject and I think I am now at a point that I can write about my thoughts with some clarity. This past week or two have been filled with gut wrenching tragedy - nothing that has effected me personally, just situations and valleys that other families are beginning to walk through or are right smack dab in the middle of...a 4 year old losing her battle with cancer, a mom also losing her battle with cancer and leaving behind a young family, a terrible family accident that took the life of one child and will more than likely emotionally scar the lives of her siblings. That plus all of these world events of cyclones and earthquakes that have killed thousands in countries that have so little to begin with. Just a bunch of heart-break that causes me to think about my life's journey in a new light.
Lately I have been feeling like there is too much stuff in my life. To much going on, too many things around me - both in the area of physical junk cluttering up my house and also misaligned priorities that are cluttering up my spiritual perspectives.
I am constantly picking stuff up around here - nothing has made me feel more like the glut of an American that I am than having 4 children. Now I am not saying that I didn't accumulate stuff before we started adding children to our family, but with each added member comes a new collection of stuff. Even after having a third boy, people continued to bless us with additional clothes and toys and to put it bluntly - stuff we didn't need.
Each birthday rolls around and we get more stuff to add to the piles. Thankfully the novelty of the next generation (we were the first in our families to add the grandchildren) has started to wear off a bit and the extended family does not smother the boys with gifts as they used to. But now we have added this first baby girl to the mix and her closet and drawers are already bulging with clothes and when she is old enough to play I know everyone will want to give her "girl" toys.
I really just wish I knew what to do about all this stuff - am I alone with this struggle? - probably not. Do you ever wonder why we are blessed with so much while many in the rest of the world have so little? I know I am called to be a good steward of the things I am given, I am called to use what I have towards God's plan here on earth, and I will be held accountable for the blessings I am entrusted with. The thing is, I look around and a good majority of the money and stuff we have is used for ourselves and our enjoyment, and so much of it is wasted in some way. That is the crux of the struggle that I have been having for several months now. What is God calling me to do? What does good stewardship look like?
I'm also busy right now - its a busy season for me at work - there will be lots of running around and coordinating and pressure for the next 3 weeks and then this major project will be over and hopefully I will feel like I can breathe again - and sleep without my mind interrupting me with "what ifs" and worry. But with all of this running around my family has taken a back seat at times. It's hard to get work done with so many small children competing for your attention...they want you to help them too. Just to much stuff to take care of - to some extent I enjoy the excitement of trying to get it all done, but really when I step back and look at what I have been doing there have been a lot of trade-offs and opportunities lost because I have been so job oriented instead of people oriented.
So now it all comes full circle for me I think. I promise, I'm wrapping all my thoughts up. All of these struggles really boil down to the same underlying theme. What am I investing in? When I've been looking to the Scriptures to help me answer my questions about how to use our finances and what to do with all of our junk the one verse that keeps coming back over and over is the classic - "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
What are these treasures of mine that can end up in heaven? My kids, I pray...my family, the people around me. Those are the only type of treasures that I know of that can leave this life for the next one God is preparing. Am I investing enough in my kids so that God can to touch their lives and in turn teach them to touch other lives for Him? Am I investing enough of my time, energy and resources into the treasures that God has in store for me? I can see that I am making some progress, but I can also see some pretty big holes, many inconsistencies, and a few misguided priorities that are waiting to be tackled.
There is a song that Sara Groves wrote called "Just Showed Up For My Own Life" and it has this line in it that says...[I've been] spending my time at the surface repairing the holes to a shiny veneer...I think that's what I've been doing with all my stuff - I've been using it to repair veneer instead of using it to store up the treasures.
I will close this ramble with some more of the song, cause I think it describes where I'm at...There are so many ways to hide, there are so many ways not to feel, there are so many ways to deny what is real. And I just showed up for my own life, and I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright. I'm going to live my life inspired, look for the holy in the common place. Open the windows and feel all that's honest and real until I'm truly amazed. I'm going to feel all my emotions, I'm going to look you in the eyes, I'm going to listen and hear until it's finally clear and it changes our lives.
I know that the old way of life will want to seep back in - cause truthfully its so much easier, but in spite of that constant struggle awaiting me, I'm off - off to invest more in people instead of stuff.