Keep on Swimming. . .

everyday life inside the fishbowl

Thursday Thoughts: This Too Shall Pass. . .

on September 5, 2013

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}

ImageYou know that feeling when you walk into a room and see blue marker all over the placemat and spoon indentations all over your kitchen table. . . And I think to myself again how glad I am that we didn’t spend a lot of money on the table ($50 at Salvation Army!). It’s a nice, sturdy oak table, but it’s not fancy. Kids will do what kids will do (although I’ve been pretty impressed so far with the lack of damage!).

But then Calvin broke my big, beautiful apothecary jar that I recently bought on sale because the cute little guy wanted to “look at the little pumpkins” I had just put in there. Then Mackenna (1) broke one of my large, decorative pumpkins. This was all after Calvin told me, “Look, Mommy, I coloring,” and I turned around to see Calvin drawing a line (thankfully in chalk) on my brand-new couch that had literally been delivered only a couple hours before.

So I was thinking about my slightly beat-up table and chairs, our Salvation Army TV stand, Calvin’s miscellaneous bedroom furniture. . . and I thought to myself that this is just a stage. {Our living room is our exception. We wanted a comfortable, cozy area with lots of seating, so we can have people over regularly.} When I get all tensed up as I see my furniture {especially the living room furniture!} getting beat up, I just remember the phrase that every older woman tells a younger mom: “This too shall pass.” One day, I will be able to have nicer furniture; decorate without littles in mind; not worry about keeping every pen, crayon, and marker out of reach. . . because this stage is just a temporary reality. If I cling too closely to my furniture, I’m going to be disappointed {no matter how much I teach my children}, because it is quite possible and likely that something is going to be ruined.

This thought led me to another thought: This present life is also a temporary reality. This too shall pass. So am I clinging too closely to that which will pass? Do I get so focused on my daily routine that I forget about what really matters–the eternal realities? Last Sunday I taught our kids’ Sunday School class. We studied Isaiah 40:6-8:

A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

I need to remember that my time on earth is short. This will help me in two ways:

  1. I should not get bogged down in the temporary realities of life. I should not cling too closely to this temporary life–even the good things. If I get so bogged down in perfect house, perfect size, perfect educational programs, perfect blog, perfect health, perfect financial security. . . then my focus becomes short-sighted. I start to forget all that will soon pass. I should rather be treasuring the eternal Word of God, which will be evidenced by my propagation of the Gospel and my obedience to it.
  2. It will help me make the most of my opportunities in this temporary reality. This, I think, is a natural result of the first lesson. If I am not bogged down in the temporary realities of life, then I am not clinging too closely to the things of this life, and then I naturally use this life for investment in eternal prospects. Imagine if we applied this thinking regularly with our children. When Calvin is beating the spoon on the table, I could get very angry because he is ruining our table. Or, I could {remembering that he is only three and the table makes a great drum in his eyes} take the time to teach him respect for others’ property. I can teach him to be careful, not careless. These are (“eternal”) character qualities which will benefit him in his “next stage” of life.If we shift our focus from our present temporary realities to the next stage of our existence–the eternal reality, it should help us make the most of the present reality. We should turn our routine lives’ goal into eternal investing. We can focus on discipling our children and involving them in ministry. We can focus on evangelizing the lost around us. We can be willing to part with some of the niceties we spend our extra cash on in order to help propagate the Gospel.

So, what are we clinging to? Are we guarding what we have so carefully that we forget that something better is coming? Or, do we use the time and resources that we have to invest in what is far better anyway?

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2 responses to “Thursday Thoughts: This Too Shall Pass. . .

  1. Tammy W. says:

    Such a great reminder! There’s a line in a Getty song called “Simple Living”: “And when I cling to what I have/ Please wrest it quickly from my grasp./ I’d rather lose all the things of earth/ And claim the things of Heaven.”

    I too have to constantly fight covetousness, along w/ the unique priorities of this fun-but-sometimes-frustrating stage of life. Have you ever read “Loving the Little Years”?

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