I had bought an Acai bowl from Juice It Up this morning and had only eaten half of what was in the bowl. I decided to save the rest for later (and by later, I mean I might not even touch it) and went to put it in the fridge… which turned into an awful mess.
I had one too many things in my hands- not a very bright idea- and as I tried placing the bowl in the refrigerator, it happened… the bowl tipped over.
A chunk of acai smoothie and berries fell out of the bowl. (Thank God it wasn’t the entire bowl)
What. A. Mess.
I let out an angry sigh, got up, placed the other items I was carrying on top of a table (what I should have done in the first place), went to the drawers to get some napkins, and went back to clean up the mess.
I underestimated the mess I had caused. I realized I needed more napkins after attempting to clean the mess up with only two napkins, & the acai snoothie had now leaked to the floor.
I got more napkins, and tried cleaning up the mess again. I could feel my frustration rising at the inconvenience that I myself had caused. But this was my own mess, and I knew I had to clean it up.
While I managed to clean up the rest of the mess, the clean up didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. This time, I spread the smoothie around, leaving traces of a red/purple-ish color on the floor and the refrigerator, and I got the stuff on the sleeve of my father’s jacket, which I’d borrowed for half the day.
I was mainly frustrated by the inconvenience of it all. I was tired, I wanted to take a nap, and I wanted to start working on my blog post for the day.
But as I was cleaning up the mess I’d caused, a thought hit me- how often do I create messes in my own life that I attempt to fix but only make worse?
I looked at the bowl and thought of it as my life and everything in it. I looked at the acai smoothie on the floor and in the refrigerator and thought of it as the outcomes/ consequences of decisions/choices in my life. I looked at the napkins and thought of them as the ways I try to “fix” and clean up my messes.
And it hit me… I do a terrible job at trying to fix problems in my life.
Whether that mess may be relationships that need to be mended or analyzed, financial habits that need to be corrected, health issues that needs to be addressed carefully, or long-term thinking habits that need to be done away with, I STINK at fixing them on my own.
I kept crying to God, telling Him how many problems I have on my plate. I kept telling Him how much I was trying to do/accomplish. I kept reminding Him of everything I’d done to get to a better place…
…and I failed to notice how little I was allowing Him to do. In my own mind, I’d thought that if I tried fixing certain problems, then God would simply bless my efforts. Yet I failed to ASK and find out what He’d want me to do first.
If I wanted to quit certain spending habits, I couldn’t just ask God to keep me from spending, then go and spend money, and beg him afterwards to help me not to do it again.
If I wanted to tackle any of my health issues, I couldn’t just simply ask Him to keep me healthy if I wasn’t willing to tackle some of the underlying roots of my health choices.
If my thoughts toward myself and others in my life are negative, I couldn’t simply ask God to help me love and forgive again and again, even if I was feeling angry and hurt.
If I wanted to stop spending money on unnecessary things, the trick wasn’t just praying to God to keep me from spending, it would mean removing myself from tempting situations. It might also mean RETURNING items I’d bought… which was incredibly embarrassing and painful.
If I wanted to tackle health issues, i needed to develop the discipline to do it. Fearing that I could get sick or that the worse could happen to me was going to be of no help either, and the frustration and worry that followed those thoughts could eventually make my fears a reality.
And if I wanted to tackle those negative thoughts, or any terrible thought about myself and others, I needed to start getting acquainted with God’s word.
I’d been told by one of my close mentors and pastors that behind every self-defeating & negative thought, there is a lie that needs to be confronted and tackled with the word of God.
When I put his words of advice into action, I realized the importance of relying on God’s power and strength rather than my own. I realized why Satan was going through all the trouble of making me believe that I could fix my problems, and then harrassing my mind with self-defeating thoughts when I’d try fixing my problems.
You’re probably familiar with Matthew 6:33- the famous bible verse that you’ve probably heard more than once.
“But seek first the Kingdom of God & His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
I’ve heard that bible verse more times than I can count. But… it didn’t hit me till recently that while I was “attempting” to seek God, the Kingdom, and His Righteousness… I was still missing a HUGE point.
When I read the other verses surrounding Matthew 6:33, I realized that I was trying to do Christianity in my own strength.
““Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV
God wants to take care of me. He wants to provide for me. He wants to tackle the hard things in life for me. He wants to heal me from the wounds of the past. He doesn’t want me to spend my time worrying about problems I can’t fix.
But He does want me to fight back against every temptation, against every self-defeating habit and thought, and against the schemes of Satan… while relying firmly on Him.
Yes, He does want me to seek Him, His Kingdom, and His Righteousness, but not on my own! Not in my own strength! It was never His will for me to figure it out on my own! And it was never His will for me to tackle my life issues miserably, while punishing myself every time I get the chance.
Today, I am taking a step back. To gain perspective. To relax. To stop thinking it ALL depends on me. And to start allowing God to be God.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
I Corinthians 10:31