Sunday, December 02, 2007
This has been on my mind lately. I hope I can phrase things right...
I truly believe that sometimes we're not feeling well because we're making our own selves sick in 'small' ways.
When I was in my 20's, a young wife and mother, I confess I was one of those coupon queens. You know the type. They go to the supermarket and get $50 worth of groceries for around $5. And in a couple years' time I'd save a few hundred dollars through refunding. I even subscribed to a monthly refunding magazine.
Now, regarding refunding, I was honest only 85 (or so) percent of the time, but even less with couponing. Like, if a particular supermarket printed coupons in the newspaper, ones which stated, "only one coupon per family," well, I'd return to the supermarket a few times per week and use another of the same coupon, always going to a different cashier lest she recall me having already used that one-per-family discount earlier.
I know, I know... sounds like such a minor thing. But is it? I'd have to say--especially all these years later--no, it is not a tiny thing. Especially if God was there convicting me to only use one coupon as was stated clearly.
The problem? My head. It said, "Hey! We don't have much money. And groceries are too expensive, anyway. And everybody does this. And it's such a teensy thing. And the store won't even notice, what with all their paperwork and thousands of items on their shelves."
Yet here's what mattered most. God was convicting me not to cheat with coupons--but I ignored Him. And if I ignore God in one area, it becomes simple to ignore Him in others. My 20's and early 30's were often hard years for me emotionally--and well, duh. How ignorant to expect God to bless me in my disobedience (and my acting in fear, not faith)...
... and then wonder, "Why don't I feel quite right anymore? Why have I lost my joy? Why don't I feel as close to God the way I used to?"
And now, oh my--do you think I could live with myself if I cheated with coupons? Uh, no. Over the years I've asked God to do whatever it takes to help me retain my integrity. Whatever it takes. And well, you go and ask something like that and you'll experience a whole lot of humbling adventures. I'm warning you.
But I'd rather live no other way.
Other areas which appear tiny, but could actually be huge by ignoring conviction?
Taking home pens or staplers or towels (etc.) from our workplace, motels, places of business.
Sneaking that muffin or Sprite out of buffet-type restaurants (when it's meant only to be eaten inside).
Speaking negatively about other Christians--yes, even televangelists (the easiest targets on Earth, many who win thousands to the Lord every year).
Gossiping about people we know--giving our opinion about their 'mistakes' to our other friends.
Walking past someone who needs help (when God convicts us to stop and at least ask if there's something we can do).
Taking two when the sign says, "Take one."
Snapping rudely, regularly at our spouse.
Not letting the cashier know when she's handed over too much money with our change.
Expecting non-Christians to act godly and criticizing them in our blog when they don't.
Well, you know. That kind of stuff. For me, when I do any of those things, even though the act, in itself, appears small, I feel such enormous conviction--like a piano is being lowered onto my head.
And I'm thankful. For, largely due to that (I believe), my 40's has been my best, most enjoyable decade so far.
"...the little foxes... spoil the vines..." ... Song of Solomon 2:15
"For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." ... Matthew 12:37
"Love is patient, love is kind..." 1 Corinthians 13:4