Life Hero

I cannot be the only person hooked on one of those color matching game apps. There’s tons: gems, candies, etc. I’m a smiling vegetable sort of girl. It’s not like I spend a ton of time on this game – at least that’s what I tell myself – but I check in pretty regularly to do some sliding and swiping. It’s satisfying, in the craziness of my life, to see things match up and disappear with ease.

There’s something I notice about myself through these games: I tend play ahead. Even as the vegetables fall, my fingers are already trying swipe my next move. And sometimes, just as I swipe that move, I see something that was even better (it’s even more annoying when the boy points out my mistake). I’ve missed the big move that opened up from the one before, something I couldn’t foresee. My rush, my loss.

I’m learning a lot about life from my Farm Heroes.

It has drawn me to another food-based saga from the Old Testament. The Israelites, wandering in the desert, were given manna every day.

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.'” (Exodus 16:4)

They were to gather and eat only the day’s worth, storing nothing, with the exception of the Sabbath, for which they could gather one extra day. It was a test of their ability to follow God’s instructions, to make sure their lives were dependent on Him and His plan. 

The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.” (Exodus 16:17-18)

Crazy enough, when they did as instructed and measured by God’s standard, they always had enough, even if they fudged a little in their gathering process. God made allowances for their human tendencies and corrected them with grace.

Deliberate disobedience did not meet such understanding.

“Some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.” (Exodus 16:20)

Looking ahead is one thing, fudging and faltering and being generally human similar. God knows we may mess up in our follow-through, and thankfully He’s full of grace. But when we choose to ignore His instructions, we risk ruining tomorrow. I’m struck by how a beautiful gift is spoiled by moving even a moment ahead without God’s blessing, and I wonder why I’m so blasé about seeking Him even in the littlest things. Do I believe He will say no? Most of the time, when I seek Him, I already know His answers. They are often aligned with my heart, thankfully. It’s the act of seeking His blessing that seems critical, that moment of just bowing my head and remember who knows more.

In Farm Heroes, most of the times my moves stay the same, though sometimes there is one I would have missed. Still, would it kill me to be more patient, and to practice that patience with the One whom it matters the most? Because a missed move is nothing; a miss-step from God is everything.

So my question is, how careful am I to practice live by daily bread, checking my schedule’s rations with the One most capable of managing them? How could I make it more of a practice to live by daily bread, and what difference could that make for a life lived light?

Good and perfect gifts

We interrupt this load of laundry to bring you a special stone:

  
Such is life with kids.

My son burst in from the backyard as I sorted through the fabric sea that had become my laundry room. “Mom, can I show you this rock?”

Of course. There’s nothing I would love more in this moment than a distraction.

“It’s really cool ’cause it’s all smooth and black and it’s got this neat line in it.”

Yes, it is really cool. In a backyard filled with jagged gray and white or milky pea gravel, it’s an utterly unique find. A gem.

“I think I’m gonna smash it.”

And off he went, set to smash this gem of a find. Also, I was now putting together the sounds of hammers I’d been hearing. Let’s just chalk that up to fostering independence and creative thinking. And LAUNDRY. 

It got me thinking, though. How often are we just like this? We have a gift (let’s say, I don’t know, writing. Or for you it might be sewing or a love of food/books/basketball/etc.). A special gem placed in our heart by the Creator. A unique and special gift

How often do we smash it with the hammer of our lives, our schedules, or feelings that this gift really doesn’t provide anything truly useful?

God is good to give us what we need. We can get so caught up in what we don’t have, but what about the things we have that we think we don’t need: gifts, and what they could give if we took the time to cherish them. We must need them, or He wouldn’t have chosen them so deliberately.

“Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed…Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created” (James 1:14, 16-18). 

God gave us our gifts, and He is solid, not shifting. His decisions are not made without the seal of perfection. In other words, He didn’t get your gift mixed up with anyone else’s, and He didn’t throw it in just because it was lying around. We were given these gifts as a sign of the many and various fruits of His creativity, no matter how we try to deceive ourselves otherwise. Their existence is their usefulness, as is their enjoyment. 

So my question is, what are you doing with those gifts? Are you cherishing them? Ignoring them? Or are you smashing them, simply because life (or your laundry-minded mom) gave you a hammer and that seems way more useful, constructive, or satisfying? What are you missing out on through that destruction?

As a side note, my son wasn’t out the door before he changed his mind. The stone remains, beautiful, as are we all.