P3: Psalms, Proverbs, and Prophets
The Lord gave me this message:
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
“Oh Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
At the beginning of summer I was asked to write a post for this blog. But beyond grocery lists and lunch notes, I don’t write much. And like you, I’ve been busy. I’m a working mom with a traveling husband and two little girls. Plus summer. Who was the wisecrack who dubbed it summer “break”? It’s more like “Summer Broken” or “Mostly Sunny Whirlwind Sprint to Labor Day.” Anyway, I postponed the writing opportunity in hopes they’d forget about me. They didn’t. So here I am. I wanted to say “I can’t write for you right now. I’m too shy, tired, busy…”
My daughter and I were snuggling on the couch doing our morning Bible reading. We read Noah’s ark for the six hundredth time and afterwards she excitedly questioned, “Mom, what if God asked us to build an ark right now? What would you say?” In a moment of sheer exhaustion from a sleepless night and a mile long to-do list, my knee-jerk response was, “How will I find the time to do that!? (Gulp. That was bad. Redirect.) What would you say Lucy?” My daughter responded, “Oh, Mom. You could do it. I would ask Him to make sure the lions wouldn’t bite me when they came on the ark.” (Obviously a MUCH more legitimate concern.)
Unfortunately my attitude doesn’t just stop with this blog post or ark building. Oh no. I’ve been in a Jeremiah rut. I’ve had a few too many days where my first thought is,
“If only my kids would’ve slept through the night,”
“If only my workload were lighter,”
“If only my husband were home more,”
“If only I had more time, more energy, more savings, more, more, more, more.”
Brené Brown calls this an attitude of perceived scarcity in her book Daring Greatly. (If you haven’t already, READ IT. Now.) She observes that we wake up thinking we don’t have enough, and go to bed thinking we weren’t enough and didn’t accomplish enough. And this is the same attitude we see from Jeremiah.
But just as Brown calls it perceived scarcity, it’s a lie. We have enough. We can even see that before the Lord calls Jeremiah to task, He gives affirmation. He says to Jeremiah, “I know you. Better than anyone. I have your whole life mapped out. And you are the star of this adventure! You’re My spokesman! Let’s do it!” And it’s almost like once Jeremiah heard he was going to be stretched, the rest of the message turned into the Charlie Brown teacher: “Whaa whaa whaa…”
The antidote to an attitude of scarcity is gratitude and contentment. It’s recognizing that although we don’t have everything, we have so much. We have enough. We have Jesus. And as we’ve heard many a Sunday from our own pulpit, we serve a God of the gaps. He waits for us to own our insufficiencies to make room for His glory to go on display. The Lord responds to Jeremiah telling him not to be afraid. The Lord will protect, will be with, and will provide for Jeremiah. And us.
So I readopted a practice I let go to the wayside a few years back and it has changed my mornings. Every day the first thing I say is this:
“Today is a great day. I have been given everything I need for today. God, in His sovereignty, gave me today as a gift. As a challenge. As an opportunity. As a trust. I will live today as if it were my last, so that I will one day hear the words ‘Well done my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.’ I am thankful for the gift of today.”
It’s a good day for a good day. You’ve got this. You’ve got Jesus.
Whitney is mom to Lucy and Claire, wife and reigning Yahtzee champion to her husband Phil. She is an operating room nurse who loves to cook, run, eat chocolate chip cookies and silly jokes. (What do you call an alligator in a vest? An investigator. Ha!)