Big Moments Make Big Lives
“It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum becuase he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” — C.S. Lewis
My son couldn’t save money if his life depended on it. He’s nine years old and every dollar represents an opportunity to acquire some little trinket that, in two days, will be forgotten or lost. You wouldn’t believe the amount of anxiety and stress that comes with walking the aisles of Walmart with five, one dollar bills crumpled up into a ball in his sweaty little hands.
When we get to the toy aisle, I set a ten minute timer on my phone that only serves as a trigger for my own rage when it goes off and we are no closer to deciding on a purchase. Every row must be walked, every toy must be touched, hands wiped with Lysol, repeat. There are tears from insufficient funds, and manipulation of siblings into giving up their cash. You’ve probably been there.
Then the time comes when a toy is chosen. I plead with my son to save his money for a better purchase. I literally do this every time. It’s a exercise in futility. Sometimes, I’ll even offer to match his $5 dollars so he can get a $10 dollar toy. You wouldn’t believe the look in his eyes.
He gets so excited when I match the money he’s saved. My son has no idea that I’ve got hundreds in the bank. The $5 he’s content with is insignificat to me. Now think about God, “who is able to do immeasurable more than all we can ask or imagine…”
But what is possible? Am I asking for the right thing? Is what I want aligned with what He wants? Because I’m still asking for more and time is running out! It’s in this tension that so many of us live.
Truth is, these are fun questions to think through. But the concepts are lofty, and far too fluffy for me to get my brain around. Lately I’ve been asking for daily revelation, not life purpose. And honestly, I’m becoming convinced that if you seek revelation, you’ll get purpose in the process. Most of the time, I’m much more consumed by the next few years than I am with the next few hours. There’s pretty clear Biblical guidance against that one (Matt 6:34)…it’s just easier said than done.
Problem is, when you’ve got your eyes set on the horizon, you can’t see your feet.
The next step is the one that matters most. Now, I’m not saying that planning for the future is bad. Proverbs 16:9 says that we plan our course, but the Lord establishes our steps. Planning helps us understand what the next step should be. But all I can control is what’s happening right now, and I want the Lord to establish my steps, not my plan. Establishing requires the kind of movement that can’t happen around a whiteboard.
A few months back, I was praying about all this stuff…my anxiety about the future and my deep (and often misplaced) desire to feel valued and have a “big” life. As I was praying, I felt the Lord say, “You handle the ‘yes’ and I’ll handle the yeild.” That’s all any of us can do anyway. Just put a big, fat “yes” in our hearts for the Lord and His purposes in our lives. Then pray that the Lord, as He promised to do, will establish our steps.
I wonder if that’s the way to get ahold of the “infinite joy” that C.S. Lewis is talking about. Maybe it’s all about the “yes,” and then two things that me or my nine year old haven’t quite mastered:
He’s still speaking. I’m trying desperately to listen — to ask for big moments, not the big picture.
Big moments will, over the years, turn into big lives. When I pause for a minute to reflect on my life, I’ve seen His hand, I’ve seen him establishing the steps, weaving this beautiful story together. And you know what? It IS more than I could have imagined or done on my own. We might not always see the “infinitely more” in the moments, but I believe we will see them in the tapestry — in lives surrendered to the listening and obeying.