I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day, by any means … we just don’t “do” BIG holidays. I do make an effort, but Valentine’s and 4th of July and even Easter (aside from the spiritual aspect of the Resurrection!) just aren’t too fancy (or expensive) at my house. For one, we just can’t afford it … and by all means, if you CAN, go for it!! I’d love to get a dozen red roses some day or say “he went to Jared’s” (if you know that jewelry store commercial) … just because. But practically, for us, we try to enjoy the little things … the garland from the dollar bin at Target and a balloon from Dollar Tree. It’s enough right now.
I was getting my apple fritter (a 69 cent treat I allow myself when I don’t have pop tarts at home!) at the grocery store this morning, and there were several men rushing around, kind of eyes-glazed-over look, standing in front of a ga-billion flowers and stuffed animals and balloons that were on display at the front. The guy in line in front of me at the check-out paid $67 for flowers … but you know, good for him. And if that doesn’t mean he’s going into debt or depleting the needed grocery budget, then why not. At least he is doing something for those he loves …
This isn’t my personal pity party. In fact, I got a promise of a nice lunch out on Monday. It’s a federal holiday, and my husband doesn’t have to be at work until 3 p.m. We’ll use a coupon that I got from restaurant.com and enjoy a quiet lunch with just the 3 of us (MiMi doesn’t go to school on Monday, but the big kids do have a snow make-up day). Right now, in our lives, that is what it is all about. Truly savoring the special moments and the little indulgences. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy flowers or chocolate covered strawberries … but right now, I actually couldn’t enjoy them because they are just not in the budget. It is focusing on what we HAVE, not on what we don’t.
In fact, lately, I’ve been bothered by this comparison of one person to another – “the haves and have-nots of the enlightenment of wisdom and godliness” (as I like to call it!) … the one appearing superior over the other due to their exclusive choices and insights. I’ve encounter this lately among Christians due to social media. I’m not trying to judge anyone’s heart or motives (because God forbid, someone judge ME!!); but I am reading words posted on Facebook and blog posts with strong, high opinions. The “10 Reasons Why I Don’t …” or “5 Things You MUST Do To …”
Really?!?!?! Who says I shouldn’t or must or need to do … ??! If God said it, DEFINITELY! I believe it. If someone is sharing what works for them, well, then I’ll consider it; but I sure don’t have to follow suit if I don’t agree or it doesn’t fit into our family life. They aren’t any better than I am because I don’t have a list of “47 Ways that I Am Smarter Than You Because I Choose To …”.
To be clear, I’m all for people having convictions. I’m even all for lovingly sharing those convictions with others (the reasons why one believes and lives as they do), especially if one is living those standards out consistently. We all have things we do that we feel passionately about or standards that we feel our family should live by. And I’ve patiently listened and respected my myriad of friends and acquaintances who have strong and different convictions than my family does – I tend to think I’ve been pretty tolerant and respectful of this my entire Christian life. I’ve discussed convictions with a variety of people, shared my own thoughts, and even just sometimes kept my mouth shut when I didn’t agree. No big deal. I think we should be able to do this peaceably- especially if we are Christians! I’ve tried to be kind to those who are stricter than me and to those who are far more “liberally minded.” That all is between them, their family, and most of all, God.
I’m kind of tired of the denominational snobbery that exists in pockets of my very own chosen denomination (not talking about any of YOU, dear readers of the same denomination, because OF COURSE, if you are reading my blog, you ARE already wise and discerning and generally terrific).
Rick Warren (the Saddleback Church pastor, who I don’t always agree with, quite frankly) said, “You don’t have to compromise your convictions to be compassionate.” And that statement I wholeheartedly agree with.
Didn’t God Himself write in the Bible about how the world will know we are Christians: BECAUSE WE HAVE LOVE ONE FOR ANOTHER. (There is a whole slew of verses in the Bible about this!!) Tolerance of SIN or evil … no. He didn’t say that. But LOVE, for the brethern, for those we will spend eternity with!! And that’s my Valentine’s Day goal for today and continually: to love as God loves, to leave the judgment up to the One who knows hearts and motives, to not think more highly of myself than I ought. I too get proud of myself and feel pretty confident in my vast wisdom of 40+ years of living … but God sure has a way of keeping me humble each day, too. I hate the hard knocks … but I appreciate that God reminds me that I really ain’t that smart all by my little lone self. Anything I know that is good, any gift, any talent, any wisdom – He is the Source!
Perhaps I will share my thoughts about the incident that triggered this entire post … In fact, I wrote a blog post already but haven’t published it yet. Now that I’ve mentioned it, I guess I need to (after I edit some more). And here is the crux of this whole soap box I am on: Downton Abbey vs. Duck Dynasty. Yep. Sound a little ridiculous?! It probably is. Stay tuned …