Less is More
I have a dear friend who recently learned that she has a very serious and life-threatening health condition. She found this out when she had a stroke, immediately followed by three TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attacks or "warning strokes"). During the stroke, she was unable to speak and was temporarily paralyzed. There was no warning; she didn't even feel it coming on. For the past few weeks, she has undergone every test imaginable with the hopes of ruling out various possible conditions in an attempt to identify what is causing the strokes so that it can be treated and managed. The doctors still don't know, but feel they are getting closer to a diagnosis.
A very successful business woman, she has been striving all of her life. She has often struggled with the need to control her circumstances, and has desperately sought to understand the things that have happened to her that were beyond her control. She has suffered many hardships in her lifetime and has relied on her own strength to carry her through most of them. Until now. In a conversation the other day, she said to me that through this, she has finally discovered the the strength of God's love and the importance of relationship, and has completely surrendered everything to God. She no longer cares about all her job titles, the praise and accolades she has received for her outstanding performance over the years or how much money she makes. More importantly, she doesn't feel the need to have everything figured out anymore. All she wants to do is spend time with her husband, ride her horses and have a deep and meaningful relationship with God until God reveals what He has in store next.
In these uncertain and trying times, so many people are struggling with loss - loss of jobs, reliable income, homes, possessions, etc. Sadly, the stress resulting from these losses has affected the health of many, and in some cases has even resulted in death or suicide. But, as my friend recently discovered, God tells us less truly is more. There is a shift taking place all around us - a shift from striving, materialism and acquiring wealth to survival for some, or a search for love, meaning and purpose for others. And, in many cases it is happening to the most unlikely people - educated, wealthy, professionals who thought that their degrees, certificates, achievements, money, power, and possessions would protect them. The truth is that none of us are immune.
God knew that we would struggle with placing too much value on the things of this world and that it would interfere with our relationships. In 1 John 2:15-17 (The Message translation) it says, "Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world - wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important - has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out - but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity."
Whether we struggle with striving, achievement, wealth, materialism, accolades, status, putting on a facade, or "keeping up with the Joneses", we are all slaves to the world and fall victim to sin because these things become idols or false gods that interfere with our relationship with the one true God. Exodus 34:14 says, "Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Our God is jealous because He loves us so incredibly much. He wants all of our heart and doesn't want anything to interfere or damage our relationship with Him. According to his Word, those who come to understand that the love they have in God and those around them means more than anything else will be the ones who will not only weather the storm, but will prosper in the end. As it is written in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
At our upcoming women's wellness retreat entitled "Becoming Healthy & Whole", we will spend time investing in our relationship with God as we take an honest inventory of our mind, heart, body, and spirit in order to discover health and whole person wellness. We will also learn how to strip away those things that cause interference so that we can form more meaningful and intimate relationships with God and others. For more information or to register, click on the "Upcoming Events" tab.
*Had a health scare or spiritual wake-up call? Comment here.