For 5 days I obsessed and read reviews and researched and price checked. Google was ever before me.
For 5 days I worried and fretted over whether I was making the right decision.
Would I regret it?
Would I find a better option if I looked into it more?
Would it cause more harm than benefit?
But ultimately, it was perfect. Exactly what I NEEDED. Finally.
Korean Face Wash.
Repeat: Korean Face Wash.
You see, I used to have perfect skin (sorry, it’s the truth). Then I had kids and that all went to hell (again, sorry, but it’s the truth). And apparently my vain self is having a hard time adjusting. So I have been fretting and truly obsessing over what to do. Subconsciously I have been convinced that by solving my adult acne, I will be happier. My stars will finally align.
I write this tongue in cheek, but the truth is, I struggle with this all the time. Last month, it was a storage container for books beside my bed. Obviously then I would be able to control clutter and ultimately become brilliant by reading more at night.
-Back of door jewelry organizer that will hold 140 pieces.
-Perfect toy bins that are stylish, labeled, kid proof, and will magically sort themselves.
-Container store elfa system, which I can’t afford, to set my closet up for permanent organizing success.
-Homemade cleaning recipes that will save me thousands and solve all our budget struggles.
-The perfect essential oil company.
-Stainless steel kids water bottle. Because plastic. Duh.
-Day planner. Oh sweet day planner.
You see, somewhere on this road, I’ve believed that I can bring contentment to my heart and peace to my world with the perfect menu planning system. That I will have order and feel rested and satisfied, if I can just get the boys’ clothes cleaned out and find the best curling iron for my new hair cut. So I limp along, illuminated by the glow of my laptop. Filling my time, my precious memory and brain space with product reviews and the battle of 4 stars versus 3 stars. And I have convinced myself that these things are so important. So NECESSARY.
You might think you know where this is headed. A guilt inducing post about the insignificant versus important things in our lives—our need for perspective. And while there is obviously a lesson there, this is more about a pondering going on in my heart. I’ve noticed some patterns in myself. One, is that this coveting heart of mine always wants more. More things to satisfy this thirst I have. A thirst our world says can be quenched by what it has to offer. Yet with each new thing, I find that all that glitters is definitely not gold. And I search on for my next treasure. The next “need” to fill.
The second, is I’m starting to see that there is almost always a bigger issue behind the current problem I seek to solve. I’m discovering I really do believe I can cure the chaos in my heart, or that I will feel at peace with and in myself, by correcting this thing I’ve decided is causing the exhaustion in me. For example, finally landing on the best way to organize my pantry will fix my issues with feeling stressed at the end of the month when I grocery shop. Which will ultimately fix my life, of course. But I’ve learned it won’t deal with the real issue. The Lord has been gently humbling me and revealing the real issue is the guilt I feel with overspending and waste. Sure, while organizing my pantry will be helpful for my family, I want to deal with my heart and why I may be buying things in an attempt to bring me joy. Make sense?
I begin to wonder where this is coming from. Outside of my thirst for “stuff”, though that’s obviously a piece of it, what is the root of me believing that I have to be “more”? More organized, more productive, more attractive. More. Why do I think that being “more” will truly solve the deepest longings in my heart?
“the heart is deceitful ABOVE ALL THINGS, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Jeremiah 17:9 emphasis mine.
Regardless of what you think of the Bible, we can all probably agree that this verse speaks deeply to something that most of us know, but don’t have words for. My heart is actually not trustworthy. We reside in a world that says, “just follow your heart.” “Trust your gut.” “If it ‘feels’ right, it is.” On and on.
But this verse says just the opposite. Your heart will deceive you. It will let you get swept up in a moment of regrettable passion. It will let you be stubborn and prideful and selfish. It will tell you that you have to BE more to be loved, to DO more to be successful, and to HAVE more to be happy. It will let you believe that YOU are the solution to all of your problems.
This verse has often been a discouraging thing for me. Because I desperately want to trust in what our world says. That my heart is all lovely and romantic and pure. That it’s not chipped and damaged by my past, my flesh, my selfishness, and my sin. That it’s not under attack or vulnerable to be lead astray. And because I want that, I go in search of cheap fixatives to glue my broken pieces together. And trust me, they are terrible adhesives. Like skin care. Like relationships, or jobs, or degrees, or houses.
So if my heart is more deceptive than anything else, what or whom can I trust?
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
You see, we aren’t left alone to just wade through the murky, confusing rivers of our hearts.
There is a hope accessible to us that is so much greater than what’s found in this “more” struggle we face. And thank goodness that it is not about what we do, but about who we trust.
I need to plant myself in reaching distance of water. Sometimes I look back on a day and feel like it owned me. There is disappointment in my accomplishments and my attitudes. The to do’s are still crushing and I feel frustration with what I have given my time to. I have trusted in only myself for success. Often this leads to shame but today I want it to point me to evaluating.
Do my priorities or ways that I am planning my time, set me up for fear and anxiety and defeat? Or for forgiveness, reality and hope? Do my plans give opportunity for me to connect to my well of strength, my family, and my community? To rest my weary bones? When the answer is no, I can see that these are the times I am most susceptible to choose these little distractions in avoidance of my greater struggles. I can see I never even had a chance to reach for water given how I structured, or in my case, did not structure my days.
If this sounds familiar, I want to encourage you to do something. Evaluate your days. What is your heart distracting you with? Ask God to show you where you are lacking trust or maybe discipline. And then…plant yourself by the water. Thrust those roots in deep. And ultimately, do not give up! Seek out deep community that is challenging and ultimately points you back to water. Remember, we are not made to do this alone.
This is the kind of glue that will hold the pieces of my heart together.
So ponder with me.
What are the things that I’m using to satisfy my heart that won’t?
What are the hidden issues that I’m covering up by distracting myself with the peripheral?
Am I trying desperately to control the minor things, when it’s perhap the major that needs to be addressed?
Today it’s Korean face wash.