Daily Devotions

My Mean Minimalist Wife

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Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)

My unsympathetic wife longs for the minimalist life. She will go on a pitching binge and if I don’t nail my stuff down, all of a sudden, my treasures are in danger of going to Goodwill.  Now, while my wife is a horrible person in this regard, I do have a tiny bit of an issue as well. I am not a hoarder, but I do find too much comfort and control from coveting my belongings for too long. Sometimes holding on to my special belongings is my attempt to hold on to the past in an unhelpful way. 

My heart breaks for the older adults who need to downsize from their larger homes. As we get older, opportunities begin to diminish. Retirement is a loss, even when it was a choice. Friends begin to die, and we are not as nimble as we used to be thirty years ago. At the same time, we are losing things, we often feel like we are not getting anything new. Young people have so much to look forward to, but as we get older, it can feel like just more of the same, and worse.

So, we make up for the loss by holding on to the images of times when we were younger, stronger, and supposedly more exciting. But it doesn’t need to be that way. The goal is not to get cleverer with hiding our hoarded objects, but to be intentional about creating new meaning and excitement in our lives.

When my back got worse, I had to give up my motorcycle. It nearly broke my heart. I had to find other avenues to find excitement. Shooting pool and playing guitar are not as exciting, but it is nice not being in traction! Rather than constantly mourning the past, God is calling us to transform our thinking and acting. Prayerfully ask God to provide new ways of retaining meaning in our lives. While some things will never be the same, other blessings just might surprise us. You don’t have to be a heartless minimalist, like my wife, but there are times when it is good to stop short of hoarding stuff and get back to enjoying life.

"I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes" - or Jim Stafford Songs

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My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Since I was a boy, I’ve had the illogical fear of needles. It took years of getting shots to not freak out when a needle comes in my direction. I can survive having my blood drawn, but it isn’t a pretty sight. One day, I was in the lab and I told the vampire lady (sorry for the slur, Pam Nagel) and I told her to tell me before she put the needle in. She asked, “Why, are you scared?” I said, “it is illogically uncomfortable, but I don’t get lightheaded anymore.” She looked at me and said, “How can you be scared, you are a pastor? You need to live your faith and trust in God!” I almost grabbed the needle and jabbed her with it.

I am continually amazed at how Christians expect other Christians to be perfect in every way. This isn’t theologically sound. The Bible is clear that we humans are imperfect creatures. The Bible expresses this idea not only in the Apostle Paul’s letters, but also in the stories of all the Biblical characters except the Messiah. Our faith is not diminished by illogical fears of heights, needles, blood, or spiders. (I am only scared of needles and blood; I am fine with spiders and heights.)

Many people have left the Christian Church because of bad theology. Our fears and foibles are not expressions of our lack of faith, but rather a reminder of our human imperfection and our need for God. The idea that perfection is possible in this world is a form of idolatry. Rather than diminish others for their imperfections, we should recognize the uniqueness of each of our imperfections that make us who we are. Pray that each of us can accept ourselves and others, even those of us who remain scared of needles.

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