The little lapel pin lay nestled in a small basket filled with more of the same, tiny metal circles that bore messages spelled out in groupings of individual words, much like the Magnetic Poetry fridge game I’ve seen for sale in stores but haven’t ever been brave enough to buy and try. Deep down I’m afraid I might not be smart enough to put the words I’m given together in a meaningful way, and who needs that kind of negative input, especially during the holidays? But as I stirred those button-sized beacons with my fingers, one truly captivated me; a picture of a radiating red heart, on top of which was the lone word “glow”.
It summed up completely the instruction I’d been hearing from God repeatedly since Thanksgiving weekend, so I grabbed it and dumped it on the counter with the rest of my fantastic finds as I tried to make my way out of the store. I considered it the best buck I’d spent all season.
Later I dug it out of the bag and set it on the windowsill over the kitchen sink, likely the place in the house I visit the most, where surely each viewing would remind me how I was to live that day. It took some time to position it correctly, tilted upward at just the right angle for the message to be visible and readable on a round object that had a tendency to roll away. When I finally had it just so, I smiled, checked to make sure the kitchen was ready for the big Christmas dinner my sons were to cook with their friends that afternoon, and headed out the door to work.
It was probably a good thing I wasn’t there to witness the meal preparation itself, but I’ve been around my sons and their friends long enough to picture the event pretty accurately. Yet somehow in all the dishtowel whacking, back slapping, elbow jabbing and food flinging, a glorious feast was prepared and served up with style. By the time I had returned home the guests had moved to the living room for what sounded like a hilarious gift exchange, so I sat at the deserted table and surveyed the damage as I downed a plate of ham and mashed potatoes. Knowing they’d object if I started the clean-up, I added my own plate and fork to the pile in the sink and told myself I’d finish what they didn’t get done in the morning, and prepared to go to bed. Lifting my eyes for one last look at my little pin, I stared in horror at the now-empty spot it had occupied on the sill.
At some point in the boisterous preparations that afternoon, it must’ve been knocked off it’s precarious perch into the sink below. Quickly I dug through the plates piled in front of me, feeling with my fingers around the pots and pans piled nearby and even sticking my hand into the muck of the garbage disposal, hoping I could rescue it before the whirling blades did their duty the next time it was turned on. All to no avail; the little treasure had simply disappeared. I consoled myself with the thoughts that it might yet reappear and that its message remained even in its absence, and went on to bed.
Perhaps the scenario hit home because the same thing had happened to me spiritually just the night before. Determined to make this last month of the year the spiritual season it was meant to be instead of just a mad dash to the December 25th finish line, I had set some goals before me to guide my behavior each day. I looked at them regularly and accomplished them as best I could, and found this Christmas season to be much more satisfying than previous ones as a result. But just the night before I had allowed myself to get caught up in the rat race once more, and soon weariness, unrealistic expectations and self-pity overtook and passed me, leaving my joy and hope stumbling along somewhere in the dust behind them. My behavior modeled my resultant mood and I was anything but the spiritual light I had hoped to be. I did look for what I’d lost, feeling around the corners of the events of the day that had knocked me off track, even reaching deep into the muck of the pressure-filled moments into which my mood had fallen,, but its presence eluded me and I headed off to bed that night feeling like a failure instead of a dedicated follower of Christ.
The good news is that I got my “glow” back. The morning after the boys’ party I went to the sink and turned on the tap to get the morning coffee flowing, and there, lying next to the bottle of dish soap, was my little pin! It was in such an obvious spot that I surely had looked there a million times the night of its disappearance, and yet there it lay, waiting for me to simply pick it up and put it back in its spot once more.
Similarly the brightness of my mood returned as well. God’s Word promises that His mercies are new every morning, that the events of the day before can be forgiven and forgotten while only the lessons learned from them remain. What He whispered to me that morning was that He chooses perseverance over perfection, that He is actually more pleased when I pick up the day’s grace that He lays before me to give it a go once more than if I’d done everything right the first time. Perhaps that’s because He knows that perfection is impossible, but resurgent effort is often a sacrificial choice on our parts that pleases Him greatly.
I think back to that basket of pins in the store that morning, and realize that there were dozens of messages available to choose from. And likewise in life we are bombarded by attitudes and anthems that we sometimes pick up and wear for awhile before discarding when the newness wears off. Perhaps God is looking for some consistency from us; urging us to make our choice based on what we hear in His voice and then pin it on daily until it simply becomes a part of who we are and what we’re all about. That’s a resolution for a new life rather than just a new year, and it doesn‘t get any “happier“ than that!
“Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness…” (Colossians 3:16 AMP)