That pile of dishes was only a few dirty plates a minute ago, but it seems within seconds it has transformed into Mt. Everest. Added to my confusion over it’s sudden growth spurt is the feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. With the knowledge that this “monster” must be faced, I wonder if I’ll ever see the end of greasy pans, gooey plates, and sticky silverware. How could there be a conclusion to this mess? Is there even a counter beneath this chaos?
I know… a little over-dramatic, right? But this battle goes through my mind every time I’m met with that mountain of dishes. Of course, while things would go more smoothly if I stopped thinking about it and just dove right into the task ahead, that would just be too simple. It’s much more fun to complicate things (please don’t take that statement seriously)!
Over the years, I’ve learned that taking a minute to wash those few dirty plates will keep them from piling up. However, life still happens and at times I find this proverbial Mt. Everest, stacked as high as ever and towering above my feeble ambition. Why don’t I just dive right in and leave my dread behind? How silly am I for dreading a smelly stack of plates – regardless of how tall it is?
I guess it’s just something about the way that they tower; it squelches my energy and makes the task a million times harder than it ever should be. Of course, dishes aren’t really the only thing that eliminates my energy. There are far bigger messes in my life and I often end up with that same feeling of utter helplessness – but not at first.
The Mountains Of My Life –
For some reason – with each step over my “mountains” in life – I’m fighting to make it on my own. Whether I realize it or not, the stubborn and independent part of me cries, “I don’t need any help! I can do this myself!” I’m sure the Lord looks down upon me with a patient smile and says, “Just wait, little one. You will see how far you can truly get by yourself.”
But the biggest problem is that I get stuck in this mentality of independence. Then one day, I’m faced with a massive mountain and I truly see that I can’t make it alone. When this happens, I begin to wonder why no one is helping me. Can’t they see that this is too much? Don’t they understand how this towering mass is demolishing my energy and destroying my ambition? I even begin to question God, wondering why He would put such an obstacle in my pathway.
Well, I began this month with these thoughts of independence in mind as the task of planning and preparing for our church’s Vacation Bible School stood before me. As is usual for us, my family played a huge part in every area. However, as I reached the base of this “mountain” and looked up at the towering mass of work that lay ahead, my strength collapsed. With every weary step, my mind fell into this rut of self-pity. “You don’t have enough help.” “No one else cares about these kids; if they really did care, they’d work harder and give more time.” “Why does your family always end up doing all the work?” “Wouldn’t this all get done so much faster if more people were doing it?” “Don’t they understand how much work they’ve pushed onto you guys?” If only I would have opened up my blinded eyes to see the purpose behind all this. Because you know, there are lessons to be learned when climbing mountains.
Lesson 1: From A Child’s Eyes –
During the many weeks of preparing for VBS, I reminded myself again and again, “You’re doing this for the kids; they need to hear the gospel.” And so, I began thinking about the children as I worked. What is their home life like? What are their interests? Above all, what is their outlook on life?
As I observed the kids throughout the week, I realized that many of the older ones were striving to be independent and to be looked upon as capable (And trust me, those children impressed us with how capable they were). However, they still needed that help and direction; they were still dependent upon others. I realized though that the younger they were, the more they were willing to admit to their dependance.
And then it began to sink in. What about me? Am I willing to admit my dependance upon my God? Am I willing to live a life dependent on Him and to climb my “mountains” in His strength rather than my own? Am I humble enough to rely on my Savior?
“Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:4
A small child is completely dependent on their parents – whether it’s in day to day necessities like food and clothing or in the love and comfort that their hearts long for. Young children rely upon their parents with everything. In fact, they even say that:
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
So you see, this is the mentality that our Heavenly Father wishes us to have towards Him. Until we come to God in total dependance and live our lives in humble, child-like trust, we will wearily climb our mountains in our own strength.