“Even when you get this, you’ll just want the next big thing.” I remember thinking No, this is THE big thing, although thankfully I didn’t contradict Mom aloud. I was around fourteen years old, and wilting through my first cognizant lack of love interests. Being homeschooled did nothing to revive my drooping boyfriend prospects.
I obviously outgrew this perceived life crisis, but Mom’s point stuck with me. There’s always a next “big thing.” When I did get my first boyfriend (yay Ivan!), I suddenly started imagining being engaged…then being married…then finishing grad school… And that was all before the accident. By now y’all know many of the things we’ve wished for afterwards!
God wants us to dream big dreams. He loves it when we ask for things! But how much is enough? I suspect that however much He gives me, or, you, or anyone, there’s always going to be a next “big thing!” No matter how certain we are that what we want is our ONLY big thing, or our LAST big thing, or our [insert other applicable word] big thing, it’s human nature to start wishing for something bigger and better later on. It’s also human nature to start taking our old “big things” for granted. How do we know when we have enough?
I’ve had plenty of time to consider this question while waiting for my first appointment with my new neuro specialist at Stanford. (52 days down, 11 to go!) This holding pattern has reinforced how much I’d love for my seizures to improve…but it has also reminded me how many times I’ve thought they were improving in the past, only to be disappointed later. In the middle of this internal back-and-forth, God brought to mind that early conversation with my mom about letting go of my next “big thing.” Last week Mom and I started remembering how many marvelous gifts God has given us over the past two and a half years, number one being my life. Then my legs. If they had broken a quarter of an inch higher, I still wouldn’t be walking. I might also be missing a foot. Believe it or not, next on our “big things given” list comes my brain! It may seem like a side show right now, but I had a decent chance of waking up with a child’s mental capacity, for all doctors could guess in December 2016. On the family front, God quickly brought Ivan a picture-perfect job in the Bay Area. Poor Mom couldn’t spend unlimited time helping out in SoCal, after all!
Suffice it to say my “big things received” list could go on indefinitely. Stanford is my current “next big thing,” but I can guarantee there will be more to come. So when I do I hit “enough?” I don’t know. I doubt anyone could ever know. But God knows, and I think He’s given some pretty great pointers for how to live while asking, and while waiting, and while second-guessing. Most obvious would be His directive in Matthew 6:33. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” He wants us to ask Him for Himself and about Himself before we ask for anything else. But what are “all these things” that He promises to add? If you back up a little in Matthew 6, you’ll discover that Jesus is talking about meeting His people’s needs. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s pretty hard for me to tell where a need ends and a want begins. I’d call Stanford a need, but God might call it a want, depending on His purpose for my life. God grants all needs. He also grants many wants, but not necessarily all of them. So where does that leave me with my upcoming appointment?
For now, my first job is to ask God to give me more of His Spirit and show me more about Himself. My second job can be to ask for neurological progress, but I need to hold that request in an open hand. Is there a job from Him while I’m waiting for an answer? Daily life goes on, no matter the urgency of my or anyone’s request. Thank goodness God already answered this “what about right now?” question!
He wants me to cling to 1 Timothy 6:6. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” More healing would be amazing, but my greatest priority should be to keep growing more like Christ…and to keep practicing contentment with the big things He’s already provided. In His eyes, that is better gain than anything else ever could be. That gain also lasts a lot longer than my body. It lasts forever!