My Sunday posts are the most challenging ones for me to write because I’ve committed to “dig deep” and ask myself questions like: What made me feel ‘full’ this week? Why might I feel ‘empty’? In what ways have I stumbled? How could I feel closer to God next week?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the challenge. It’s just easier to write about the silly stuff of life because it’s superficial. Sometimes I don’t like what I see when I look closely at myself. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable because I see how far from ‘all right’ I really am. But this introspection is good. It’s like I’m wandering in the darkness, and then a light illuminates the path – giving me a sense of direction.
I didn’t know what I was going to write about this week until I heard a scripture on the radio on my way to the post office on Saturday. It was Romans 12:2:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I scrambled to find my pocket notebook and pen so I could make a note to read this when I got home. I knew without the written reminder, I would forget it! My Study Bible had additional clarifying text that I found helpful:
Study Help: How can we know God’s will? By honoring and obeying him, and by refusing to be influenced by societal pressures. As we replace our old way of thinking and adopt an entirely new perspective – from God’s point of view – we’ll begin to recognize God’s will more and more. We’ll find it easier to hear his voice in a variety of situations….knowing God’s will results from doing his will as revealed in Scripture.
I love it when a verse is so relevant that it seems like it was written just for me. I know, that sounds egocentric, but sometimes I feel so small in this world, it’s kind of nice to think that God prescribed something to be written specifically to help me. At the same time, I recognize that this passage has also helped others for thousands of years….they probably thought it was written just for them, too!
Here’s how it fits in my life: over the last few months, we’ve become friends with another couple. We hike together almost every weekend and have gone out to dinner a couple times. They don’t have children at home and I know their household income is a lot more than ours. They’ve invited us to go to a few concerts and other activities – we’ve declined most invitations, partially because of the expense.
They don’t flaunt their money, or intentionally do things to make me feel inferior, but there can be pressure to keep up. We see the TVs and gadgets they have, and it can be hard to come home to our 36-inch (deep) television set from the 1990’s. My husband’s disappointment at our “don’t haves” and “can’t dos” makes it even more difficult.
What this scripture says to me is that I should continue to resist the pressure to spend, especially if the motivation is to “fit in” with our friends. I look to God to remind me that I have enough, and that enough is more-than-enough. I don’t want to forget that my happiness does not hinge on the size of my bank account, or the “things” in my house – or even my house itself.
I pray that God continues to work in me, so I remain strong in my desire to live my life as He would want. Being a “living sacrifice” is not about the worldly things I give up, but the spiritual wealth I gain by trusting God as the guide of my life.
Have you struggled to resist social pressure? What is the one thing in your life that stifles your happiness? Do you think most about what you don’t have, or what you do have?