I blame the Little Einsteins. When a three-year-old announces gleefully, "Look look look! The books are dancing off the shelves!" you just know that every paperback novel you own is about to leap from the bookcase with the assistance of the aforementioned child's energetic little hands and join its friends and neighbours in an enormous pile on the carpet, and you'll be stepping over them or treading on them all the livelong day until the children are finally in bed and your evening of tidying up can commence. So yesterday I sat on the landing, surrounded by books and boys, and picked up a slim volume I hadn't read for years. Cracking it open, my eyes landed on a sentence which expressed the following sentiment: if I am a Christian, my main concern should be whether I am moving closer to God or further away from Him.
Often, when I open a Christian book and read a section of text that seems particularly pertinent at the time, I feel convicted. But on this occasion, I felt comforted instead. There's a certain issue to which I've recently been devoting an enormous amount of thought, and every time I think I've got my thoughts organised on the subject I read or hear something that derails me. And this sentence - which was contained within a wider context, obviously - derailed me once more, but for the better. Suddenly, there was clarity. Was I, whilst mulling this issue over in my mind, moving closer to God or further away? And would my actions cause others to move closer to God or further away? And on this specific subject, was anything else really all that important?
Of course, for the duration of our time on this earth, many things are important. Very much so. But we can tie ourselves in knots trying to make decisions about things and trying to seek the "right" answer and sometimes - if we're honest - judging others who we perceive have made the "wrong" decisions, when perhaps all that is required, if we're followers of Jesus, is to just ask ourselves the question am I moving closer to God or further away from Him? I've found it very refreshing and helpful on this occasion to step back and look at myself and the issue upon which I'm musing, and remind myself of what my perspective might be and perhaps should be. Simple words, but powerful nonetheless.
The photo above shows my big boy holding a rosebud steady so my little boy can touch it. He's helping his brother move closer to something beautiful. Are my actions causing others to move closer to God or further away?
These thoughts of mine won't be helpful to everyone right now. But they might be helpful to someone at this very moment, which is why I'm sending them out there. I truly hope so, and whatever your beliefs, I wish you simplicity and peace in the circumstances of your life today.