…give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with the food that is needful for me…Proverbs 30:8b
Do you remember Goldilocks? The young lady who broke into the Bears’ house and found things to be either too big or too small, too hot or too cold, too hard or too soft. She struggled with finding her “just right” things. She muttered and mumbled because things weren’t just right (never mind the part they weren’t her things, to begin with), but finally fell asleep after eating perfect porridge and resting in a perfect bed.
We all have a little Goldilocks in us. We are constantly searching for our “just right” stuff. We crave more thinking having more will stop us wanting more.
Contentment is the elusive sweet spot between having too much and not having enough. If we have too much we become self-sufficient and forget about God. If we have too little, we become resentful and blame God.
Proverbs 30:8-9 wisely tells us that the key to contentment is the fear of the Lord. Satisfaction only comes when we rest in Him. We can tell ourselves all the lies we want about how “if only I… then…“but the truth is there should be no “if” to begin with. Our lives begin and end with God. He is our provider. He is our source. He is our strength. All that we have comes from Him.
Goldilocks could have saved herself some angst by staying at home, eating her own food, and sleeping in her own bed instead of searching in someone else’s house for something better. The quest for better doesn’t lead us to the best.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He didn’t start with “if you… then you…” he started with:
“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10.
Our “just right” starts with our Father in Heaven, not with the Bears’ house next door.
Where are You Planted?
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. Jeremiah 17:7
When we moved into our house twenty years ago, there were two live oak trees growing in our backyard. Now, there is only one. Within the first few years, one of the trees stopped thriving. It slowly began turning into a tree of bare branches dropping shriveled gray leaves to the ground. Its failure to thrive was contrasted by its brother tree who was growing taller and wider each year.
After several weeks of observing the emancipated tree, I finally decided to take a closer look. When I walked around the skinny trunk, I noticed my foot sank into the ground around it. The trunk yielded easily to the slight amount of pressure from my hand; a little more pressure tipped the tree over. A tangle of roots popped up through the soil. I grabbed a shovel and began to dig around the toppled tree. My digging revealed the root of the problem of my dying tree. The life-giving support system of tree roots was still in a nestled circle of untangled tiny tendrils. My tree’s roots had never branched out, grown wider, deeper or stronger. They had stayed small, malnourished, and weak, resulting in the death of my tree.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 paints a picture of a different tree. A tree that is strong and flourishing. A tree that reached out to a water source and grew healthy and resilient. A tree more like my second live oak than my first. The other tree in my yard has grown tall and wide with a thick trunk. It has survived being struck by lightning and being ripped open by a hurricane. It’s the home to birds, acorns and countless leaves. It is firmly planted in our backyard. It is firmly planted because its thick, strong roots have grown deep into the soil. Roots that have reached out to the pond just beyond our yard for the nourishment it needs to grow into the oak tree it is meant to be.
Same yard. Two similar trees. Two different outcomes. What’s the difference? The roots. One tree was planted just far enough away from the reliable life-giving water source and its roots never grew. The tree died. The other tree was planted close to the water. Its roots grew and it lived.
So, what about us? Where are we planted today? Are we setting ourselves near the life-giving water source of God through His word or are we staying too far away to receive the nourishment we need to face the struggles life brings us? Are we letting our roots of faith grow deep so we are resilient when the storms of life swirl around us? Or, will we topple over when we feel pressure because we haven’t untangled our roots and grounded ourselves in truth?
Jeremiah 17:7 tells us, blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord…he is like a tree planted by the water…and does not fear. Sweet sisters, like a tree rooted and grounded by the water, let’s plant our lives in the Lord. Let's grow strong and healthy because our trust is in Him. Let's let our roots reach out and draw nourishment from His life giving word. Let's not be afraid of what life may bring because we are firmly rooted in the One who supplies all that we need, no matter what.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.