I don't know about you, but my life is a series of high and low points. The journey between mountain top and valley is involved - back and forth, back and forth. It wears me out every time.
Every year at the end of the Spring semester I drag myself home and nap way too much.
Then comes the list making phase - "Right now I have free time because of my chosen profession. I should immediately give it away. A person can't be caught with free time. It's almost sinful. Probably someone will find out I'm sitting on my couch and they'll be mad at me. Let's see . . . I'm going to make a list of all the things I should fix in my house and all the people I need to visit, and then I will spend at least two hours feeling bad because of how long the list is."
I have hated this valley for a long time. It's the home town of my biggest insecurity. Everything I don't want to talk about lives here.
For the first time as an adult I'm settling down with stuff like a new family dentist, finding a doctor that Robbie and I will both like, starting up savings accounts for retirement (which you really have to jump on if anybody in the house is self employed).
We're paying taxes quarterly and annually and we're paying a mortgage while trying to eliminate student debt. We're trying to make sure the house is energy efficient so that it doesn't break the bank to cool off in the summer. We're trying to figure out if we picked the right house and if it will actually contain everything we intend to do for the next 30 years. We're working and traveling for work. We're trying to stay ahead and trying to keep up at the same time.
Is it any wonder that the "valley" is base camp right now??? I'm thinking stuff like, "Nobody wants to listen to songs about taxes and laundry, Sarah. Write something better." and I'm seeing pictures on television of people my age who don't seem to have a limit . . . they can do anything. What am I doing?
But maybe everybody else is right here with me. Maybe we can't hear each other because our lists are too loud.
I just love these guys. They might not be your cup of tea, and that's alright. But the song is worth a thoughtful listen.
Once upon a summer when I still worked at Camp Wesley Woods, we had a memory verse from Matthew chapter 6. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6 has lots of stuff in it that you might recognize, just from being present in this culture. Stuff like "The Lord's Prayer" and that fun line about not trying to be "holy" in front of other people for the benefit of being seen that way. It's good stuff.
The treasure line comes right after some instructions about what kind of treasure we're meant to have. You've already guessed it, haven't you? Healthy treasure vs. unhealthy treasure . . . round one.
I'll take an example from my life because I know myself: "I'm feeling pretty low today. I could write a song or I could go shopping for something fancy to go in the guest room. I'm going to go shopping."
That was a real example. I really have done that. I have sought comfort that way before. Writing the song would have helped me work some stuff out and it would've been beautiful. But I went shopping instead. And I didn't need to. We have what we need. We don't want for much.
Matthew 6:22-23 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then, the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"
We can say and do all the right things and still have unhealthy eyes (we're not being literal here). Because our eyes have to do with how we look at things.
God is here in the valley, where it's dark. God is not going to force my eyes open. God is going to tell me that He is here . . . and then God will do what God has always done with me. God will wait.
"I have many broken mirrors in my eyes. Make me wise." - I wrote this song because it's true. It's not my most melodically interesting work, but it's the honest, plain, yucky truth. If my eyes are the lamp to my whole body, then my body is still not full of light. Did I ever tell you that my first word as a child was "light"? It was. Not "mom" or "dad" . . . "light." Somewhere along the way we all get something in our eye - a plank - a splinter. And we often don't stop to remove it.
I put my treasure in the valley. That's where I've stored my treasure - the idea of a life that works out nicely on paper and a body that meets our culture's commercial standard. If my treasure is stored up in the valley, then my heart will dwell in the valley. That's how it works. If worry and greed have become precious to me, then I will be wherever they are.
I am praying today for my eyes and your eyes. And for the eyes that light the body of the culture we live in. I'm praying for the eyes of our "Church" worldwide. My prayer is that we have no broken mirrors clouding our vision. That we would be a vessel for light to pour through.
If that could happen . . . we would not be so worried. We would know where to find real treasure - peace, truthfulness, love, joy, forgiveness of ourselves and other people . . . those are real treasures. Works of art.
Peace and goodness,