Lessons on Repeat

My kids like to read the same book, over and over again. In fact, there are a lot of books in our playroom that I could quote, word for word because we’ve just read them so many times. Well, maybe a part of my memorizing them is because each page has like, one sentence on it. Still though, I can recite them. I know the inside, I know the outside, I know front side, I know the back side….ok this is starting to sound like one of their books now.

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When something is repeated to you enough times, it just gets stuck in your head. It works with songs, with stories, or sometimes with life lessons. This happened to me this weekend. It was like God was reading the same story to me over and over again.

On Saturday, I was over at my husband’s grandparent’s house. They live on some acreage filled with pine trees and Scott’s childhood memories. I’ve been there many times over the last nine years that I’ve known my husband but I’ve never walked out to the edge of the property. I asked Scott if he would take me so on a walk we went.

We made our way to the edge of the property, Scott pointing out the spot that he and his brothers and cousins tried to build a tree house or the clearing that they launched water balloons from. I took in the beauty of his childhood, grateful for the memories he got to make but all the while, my eyes were drawn to something else. All over the ground, wildflowers grew, filling up the property with color to match that of Scott’s stories.

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They were everywhere. Shades of purple, yellow, and white in shapes as different as they could be. I was drawn to them. They were right there, perfect in every way and no one had to take care of them. God planted them, He watered them, He spread them around like butter on toast and gave them room to grow. He was their gardener and I was their admirer.

As we made our way back to the house, a peace settled over me as it always does when I see God’s word in action. I remembered this verse.

“See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6: 28-34 (NIV)

I tucked the lesson away in my heart and let my daughter play in the flowers.

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The next morning, we woke up and went to church like every other Sunday. We sat in our usual spot, with the same coffee in hand, repeating our routine just like God was about to repeat His lesson for me.

One of our friends and Pastors got up to preach and announced that the title of his sermon was “God the Provider”. Well what do you know?! He went on to talk about how we don’t need to worry about anything because God will provide peace or provision or joy or whatever it is that we need. He even quoted a part of the scripture that I had thought of yesterday. I silently thought “Got it Lord. Message received.”

And like a wildflower growing in a field, the seed had been planted in my heart and had begun to grow.

Worry takes up a lot of my time. I could worry about my kids, my husband, our safety, provision for my friends and family, anything really. It’s almost like I seek it out, finding opportunities to incorporate it into my thought life throughout the day.

That’s not what I should be seeking though. “Seek first the kingdom of God…” the scripture says. Instead of tuning my mind to see the opportunities for things to go wrong, I should be seeking opportunities to see God’s hand at work.

Like wildflowers taking over a field.

When we worry, we are training our mind to think about the negatives in life. We are seeking out possibilities, whether real or imagined, for things to be less than perfect, and we are acknowledging that little voice in our hearts that says that God won’t show up, that He won’t be enough, provide enough. We are feeding it, encouraging it, embracing it. Here’s what we should be thinking about instead.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” Philippians 4: 8 (NIV)

When you start to worry, train your mind to seek the right things. Instead of seeking that worst case scenario, seek the things of Lord, things that are pure, lovely, true, and noble. Seek the truth; He will be there, providing for you, loving you and caring for you.

Remember that those flowers want for nothing. They simply exist in complete dependence on the hand that made them and He gives them everything that they need. He’ll do the same for you, even if He has to repeat himself.