Cheap, Plastic Beads

beadsLast year, my husband and I did a couples’ study of Romans 12 with Chip Ingram. In one of the DVD’s he told a story of a little girl who vacationed with her family at the beach. Around her neck, she wore cheap, plastic beads, which she treasured. There was an old fisherman who noticed her love for these beads. So, he gathered oysters day by day until he had enough pearls to make her a necklace. But when he tried to trade the cheap plastic beads for the beautiful pearl necklace, she refused to let go of them. Chip’s point was that we often do this in our lives. We’re so caught up in what we have in hand, we don’t see the blessings God has in store for us if only we’d release the trivial long enough to achieve His best.

In the Gideon study I’m doing with my ladies’ bible study group, Priscilla Shirer asks the question, “Is there something you’re holding onto that you need to release?” Because this is a women’s study, I don’t think I’m going out on a ledge here if I say most women (dare I say most people) tend to hold onto a portion of their lives, rather than surrendering everything to God. I would hazard a guess that this comes from fear—which is a lack of faith.

And although I know this, it’s pretty easy for me to get caught up in the attitude that if everyone just did things my way, the world would be a better place. Somehow, I don’t think that’s the message God is trying to convey in this season He’s allowed me to live through. In fact, may I suggest that it’s quite possible His message may be the exact opposite! And I have to say, it’s a very thin line between control and nagging—at least when it comes to women and marriage.

I think the issue at heart is one of trust. Do I trust enough in God to let things go and have faith that He has a handle on my life? That I can take the submissive role in my marriage and know that He is guiding my husband? If I’m caught up in seeing things done my way, the obvious answer is, “No.” This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. We can’t have it both ways—say we trust God on one hand while metaphorically slapping someone for not doing things the way we want with the other.

If I truly let go, what do I have to lose? When I think back over the years, the reality is this: the biggest losses in my life led to the greatest rewards. And these rewards didn’t come to pass until I let go and let God. Because that’s truly who our God is—he’s bigger than our earth-bound plans, bigger than our trivial materialistic needs, bigger than life itself. Yet, how easy it is for us to forget.

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