Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beach Lesson #2: The Lost Wallet

"But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ" -Phil. 3:7 The beach trip was a great time to let go and relax. I'm sure the lack of the "R" word, RESPONSIBILITY, was one of the main reasons. Sure, there's the responsibility to put the sunscreen on correctly and to be sure the umbrellas don't blow away, but the big pressures aren't there. But, wherever we venture on this earth, God meets us there to grow us. He is the loving, constant, sometimes annoying coach that never quits teaching, ever. He knows we're the most complete as we're learning, not tanning. One of the main lessons He taught me on this trip involved my wallet. The underlying theme of most of my trials in this life is control. And I'm sure it's rooted in insecurity. I grew up in a very high achieving family. As the youngest of four boys, I lived with the perceived pressure to keep up. Everyone called me "little Staples" and it seemed I was always trying to be rid of the "little" title. Notice I called it "perceived pressure." Most of our insecurities aren't real. Truth is, no one probably expected me to be anything but Joey Staples, warts and all, but back to the wallet. I had left the condo one afternoon and was headed out to the car to make a grocery run, but I couldn't find my wallet. I went back to the condo and searched, but no wallet. I went to my car and searched, no wallet. Panic began to settle in and I brought the family into the panic. We searched and searched. I just knew I'd put the wallet in the drawer next to the bed, but it wasn't there. I don't know about you, but as each day passes, my memory dims. I remember learning in a Psychophysiology class in graduate school that we have about 100 billion neurons in our brain and that we lose about 9,000 of those neurons every day. Our brain doesn't regenerate cells so it is no wonder we lose our memories. Did you know the life expectancy of the average American in 1900 was 47 years old? One hundred years later, in 2000, the average was 78 years old. We're all living longer and we're inventing diseases that never existed before, like Alzheimer's. I don't know if I'm headed that direction, but I do forget things more often. Perhaps all those years of heading soccer balls did it's damage. But the wallet was lost. It contained cash, credit cards and ID's. I prayed as I searched, "Lord, if you will help me find my wallet, I'll never be mean again." No, I didn't pray that prayer, but pretty close. But He spoke louder to me "Joey, let it go. Yes, you may lose some money but I control it all. Let it go." As you might have guessed, I looked one more time in the drawer next to my bed and there it was. It had slid to the back of the drawer. I was relieved but disappointed in my reaction to the loss. I had once again held on too tightly. And for what seemed the billionth time, I learned to submit to His plan. It was yet another reminder to me to let go and let God. Our kids, our homes, our savings accounts, our health, our jobs are all susceptible to be being squeezed by our controlling hands. God reminds us that He is God and we are not. When we let them go, we release them to a loving and wise God that engineers circumstances for the bigger plan. Sometimes we find the wallet and sometimes we don't. Either way, we trust. Job said as much after he'd lost it all, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him." There is such freedom in the hope, whether we find the wallet or not. By Eric Joseph Staples ©