Candy Jars, Conjunctions, and the Abundance of God
Have you been to a wedding or baby shower where they have a "Candy Station"? Jars of assorted small colorful candies, chocolates, and gummies are beautifully displayed in a menagerie of jars. Guests are invited to take small bags and fill them with whatever candies suit their fancy. (They are so much cooler than the jordan almonds I had at my wedding.)
I like candy. But I don't buy it for myself or keep a glass dish of peppermints on the coffee table like my Grandmother did. I enjoy a box of Whoppers at the movies every so often and that's about it. But get me in front of the Candy Station at my cousin's niece's nephew's wedding? I start loading up like I'm going into an underground bunker the next day and need to stock up on essentials.
I'm not alone on this one. I have to shove myself in to get at the candy; elbowing the ring bearer on one side and all of Table #11 on the other.
Why do I lose my mind at the Candy Station? Is it my love for cinnamon flavored gummy bears? Not really. Truthfully, I'm afraid the candy will run out and there will not be any left for me.
I'm afraid I will not get what I need.
I'm working on my first book, "Gathering Dandelions: Meditations and Musings on Faith, Fracture, and Beauty Mistaken for a Weed". I am crazy excited about it. I'm knee deep in the final editing process and it's bringing to light some of my more neurotic thought patterns. The "crazy" part is currently outweighing the "excited" part. Each morning when I sit down at my computer, the same fear rises up inside of me.
I'm terrified I will run out of words.
Not the conjunctions and personal pronouns--I've got those in spades. I'm afraid of running out of all the words that go in between them; the words that matter. The words that tell story. The words that I so very much want to arrange in such a way that the readers of them are inspired, encouraged, challenged, and strengthened.
I am acutely aware that talent and abilities are elusive; that God gifts them to us. But if this is true, then He has the ability to give and take gifts away as He sees fit. It is possible that I will run out of words because He is the source of them in the first place.
I want to be a good steward of what I've been given. But what if He chooses to take away the thing I love to do? What if He decides He will no longer offer the inspiration He has always been faithful to provide? What if He doesn't give to me what I believe I need?
It is likely that over time, none of us will be who we used to be. We will lose certain abilities. We will age, change interests or simply get tired. We will have to let go of a job, a home, or a hobby as things shift. It's possible that there will be times when we will run out of ideas, inspiration, or motivation.
And yet, according to God's Word, it is not possible that we will ever run out of what we truly need. Money, talent, people, and prestige will come and go. Circumstances will change. What we truly need is God Himself. And He never runs out.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 [NIV]
When God blesses your life, He does it in abundance. The particulars will ebb and flow, but He holds nothing back of Himself. He is never stingy. We can return over and over with empty bags and big scoops and find He has provided all we need and so much more.
And He wants us to use what we've been given. He wants us to live in the freedom of knowing that He is the giver of good things and to multiply that which He's so freely poured out upon us.
Erma Bombeck said, "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and I could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"
What have you been given? Is it a big house? A cool job? A swimming pool? Enjoy it. Can you sing, dance, count, edit, or throw a party? Do it well. Use and enjoy everything that God has given you. And if it all evaporates? The God who gave it to you will not.
"Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds."
I don't know how many words I have in me. But my plan is to find out. We have a God who provides abundantly, powerfully, and beautifully--because He gives us all of Himself. Even if words fail, our God never will.