It was packaged so beautifully. An answered prayer I long anticipated for over five years, wrapped perfectly and carefully opened to reveal my heart’s deepest desires as a reality to be experienced.

I was caught off guard by this present gifted to me last December and in awe of witnessing it come to fruition months later. The five long, challenging, and emotional years I felt were dry and futile became full of life and valuable. Weathering the storm with eyes barely opened and then wandering in the desert questioning God’s direction not only made me stronger spiritually but also strengthened my wisdom and maturity…

and I would walk through that valley again in order to make it to the mountain top.

However, I would make sure to not become blinded by the view.

Because sometimes seeing too much “good” can become a bad thing. Too many shiny and new items that are indeed lovely blessings from Above can tend to blur our perception of what is good and Godly and turn it into wrong and worldly.

I fell prey to this by slipping into a common trap the world disguises as fun, exciting, and joyful.

Blessing upon blessing seemed to enter my life in 2018. Even amidst my baby’s incurable diagnosis of coloboma [a congenital malformation of the eye causing defects to the lens, iris, and/or retina; colobomas are missing pieces of tissue that form the eye], I praised God for His incredible goodness and tender faithfulness. Everywhere I looked I felt God’s presence and saw His hand at work. It seemed like all was good in my life because it was. Actually, it was more than good it was great. Some could say perfect, especially those who have walked with me over the last few years and who know my story.

And that’s how I slid, slowly and further down the mountain of goodness.

Blinded by the blessings, I allowed my overflowing cup to be dumped out and drained completely.

God had been faithful in fulfilling His promises and the enemy didn’t like the victory. He knew what he was doing and he knew how to knock over my cup.

He made me busy.

This Fall I said “yes” too many times. I filled up my plate, piling on the portions and helpings until I was more than full. I was stuffed. Stuffed to the brim with good things, things I both love and enjoy so much so that I didn’t even know I was about to burst until my soul clutched my heart and begged for revival.

I was in my bathroom getting ready the day before Thanksgiving when Jonny Diaz’s song ‘Breathe’came on my Pandora:

“Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to take it in, fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe (just breathe)
let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe (just breathe)”

WOW.

Lay down what’s good and find what’s best?

That line hit me like a slap in the face. Everything on my plate was good, like getting full after eating a big bowl of salad, but I was eating too much and was about to burst.

I’m a healthy eater, but I became gluttonous. I bit off more than I could chew because I kept feeling hungry for more.

Friend, the enemy is sneaky as he slithers around the world. I have fallen for his creative traps before but certainly had not seen this one coming. How could I when it was packaged and presented as something good? Things that I love and enjoy and normally fill my soul with love and delight?

The problem was I didn’t know when to stop and say “no.” I didn’t slow down to take a drink or find the rest stop. I keep piling on the toppings, more servings of seemingly healthy “food” that I felt would be good for me because they make me feel good.

I know I am not the only one who has experienced this before and it is so easy to fall prey to the good that surrounds us, especially during the holiday season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all, with all of the laughter, nostalgia, colors, smells, and sights. The world appears pretty and perfect and full of a hope we desire so deeply but deep down know doesn’t exist this side of eternity.

Still, we choose to see the good in front of us and are blinded by the best. We say “yes” to all of the parties, to the fun activities that make us feel like a kid again, and “yes” to all of the stuff that we think will make us happy because they will…for a time. But happiness isn’t what our soul longs for because happiness is temporary. Our soul wants something more than a serving or two of what we will eventually burn off and metabolize.

Our soul craves joy.

Joy is eternal and satisfying. Joy doesn’t fade or wear off. Joy is slow and savory, like a pot roast cooked in a Crockpot rather than in the Instant Pot this world wants us to use. Joy doesn’t say “yes” to another helping because it honors self-control and knows when to stop and when to say “no.” Joy comes in the mourning after surrendering the good and receiving the best.

Yes, it’s true – Christmas isthe most wonderful time of the year but it’s not because of the pretty lights shining their beauty. It’s because of God’s faithfulness in presenting His Son to the table as the Light of the world.

Breathe it all in. The good that is surrounding you is indeed good but it is temporary. Lay down what is good and find what is best. Take care of the busyness this season and find joy in the eternal.

Jesus.

He, and only He, is the reason we slow down and celebrate this season.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ~ Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

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