Monday, November 29, 2010

Overwhelming Sufficiency

Two stories for you today since it has been over a week since I posted anything.

First Story: My Christmas Tree Fell Down

My Christmas tree fell down today

It all was very scary

The balls were shattered, ornaments ruined

It made me quite contrary.

I called my big strong husband

And told him of the mess;

So he rushed home to help me out

Now all is happiness.

(BTW, that really happened today, as I was innocently addressing my Christmas cards. And I felt like crying, but I didn’t because I had too much glass to clean up)

Second Story: Burrs All Over Me

A couple of days ago I went into the forest in the back of our house to pick up some garbage that had blown there. As I was walking into the brush, I walked directly into a burr plant. I’m not sure what kind of burrs these were, smaller than a cocklebur, and PROFUSE. Neo followed my lead—poor dog. We both emerged from the forest completely covered in burrs. I’m not talking a few burrs here and there—I probably had 2000 little burrs on my coat, my gloves, my pants, and my dog. These are the kind of burrs that stick to the inside of your sock if you try to wash them before removing the buggers. These are the kind of burrs that hurt your fingers when you remove them—but remove them you must because they will not just fall off—ever. As I removed my clothes and changed into burr-free ones, I felt overwhelmed by the task before me. It would take me hours to clean the “ouch” off of the affected items. I tried removing them with my fingers, but that hurt too much and the one-by-one method began to drive me crazy. Then I tried the fuzz-eater that I use on my sweaters: unsuccessful. I also tried the credit card scraping method: this only removed tops and left the painful pokiness intact. After several other experiments involving duct tape and the Ped Egg, I finally emerged successful by using the cat’s flea comb. I pulled the pants tight--remember, I was not wearing them now-- ran the flea comb over the burr covered areas multiple times, and slowly my clothing lost all its “parasites”. And it didn’t take me hours. End of story.

So, you ask, why are you telling me these frivolous tales? I tell you them because they have one thing in common: They both made me feel overwhelmed.

When I looked at the big mess of my fallen tree, the shattered balls, the water from the stand, I felt like it was much too big to clean up. I would never be able to fix it. The problem looked too massive.

When I felt the burrs poking my skin from all directions and I realized the enormity of my navigational mistake, I shuddered at the thought of removing all of them. I thought I would never be able to wear those pants again (I secretly considered throwing them away). I couldn’t imagine sitting for hours with some tweezers picking the burrs out of everything. There’s no way it could be done.

But guess what? I made it through both of those situations even though I couldn’t see the other side clearly. The jobs of making those things right looked so big at first that I didn’t know where to start, so I just started with the most obvious things. When I finished the big, obvious jobs, I did the smaller ones, and on and on until the job was done. Even though the work was tedious and slow, I was capable of doing it. And these are small things.

When life gives me bigger “crashes” and bigger “burrs”, when the unexpected happens, I am going to recall my feelings of insufficiency to complete these small things. Then I am going to remember that I am capable of completing the work God gives. I am capable of enduring the suffering He allows. Because I am an overcomer and His Spirit enables me (1 John 4:4), I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Romans 8:35 and 37


  1. You pulled some great wisdom from what could have been 2 day ruiners!! Your tree poem made me laugh :-) Great post!

  2. Way to make lemonade from lemons! I have thrown away many of the boys' clothing items due to burrs. What a nuisance!

  3. i can't believe how dedicated you were to getting those burrs out! i totally would've scrapped the whole thing and cried in the bathtub instead. or made todd do it when he got home, since he's more resourceful than i am (although he still probably wouldn't have come up with all the ideas you did - i can't believe a flea comb took them out! great idea!)

  4. Tori, great analogy to the problems that seem overwhelming in life---what insight! I also loved the poem. MOM