If you're a hardcore Black Friday shopper, you're shaking your head, sighing, and thinking, "Honey, that's not real shopping. By 8:30 in the morning on Black Friday, I already had eaten lunch."
To which I would reply, you're a much more ambitious woman than I am. I applaud you, and if I knew you in person, I'd invite you to sit down and tell me all about the awesome deals that you scored.
Right now, though, I'm feeling quite pleased with my new socks.
I've been contemplative lately. My thoughts have been spilling into my daily activities much like the background music that is subtly piped through the airwaves at the shopping mall. I hear them, but just like background music, sometimes I don't stop to listen.
Recently, I've slowed down a little. In doing so, I've pinpointed the soundtrack that has been circling in my head and heart:
It's okay to live a small life.
Friends, I live a very small life. I live in a small town where I love my husband, raise my family, and participate in a community. Sometimes I wonder if my contributions matter. I want them to matter, though, so I strive and hustle and work like I'm always chasing something, but I'm not entirely sure what that something is.
But right now, I sense that God is calling me to rest and enjoy this small life that I'm living. Small lives, mind you, still are important lives.
Our little lives and actions matter. That sweeping of the floor, those story hours, those full crock pots, that blanket tucked under the chin just right. That back rubbing, those lullabies, those nighttime prayers. Those packed lunches, that trip to the grocery store to pick up the forgotten milk, those patiently-endured knock-knock jokes during the car ride, that smile to the cashier in the check-out line.
The unremarkable, very ordinary routines that wind themselves through the fabric of our daily lives might seem small to us. On hard days, the walls of our house might taunt us with the suspicion that important things are happening outside, not within, them.
Perhaps even harder to bear, our unmet goals, our unrealized dreams, and our failures all might clamor to accuse us that despite all we do, we're somehow not enough.
And feeling like you're not enough is painful, indeed.
As I shopped on Black Friday, I was bombarded with so many things that I could want. New things, shiny things, sparkly things. Until I laid eyes on them, I hadn't even known that some of these things existed, and yet, there I was, wanting them.
I want what my eyes see. I always have. I'm human; this is what we do.
How powerfully this reminded me that I need to train my eyes to focus on what matters -- not in shopping, but in life. When I begin to long for a larger or more successful life, it's easy to miss the very life that I'm living. When I look "out there" and fixate on what I don't have, I overlook all that I do.
But, when I look to my Creator, the one who designed me and knows how I tick, this small life of mine makes sense. When I meditate on the fact that I'm loved and known by God, I'm blown away by the simplicity and magnitude of it all.
Sometimes, contentment comes from the simplest of realizations.
Sometimes, all I really need is socks.