Finding Christmas Joy
By Gina Welborn
Apparently there's a program on my laptop that enables one to draw pictures and whatnot: Windows Paint. Oh. So that's what that program does. Who knew?
Well, apparently my 8-yr-old did. Not only did Rhyinn know how to use the program, but she saved all sorts of lovely pictures over the last two weeks. Lots of all sorts. Even more than what you think "lots" means.
My favorite one, though, is the blog post header. It's a self-portrait. Interesting that of all the words that sprung from her heart the day she created this was Dance. Why? Because she longs to dance, to delight in her world.
Years ago, George Eliot wrote: "It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are alive. There are certain things we feel are beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them."
The world being it is, we know we can't have everything we long for. So we create Bucket Lists. Someday I'd like to . . . Before I die, I'm going to . . . What I've always wanted to do was . . .
The world also being it is, we often lose hope that we'll ever have or do what we long for. Have you ever despised hope? When I was a kid, for my 12th birthday I desperately wanted . . . funny thing is I can't remember what it was I had wanted. But I didn't get it. Even after telling my parents over and over and over. Probably was something unrealistic and "too expensive," like a horse or an Atari.
Instead I got a Family Feud board game.
My parents had a camper at the time and Mom had left the game unwrapped in the sleeper part over the hood of the truck. I had to get something out of the camper and accidentally came across my gift. I cried and cried and cried and cried some more. But I didn't want to hurt my mom's feelings so at my party when I opened the package, I acted all thrilled.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick. . ." ~Proverbs 13:12
I wonder if that was the first time I learned to begin despising hope, or at least learned to live with disappointment. Trust me, being a writer seeking publication, one has to find that balance between not having unreasonable expectations and not giving up hope that one day we'll achieve our dream. In the twelve years I've been writing, I've quit writing a good dozen times because rejections and disappointment and hope deferred hurt to much. Yet I still longed (still long) to achieve my dream.
"The problem with desire is, you want everything" Paul Simon once said. I have to agree. Look at my Christmas list. Two months ago if you asked me if I wanted anything, I would have said, "No, not really. I'm pretty content." But then I was asked for the JAG Welborn 2011 Christmas List. Not only did my kids want lots and lots of things, I started thinking of a couple things I wanted. That couple turned into a few which turned into a lot.
The top WANT is stainless steel measuring cups and spoons. Oh, not those cheap ones you get at Wal-Mart or Bed, Bath & Beyond. No, I want the $50 All-Clad ones. Yes, I know! $50 for four measuring cups is ridiculous. So I googled to find cheaper yet comparable quality ones. Eeeks! I am giddy as I share.
Williams-Sonoma sells an online exclusive boxed set for $27 and and for an additional $21, you can get the odd boxed set. I don't just want both. I need them. My life would be happier with them in my kitchen. I like to cook but I'd like to cook even more if I owned them. Thus I deleted practically everything else off my Gina's Wish List and replaced it with these.
Yes, I may have even put a few !!!!!!!! after the item name.
I know you're probably thinking, "Gina, you're being ridiculous yearning for William-Sonoma Stainless-Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons boxed sets for the online exclusive price of $27 and $21 respectively. You don't need these to be happy."
Yes, I do.
I yearn for them sooooo much that I've repeatedly filled out the online order form, but only stopped short of buying because I had no money.
"We come into the world longing," says Gil Bailie, "for we know not what. We are desire. And desire is good . . ."
Exactly. My desire for the stainless steel measuring cups and spoons is good. Having them in my life will bring me happiness even if it's only temporary. And God wants me to be happy. Not just happy. He wants me to have life to it's fullest.
"We come into the world longing," says Gil Bailie, "for we know not what. We are desire. And desire is good, for it's what takes us to God. But our desire is not hard-wired to God."
Sometimes it's seems like God has gone/is going to great lengths to thwart the very thing(s) that I know I deeply want, that I know will bring me happiness, that I know I'm doing because I want to bring Him honor and glory. I wrote for eleven years completing six full manuscripts, and what finally sold was an unwritten novella that came with three other well established authors. Talk about feeling like I'm riding someone's coattails.
We can make idols of anything.
Especially a good thing.
Quite often a good thing.
Family. Church. Ministry. Worship. Serving others. Jobs. Pets. Children. Writing. Getting published. Williams-Sonoma Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons boxed sets for the online exclusive price of $27 and $21.
"We are desire. And desire is good, for it's what takes us to God."
In his book, The Journey of Desire, John Eldredge writes . . .
When we don't look for God as our true life, our desire for him spills over into our other desires, giving them an ultimacy and urgency they were never intended to bear. We becoem desperate, grapsing and arranging and worrying over all kinds of things, and once we get them, they end up ruling us. It's the difference between wants and needs. All we truly need is God. Prone to wander from him, we find we need all sorts of other things. Our desire becomes insatiable because we've taken our longing for the Infinite and placed it on finite things. . . . All the other desires find their place as we give God his place. That is why the psalmist urges us, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4 NIV). Only as we truly delight in God is it safe to give us our desires, for then they are not likely to become idols.
Suddenly I don't yearn so much for those measuring cups and spoons because as long as I yearn to have _____ in my life to be happy, I'll never really be happy. Death sees to that.
King David wrote: "I have stilled and quieted my soul. . ." He learned to wait. Desire at rest.
Wait a littel while,
O my soul,
Wait for the divine promise,
And thou shalt have abundance
Of all good things in heaven.
Someday I am going to have the most amazing measuring cups and spoons for all of eternity.
What about you?
Years—okay, eons—ago, Gina Welborn worked in news radio scripting copy until she realized how depressing human tragedy was, so she took up writing romances and now only thinks “It is time for a dead body?” when she’s at a lull in her newest manuscript. This Oklahoma-raised gal now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her youth-pastor husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, and a Sharpador Retriever who doesn’t retrieve much of anything (but he can sit really well). Her first novella, “Sugarplum Hearts,” part of the HIGHLAND CROSSINGS anthology, will be released by Barbour in February 2012. Her second novella, “All Ye Faithful,” in A CASCADES CHRISTMAS release later in 2012.