I read the email Saturday afternoon as we pointed our car north and began the hour-and-a-half drive home from an early morning cross country meet. “It’s your lucky day! Tickets are still available for THE AVETT BROTHERS!” it declared in bold letters.
My third son and I saw them last year in what felt like a symbolic union: my first book began with a story about the three of us — mother, son, and our favorite band. I vowed to see them again whenever possible.
Because the concert is in Chattanooga, two hours north of home, my husband and I decided we couldn’t make it when tickets originally went on sale, especially since we have a 180-mile round trip for cross country this morning. The concert starts late, and it’s unlikely we’d get home before 2 a.m., staying awake 21 hours straight and logging 450 miles in that time.
Tomorrow is an important day at church — the kind you write in large letters on your calendar, circle in red, and anticipate for weeks in advance — so it doesn’t feel like a wise decision, as much as I want to go.
But wisdom is scarce when faced with the temptation of last-minute seats, and none of the reasons you shouldn’t go are fresh in your mind.
I click the Buy Tickets button in the email. Just looking can’t hurt, right? But oh man, those seats are sweet, the good ones reserved for the band’s use and released just hours before the show.
I turn the pitiful look on my husband, who rolls his eyes at me. If I buy tickets he’ll take me, even if he thinks it’s a bad idea. And I know that he does.
I keep quiet on that long ride home, but inside I stew and sulk and suddenly everything is wrong in my world when this morning it seemed so right. Tears sting; I want those seats bad. Part of me resents anything that keeps me from going.
Then a moment of clarity shows me what I’ve done: I’ve allowed this world to steal my joy and rob me of the pure hope I held for tomorrow, the expectation of a good day in His Word and His house.
It shames me. This world won’t feed my soul.
Maybe a concert wouldn’t skew your perspective, but you probably know something that would. It’s easy to become disillusioned, to lose focus. To think the world can fill your needs.
We worship a perfect and capable God. He’s a sure foundation, the glue that holds us together when life’s disappointments would tear us apart.
Have you relied on the world to feed your soul?
How do you remind yourself what’s most important?
by Dawn Camp @ My Home Sweet Home, editor and photographer The Beauty of Grace
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
It might not be a concert, but I’ve certainly let the things of this world steal my joy. In my case, I let others steal my joy (other imperfect humans just like me). I don’t know why it is, but a difficult conversation, or an argument, in particular with my ex-husband, can suck the joy right out of my day. Then I’m mad at myself for letting it do so. I know the old adage…you can’t control what others say or do, but you can control your reaction. The best way I know to control my reactions is to keep my nose in His Word…keep my eyes focused on Him…keep my heart open to His leading so that when someone or something threatens to steal my joy, my feet are planted firmly on the Rock. Easier said than done…but I’m trying… Great reminder this am!
Dawn Camp says
Bev, thanks for your honest words and for always being here to encourage!
Jenni DeWitt @ Genuflected.com says
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pleasure — this earthly version of happiness. It only lasts as long as the activity. But once the concert is over or the bag of chips is gone it leaves us feeling worse, not better. True joy continues on, even after the activity is done — like holding a new baby or spending time with family like you mentioned. I hadn’t thought about how the desire for pleasure can also rob us of the joy. I’d say I allow pleasure to steal my joy when I start thinking about all the “stuff” we are giving up to live the life we are — with me staying home with the kids and trying my hand at writing rather than working full time. Most of the time I’m glad about it, but every once in a while it hits me, and the pleasure wrestles with the joy in my heart. Thanks for this eye opener, Mary!
Dawn Camp says
It’s so easy to think the things of this world will make us happy. I do it every day. I’ve done what you’re saying and given up worldly blessings to stay home with my own little blessings. It’s worth it!
Ms. Witi says
Yep, not a concert for me, but other people sure can suck the happy right out. Why do we let it happen??
Dawn Camp says
It’s easy, isn’t it? We let circumstances rob us of our joy.
Lynn D. Morrissey says
Dawn, what a special post, and I so get this….when we put our disappointments over God, and often they are things that, while special, often pale in comparison. On the other hand, sometimes disappointments run deep, and they are even things and dreams that I believe God has given us. And then He tells us to let them go? What then? That’s when your sure words here about the one, sure Foundation keeps our shaky feet anchored on solid ground. In the end, He is our only sure foundation, and whether He gives or asks us to release, knowing we have Him will keep us from falling. Thank you for this reminder.
Missy Robinson says
Oh, this is such a vital word! It’s a timely reminder of where to find our joy and who can truly satisfy our souls. This world offers many wonderful blessings and gifts, but none satisfy like our Savior and serving Him.
This reminds me of that quote by C.S. Lewis (I think).
Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.
I do that a lot. My happiness (Joy?) fluctuates so wildly, I can spend a day, a weekend even, ruminating over something so badly, that I waste precious time because I didn’t get to do what I wanted, or something didn’t go to plan (or as some have said, I let other – or give other people the power to effect (affect? I always forget which one it is!) me negatively. And of course, in five years time, it won’t really matter.
Thank you for the reminder to be sensitive to this happening.
Dawn Camp says
“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” – What a powerful quote! Thank you for sharing.
I’ve relied on the love and acceptance of others to feed my soul. This evening, as I took a step into greater vulnerability, I looked up at the skies and thanked God for loving me no matter what others’ response will be.
Your post blessed me greatly this morning and into my day. Thank you.
Gail Noe says
Thank you Anna. That has been my past also but I am now walking in the truth of God’s love and acceptance as my sure foundation. I am trusting in His grace and goodness purchased for me with Jesus’ Blood. God birthed me here for His purposes in the family He chose and in the place He chose. What a radical difference in the way I think and learning to speak.
Beth Williams says
This is a great post Dawn!! This world steals my joy all the time! It used to be work. I dreaded going to the clinic and seeing certain people. My joy was gone the minute I stepped into the clinic. Now it seems my emotions, lack of sleep, and activity seeking can steal the joy! When that happens I simply turn to prayer and ask God for forgiveness!
Dawn Ginese says
Such a nice reminder. Only He can fill that deepest longing in us. Just today I was letting the gaget world influence me. I admit I love the convenience of the library of the world at my finger tips. I am using my old phone because my iphone is on the fritz. He is the center of my life, not all that I can discover my fill this little brain with. Thanks