Friday, October 26, 2007

The greed of being, doing, having

This morning before I rushed out the door to work, I sat down to check my e-mail, and feeling rather muddled (probably due to not quite sleeping off my cold medicine) and messy, I chose to read my daily e-devotional by Elisabeth Elliot. I don't actually read it every day. But today I felt inclined to start my morning with a few straighter thoughts than I was thinking.

In God's providence, she was writing on thankfulness, and what keeps us from being thankful: greed. I often think of greed as being money-hungry or a gluttonous eater, but EE cut straight to my heart by addressing other forms of greed: being, doing and

I realized I was unable to be thankful for the blessed opportunities and friends and activities in my life because I was wading through the mire of the greed of doing. I cannot be happy with one activity because I am thinking about the other things I wish I could also do. Like Robert Frost, I am considering "the road not taken" and unable to enjoy the road I'm traveling. I have heaped unto myself too many good actions and now I lack the power to do them all. I have my hands in too many fishbowls, trying to catch the colorful fish in each one all at once. I had to humble myself and cancel one event and resist the temptation to add others when I got a phone call and another invitation tonight.

But my sin in doing does not parallel my sin of greedy being. I am up to my neck in it -- I feel as though I am fairly choking in it. Here is what EE said on the subject (italics mine):
No new temptation ever comes to any of us.  Satan needs no new tricks.
old ones have worked well ever since the Garden of Eden,
although sometimes under different guises.
When there is a deep restlessness for which we find no
explanation, it may be due to the greed of being--
what our loving Father never meant us to be.
Peace lies in the trusting acceptance of His design, His gifts,
His appointment of place, position,
It was thus that the Son of Man came to earth--embracing all that
the Father willed Him to be, usurping nothing--no work,
not even a word--that the Father had not given Him.
I have known that restlessness. It rises up in me all day at work. It drives me to be everything, everywhere, for everybody. I cannot hardly think of life other than to think what I am within that circumstance. I just want to be that girl -- whatever girl that is. It is like chasing the wind.

I am so thankful for this little message to me. What a mercy it is when God shows us our sin and teaches us more of Himself through it. Though I cannot say I am healed completely
of these sins, I have seen a bit of an awakening. All day I was able to live with the freedom to not be everything at work, just to do my jobs and let others just go and do. I am realizing that I'm not MarthaStewartRachelRayElisabethElliotMaryPoppinsCarolynMahaney, but I'm just Gretchen -- an asthmatic girl with a messy house who needs to just rest and do the lot assigned to her. Maybe that sounds boring to you, but incredible peace comes, like my dear EE says, when I accept His design, His gifts, His appointment of place, position and capacity.


Emily said...

a strong amen to that one Gretchen. I find myself(maybe not as radically as you)doing the same things, trying to be mom, and teacher and perfect girlfriend, when I'm only supposed to be the eighteen year old girl God wants me to be.
"one day at a time." a wise sister once told me...and it changed my thinking entirely. ;)

Morning Rose said...

Your post reminds me of the verse in the Bible that says it's not wise to compare yourselves among yourselves, indicative of the whole compare and despair syndrome so common in America which makes us discontent with what we have and greedy for what others have, be it a material possession or a more exciting life. I find myself guilty of this kind of greed as well, rather than being thankful for what I have. Thanks for the good reminder.

Sarah: said...

Oh dear Gretchen---I am so thankful for your earnest seeking after the things of God--your thoughts have driven me closer to Him more than once. This was exactly what I needed to hear today. In fact, it brought tears to my eyes to think of how much I am like the person Elisabeth was describing. Thank you for sharing what God had given to you today--He knew that I needed worked on through that message.
Love ya friend. I am still mulling over in my mind how to bring my brood down to visit Uncle Joshie and Auntie Gretchen.....

E said...

This was a wonderful message to read - I am grateful to you for sharing what God stirred in your heart today; it resonates for me as well! I love reading your blog Gretchen and I've become attached to girl-talk and some links I've drifted off to from there, as well. Hope you have a wonderful evening.
From Elise!

Gretchen said...

Emma -- you bless me so to say you're thinking was changed entirely. . . all I wanted to do for you was help to ease off the load that was too heavy for you to carry right now. Like Corrie Ten Boom's father told her, "you cannot carry that suitcase now, it is too heavy. But when you are older, you will have the strength to lift it". There IS future Grace!

MR -- I know my propensity to wanting things, that's why I avoid malls, online shopping, etc. But avoiding does not totally kill the lion of greed in my heart!

Sarah -- I know JUST how you feel. That is how I felt when I read the post from EE. It was so clearly ME. Hey, the weather here is still mild, my friend, so come on while it is still fall! :)

Elise -- I know I've asked before, but this is Elise Benzing, right?? If not, I beg your pardon for asking. You are too kind, dear friend and reader. I love GirlTalk, too! Have you read any of their books? They are super great. Thanks for reading!

Shane and Devin said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Enough said, I think....this post meant a lot to me.

E said...

Hi Gretchen - yes it's Elise Benzing! Don't worry at all about asking - I was wondering if I should put my full name anyhow just in case you didn't realize who I was! (Afterall, we've only even MET so few times...) I'm glad that I found your blog several months ago and can take in your wisdom as my cousin. Have a great great day :)

Johanna said...

Great post. That's something I should hear every day.