Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Trying To Light What Can't Give Light

I recently officiated at a wedding, one of my favorite things to do as a pastor. The reception was in a lovely venue out in the Texas hill country. Some friends at our church were also there both to assist with some of the wedding preparations and then to attend.

So after the wedding finished we were getting ready to sit down at one of tables but my friend and his wife were, like the servants they are, going around to see that the candles on the tables were lit.  Each table had a large candle in the middle with four smaller candles around it outside of the glass covering for the larger candle.

So the man came by our table with his lighter and easily lit the four smaller candles but couldn't seem to get the large one in the middle lit. He finally gave up only to have his sweet wife come by, lift up the candle, turn it over and click the switch on the bottom. It was obviously electric and a fake. We all had a good laugh afterward seeing our friend with a slightly red face.

And I thought to myself . . . how many people in everyday life are trying to get light or a flame out of something that was never intended to light?

They try. Sometimes over and over. They believe with all their heart that some activity or person or accomplishment will finally light up for them and give them what they had hoped for.  But like that electric bulb, which was never intended to become a warm flame, their hoped for satisfaction never appears either. 

Getting married,  having children, getting that promotion, obtaining that long-sought-after degree, seeing their kids win awards, owning more stuff, getting the big house, having a parent finally affirm them . . . .The list is endless. And yet they keep striking their match.

We've all done this, haven't we? The question is, "Have we gotten over the pull of things or people for our fulfillment?"  Are we trying to light a flame that is un-lightable?

If you are, then it's time for a recalibration of your thinking and your heart. It's time to learn that there are many wonderful things on most of our lists that are good to desire, but terrible to demand. Much unhappiness in life is really the result of  unmet expectations. And if we expect these things or people to make us happy we will live the rest of our lives with expectations never reached. We'll be trying to light an electric candle with a match.

Practically?  Start being thankful for what you already have. More is never enough.  Begin to pray more for what you desire and ask God to take away your demand for anything or anyone but Him.

Second, slow down, live with less and add margin to your life. Limit how many activities your kids are in and how often the family taxi has to run to meet all their needs. If you'll try this even on a small scale you will find yourself enjoying life and your family so much more.

Third, take inventory with  your spouse or a friend and admit those things have been  your lights that won't light. Don't beat yourself up, just commit to quit trying to light them. Take a first step to live differently and find your own real candle that does light.

You'll be a lot less irritated and a lot less . . . .well, shall I say "embarassed."
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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