Monday, April 25, 2016
Tales from the Laguna Woods
"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor for your body, as to what ye shall put on--" Matthew 6:25 KJV
No thought. NO thought? NO THOUGHT?
I was supposed to be packing for a 3-day women's retreat--my first with Cornerstone Church where I knew almost no one. I was taking thought about clothes for hot days, clothes for chilly nights, clothes for the hotel, the pool, for walks on the beach, clothes that make pleasing color and fabric combinations--clothes which would match Jerry's, even on Saturday when we wouldn't see each other.
How could I take NO thought about any of that? Was I just to reach my hand into a dark closet and pull things out at random? Because if that's what it meant, that's what I would do.
The "lillies of the field" analogy didn't seem to wash. Yes, God clothes flowers--but He does it by having them be "born" wearing one perfect outfit that lasts their entire life. No, they don't have to toil and spin but their "clothes" never need to be laundered either, never have to be mended, never wear out. I don't think God mean we are to wear nothing but our birthday suits all our lives.
Anyway I did a quick word study on μεριμνάω (merimnao), the word used for "thought" in the Matthew passage above. It comes from a root word meaning "a part, as opposed to the whole. . . drawn in opposite directions, to go to pieces because pulled apart, like the force exerted by anxiety, worry" Strong's Concordance http://biblehub.com/greek/3309.htm. In every translation but the King James, the word merimnao in Matthew 6:25 reads as a phrase: Don't worry, don't be anxious, don't take pains for yourselves, be not solicitous. http://biblehub.com/matthew/6-25.htm
In our vernacular, it's talking about being over-anxious, about excessive concern, not total lack of awareness. That was a relief.
Still, I was over-anxious for some reason. So I refused to "take thought" about the clothes I would pack. Every time I started to stress about it, feeling divided, I blocked the thought with "Lord, You know what I will be doing at the retreat and what the weather will be. You let me know what to take."
It came right down to the minute where something had to go into the tote bag but I was no longer concerned about it. And one by one specific items came to my mind. This pair of capris, that top, this pair of shoes, that jacket.
I packed as led, letting go of the questions that rose when I felt directed to take two jackets and not to take a certain pair of sandals I'd considered essential.
At the end of the weekend I marveled that what I took was exactly what I needed--and I had packed far less than anyone else sharing the car ride down to Laguna Woods.
In the back of my mind I had even been afraid God had no fashion sense. What odd combinations would He stick me with? When I confided my concerns after the fact, my roommates exchanged a look, rolling their eyes, and one of them said, "He designed the universe. I think He can put together a wardrobe."