It's easy to forget to pay attention to the little details of life, especially when things are going smoothly.
The marriage has been happy and comfortable with no major conflict. Wife feels well loved, husband feels respected. There's nothing to "work" on, so they take a break from working on things and sit back to enjoy the season of contentment.
Children have been well-behaved, obedient, respectful, and loving toward one another. It's easy to let one little incident of disrespect slide...after all, s/he has been so good lately that it seems over the top to discipline that one little slip up.
Finances, spiritual life, friendships - same story. Being good stewards of the gifts God has given us can take a lot of work (it can be downright exhausting), so after periods of hard work all we really want to do is take a rest. During seasons of relative harmony, we let don our guard and become less vigilant about maintaining the standard. It only takes a short period of time before struggles arise. It can feel so sudden - out of nowhere, even.
Imagine that you own a precious, priceless, astounding piece of jewelry. Or an invaluable historical document (think "National Treasure"). You have hired someone to guard what is precious to you, so that it does not get lost, stolen, or damaged. The unthinkable happens. Your treasure is gone!
Understandably upset, you ask your security guard how this possibly could have happened? The guard tells you that things had been going so well...there were no robbery attempts, nothing was amiss, things seemed so peaceful...so your guard simply took the day off. After all, the guard had worked so hard for so long to protect your treasure - a break was certainly deserved.
The logic doesn't stand so well anymore, does it?
God has given each one of us things to guard on His behalf - our marriages, our families, our finances, our spiritual lives. He has charged us with the job of protecting these gifts as the treasures they are. They belong to Him, and we do not have the luxury of "taking a break."
This trip (Disneyland, 2009) has reminded me of that truth. Our family was in a glorious season that many referred to as "blessed." Peace, contentment, and stability reigned. And after what felt like years of hard work at managing finances/marriage/children, I kicked back on my heels to take a little rest. I let the little things slip - a bit of overspending here, allowing myself to react in an overly-emotional way to something my husband said (that I know was not intended to insult), ignoring a few words of sibling bickering - because they'd been so good, and if I'm honest because I didn't want to put out the energy required to deal with it.
The struggles on our way down here, as unwelcome as they were, have been a blessing. God's wake up call to me. He has called me to do a job for Him, and there are no days off. I am the only one He has "hired" for these specific jobs - there is no relief staff. If I walk away and take a day off, enjoy a little nap, or let just a couple things slide through, the treasure could be lost (or stolen).
Some things can be too easy to forget; thankfully I have a loving Father who helps me to remember.
A re-post from the archives.
Interesting tidbit - could have written this post again today, as God has been gently reminding me to stay focused and alert, diligent in all that He's called me to do (time with Him, being a good wife and patient mother, financial stewardship, writing, speaking, being a friend...).