I have lots of stuff. Stuff on walls, shelves, in corners, on the floor, in closets. It’s pretty much everywhere. I’m not a hoarder or anything. My sickness is much more refined. I’m a collector. I acquire antiques, Charlie Chaplin memorabilia, cast iron pots, spools, Kelly Rae Roberts art, owls, and books. Lots and lots of books. The hubby and I have been painting the inside of the house. One glorious room at a time. Since we both work, well, let’s just say it’s taking awhile. And that’s OK. We have more time than money.
Our house, however, in the midst of our renovation, is a testament to the fruits of my collections. Boxes line the halls and floors. Bare walls and blue-taped base boards and crown molding greet me every day. Last night, as I stood at the sink for over two hours, washing away the grease and grime of my top-of-the-kitchen-cabinet decor, I wondered, Is God enough?
Lady Di and I had an interesting conversation a couple of weeks ago at our spot. (I missed last weekend due to a wicked awful stomach flu that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, enemy, or enemy. In my sick haze, nothing sounded good to eat, so I chewed on the manna God provided from my last meeting with Di.) She mentioned that she had accumulated a lot of “compensators” in her life. In typical Heather fashion, I ventured to the dictionary for a definition of compensate: offset, be equivalent to, counterbalance. Hmm… So compensators counterbalance. Gee, that would mean my life isn’t in balance. Because I have TONS of compensators. My halls are lined with them. I even have Meniere’s Disease to prove just how off balance I am.
So then I looked up the word counter. The results astounded me: contrary to the right course, opposed. In other words, all these things I acquire and all these things I do, like binge-watching Veronica Mars even though I’ve seen all three seasons four times, or adding books to my Amazon wish list even though I have more books in my house than I could read in my lifetime, are throwing me off balance. They are contrary to the right course. And there is only One right course, way or path.
Jesus tells us that He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). He warns us about straying from Him or His Way. He knew we would fill up our lives with meaningless compensators. We are, after all, only human. But He didn’t want us to lose our way because of them. In Matthew 7, Jesus says that we can “enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell (Greek for road that leads to destruction) is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (13-14). I certainly don’t want to miss the narrow road because my life is so cluttered with compensators that I can’t even see it.
I know God doesn’t expect me to pack up all my stuff and plop it on the Salvation Army doorstep, or burn my Veronica Mars DVDs, or delete my Amazon account. But I do think He wants to be enough, expects to be enough. He should be, because He IS balance; He is perfection. If I put Him at the center of myself, then how could I possibly need to compensate for anything?
As I look at the grime-free ceramics and kitchen gadgets awaiting their spot at the top of the cabinets, I ask myself if I need them. Truthfully, I don’t. But I will still put them up there, knowing that they are not happiness. They are not balance. They do not fill a void (other than the space between cabinet top and ceiling). I am finally starting to live my life as if God is enough. Because, dear friends, He is.
What are the compensators in your life?