This week I was inspired to question my barometers of success, after reading a powerful testimony by another author. Kris Rystrom Emmert, the author of Providing Promise, shares a magnificent story of how God rebuilt her life after the tragic loss of her first husband, Commander Jon Rystrom in a Navy plane crash.
Our Personal Boxes
In her testimony, Kris shares how she had previously been so pleased and content, feeling like all of her “boxes” had been checked in her life as a young newlywed with a fruitful career and budding home life. After the tragedy, however, Kris writes that she felt as though her boxes were not just emptied, but completely “demolished.” There were many instances in this beautiful story that caused me to pause in contemplation of how God teaches us necessary lessons even in the midst of tragedies.
Reading this author’s story prompted me to reflect on my own “boxes.” I could definitely relate to this as I am used to measuring my own success based on my own personal checklists and “boxes.” Are the barometers that I have determined for success aligned though, with God’s for my life? Or are they tied more to material things or the appearance of successful relationships? Are my own personal “boxes” shaped more by the world or by the Word? And would I be devastated if God chose to demolish them?
It All Belongs to Him
I wonder how many victories the enemy has believed to have won getting God’s children in a place of comfort and “success” only to laugh and laugh as we forget to Whom it actually all belongs. While I could never imagine the devastation of tragically losing my husband (also a Navy veteran) as Kris did, I know more important than fearing a tragic loss is the correct focus on all of my loved ones belonging to God. None of what I possess is mine. Not even the “box” I have placed them in.
There is one box I probably could place a little more emphasis on, though. It’s the one that matters much more than what I do with my time; it’s what I do with my heart. Is my heart truly placed in the hands of my Savior as I promised Him it would be? Do all of my own “boxes” and barometers and special people fit into that box of “trust” being checked? Or am I holding them all outside of it, outside of what I’m willing to allow for, keeping them in the place where I believe I can keep them safe? How very foolish to continue in such a way. Today I really just need to check on where my heart is. The boxes? They don’t belong to me anyway.
Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s also the founder and head writer of Colossians46.com, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. Joanna is the co-author and editor of the recently released, “DiscipleTrip” by Dr. Joey Cook. Joanna’s first book, “Fire Women” is scheduled for release and publication this fall. Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly men-in-training. Her blog name “The Landing” comes from the account of the Ark resting on the mountain, creating a settled place — a landing — for man to start over, which echoes her new life in Christ.