That’s my prayer. “May you have good eyes.” Specifically, it’s my prayer for my husband. So, that was where I decided to begin Reclaiming Abundance- by claiming words from the Word for him. Because he’s the head of our home, and that means a unique set of responsibilities rests on him. Because as his wife, one of my responsibilities is to fight for him in prayer, to cheer him on, because we’re in this adventure together. And how we experience the adventure before us is determined heavily by our mentality, our mindset, our “perspectacles” as Glennon calls them.
So, what happens when a family is struggling financially? It’s hard for everyone, but I believe men tend to battle shame more than women when it comes to providing for their family. And sometimes it’s just as bad when you’re not struggling financially! When enough is never enough, when other people have houses, or buy schmancy organic hipster groceries, or expensive electronics, or what have you.
Our culture (and really, our world- because come on, people, America isn’t the only place on earth you can find materialistic consumerism; I’m fairly sure that existed long before us- human condition and all that…) Where was I? Sometimes my parenthetical thoughts run down rabbit holes… Oh! Yes.
Our culture ascribes to the standard that having certain things or positions is not only the gateway to happiness, but they are milestones in a life. No wonder shame runs rampant in our world! And I know. It’s so easy when things are tangible and are accompanied by lots of legal paperwork to think this way. Who wouldn’t feel important buying a house??? And I’m not saying you shouldn’t; that’s super exciting! And if you just bought a house and are planning a housewarming party, invite us so we can come eat your food and I can make notes about your fabulous decor!
This is why I chose Matthew 6: 19-25a, 33 as my first week’s project. Jesus is talking (so that’s a good sign it’s important), and he says:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
Okay, so technically, that’s Matthew 6:19-34, but I couldn’t fit all of it in the frame I chose, and there were a couple chunks of it I really wanted just for Ryan, so I tweaked it. Here’s where my mind was blown recently, and why I had to use this verse for my hubby. My dear friend, Wendy (yeah, the one I keep talking about who is amazing) brought up this section in the last few weeks when we were talking about battling with worry, money, etc. She pointed out that when it talks about the eye being healthy/unhealthy, we typically think about it in a be-careful-little-eyes-what-you-see kind of way. HOWEVER, it makes a whole lot more sense if you think of it as your perspective- your perspectacles (can you tell I love that?)- your abundance or scarcity mentality. Therefore, if you have good eyes, or healthy eyes, your whole body will be full of goodness and light. And if you have bad eyes, or unhealthy eyes, you survive life instead of living it. DOESN’T THAT BLOW YOUR MIND?!?!
This also gives the part that says, “No one can serve two masters… you cannot serve both God and money” even more meaning, because when you dwell in scarcity, status quo, and paltry standards of the world, you are a slave to the dollar. Your future hangs on measly, finite resources, instead of on the Almighty, Infinite God’s provision. When you dwell in the abundance of Who He Is, you remember that his grace is sufficient for you; when you are not enough (i.e. all the time), he is more than enough. So, rejoice! When you come to the end of your bank account- rejoice! Because it’s an opportunity to realize when you come to the end of your money, you haven’t come to the end of you. You get to see clearly (if you choose to) where your identity is- in Christ and the fullness of the salvation he brings, both for your eternity and your now. Celebrate if you know that you’ll have something to eat for lunch. And if you have seemingly insurmountable bills to pay next week, forget about them once you’ve done what you can. God has taken care of it all.
As I thought about good eyes this week- about seeing well- God let me see this quote from one of Ann Voskamp’s blog posts this week, “We get to surrender to the glory, to the weight of it coming through the thinning sky, and there’s nothing in this world that’s normal — there’s only growing blind to the glory. There’s only growing blind to the injustice, to the blood on our own hands, to the love we could make, to the One who says, “Holy Father, keep them in Your name…. —- that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11) (Go read her posts, by the way. So. Good.)
So, that’s why I claim this verse for my husband. Because my prayer is that he has good eyes, that he will see the glory, the beauty, the abundance around us, and that this will translate to me and to our daughter, too. I pray hard to train my own eyes to be healthy obviously; I mean, I am responsible for my own relationship with God. But when it comes to making that the standard in our family- not just a milestone, but the cornerstone of our lives- I need a partner in crime. We need a unified vision. After all, you can try to go it alone- live abundantly. But we’re not meant to. It’s called the “family of God” for a reason.
So, my plan is to hang this by Ryan’s side of the bed, so the words hover near him, to guard him when we go to sleep and when we wake up. Even if he doesn’t stare them down every day, I believe these words have power that transforms even subconsciously over time. “Here I raise mine Ebenezer” as Come Thou Fount says. (If you are one of those people who changes that line in that song, I brandish my fist at you, sir. “Ebenezer” is awesome because it means “Stone of Help.” Go read about it here and sing Come Thou Fount the right way.) Up until now, the Lord has helped us; we will tell our souls to be faithful and rejoice.
I pray this for you too! May you have good eyes.