I think it’s okay that some stuff doesn’t matter to you even when it seems to matter a lot to other people.
I was driving in the car, the second and third buttons of my coat open because of my growing belling, and probability would say that Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” was playing on 93.9. I noticed the cadence of my heart begin to increase in correspondence with the grip of my hands on the wheel. I felt it driving down Silver Lake Road– the pressure of feeling as if I ought to be doing more. The more- as is typical– was simply a swirl of ideas– make more gingerbread houses, read more to my kids, coordinate more of my outfits, wash my sheets more. Pray more. Be alone more. Be with people more. Give more.
I felt this pressure and I asked God the question, How am I supposed to know which of these things ought to really matter? Because the tricky part is, sometimes the seemingly trivial things should matter and sometimes the serious things shouldn’t. Sometimes washing my sheets might do more the create a kingdom-like peace in my house than any sort of advent devotion. So how I am supposed to tell, I asked God, What should matter and what shouldn’t?
And grace had me whisper, “Keep close to the kingdom.” And I felt the prayer’s truth, and I found myself whispering it over and over again, “Keep me close, keep me close.” And I felt the pressure in my chest begin to release. The answer I received was not an analytical answer, was not so much communicable through words as it was through experience. But it felt something like this: “First, know you are loved. Then pay attention to the unique energy that is created from your decisions– does the result of each action fill you up? Sit well in your unique heart? If it does, it is good.”
The answer is paradoxically simple and complex. Because the very same decisions that might bring a kingdom-like energy for me might not bring them for you.
This time of the year, living in suburbia, having access to every blog imaginable via the internet, and scrolling through social media too much can make me forget that it’s okay that some things don’t matter to me. Because when I meet someone to whom something matters a great deal– a particular social cause, the involvement of their kid in every sport imaginable… having their kids wear clean, matching socks– these interactions create the pressure I was feeling in the car the other day. But they don’t have to. When we are close to the kingdom, it is okay to let some of these things go, at least for a little while.
Because maybe being okay with what doesn’t matter frees us to discover what does.