We had a great long weekend at Disney World, but tonight I am happy to be blogging from my comfy sofa in front of an exciting Alabama football game on television.
It was a joy to explore WDW for the first time sans strollers and with children tall enough to try rides they hadn't been able to experience before. I love watching the growth that seems to happen before my very eyes when they are out of their element and exploring new places.
My husband & I were especially entertained by watching our little thrill seeker, K, take on the big rides. Her favorites were Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, Test Track at Epcot, and Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. She did them all more than once with no fear, curls flying, huge grins and infectious giggles. That little girl takes life head on!
It was a great trip because through the power of Disney magic (sets, props, costumes, music, marketing) we got to feel like we'd been in the past, the future, foreign lands, underwater, space, a safari, inside fairy tales, cartoons and more. While I love watching my children grow and experience new things, I was reminded of the danger of thinking these imitations are the real thing.
It may seem like a stretch...but in the context of my 'real life' as we left it Thursday it is not. Just before we left I had coffee with a 19 year old friend of mine. She's a former resident of the group home that has lived a tough life and is now trying to transition to adulthood without ANY family support. As you might imagine this has really set her up for less than wise choices when it comes to male companionship. Out of respect for her privacy, I won't share details, but suffice it to say, she is in a situation that is far less than ideal. She and I spent the morning discussing the temptation to 'settle' for what will 'do' rather than what is best--especially for young women when it comes to love, security and relationships.
I shared with her a story about when I was in my early 20s--a recent college graduate--trying to feather my little nest. I really wanted a piece of furniture to hold my television. I had something in mind--a hardwood piece that would hopefully last for many years. The trouble was its cost exceeded my available funds. I would have to save for it for a few months and be content for my television to sit on the floor in the meantime.
I decided to save for the 'perfect piece'-- but every time I went to Walmart and saw a less expensive press board option that I could afford right now I was tempted to exhaust my meager savings for the temporary fix. In a rare moment of 22-year-old-me wisdom, I realized this choice meant I would have to start all over with my saving and that I might get so used to the temporary option I would give up on saving for 'the one.'
I explained to my young friend the parallel God revealed to me about things FAR MORE important than a silly piece of furniture...like purity, a godly marriage, debt, meaningful friendships...It was a lesson that made a huge impact on my life.
In the same way riding Mission Space is thrilling in the short term, it does not make my girl an astronaut. There are rarely shortcuts to the truest and most meaningful and rewarding parts of life. Yet, we live in a world that wants to give us charge us much for short-lived little tastes. Don't settle. Don't settle. Don't settle. Hold out for the life that is really life described in John 10:10.
And this is my prayer, especially for young women, because this message is heavy on my heart for you: Don't settle for a relationship that is less than God's best for you. Convenient, easy, comfortable are rarely the indicators God uses of His path for your life. Marriage is a covenant relationship. Sex was intended to be within that bond. It is far better to be single than to get nervous and make your own way. Trust Him. Wait for His best. Don't allow the Enemy to play on your emotions and tempt you to cling to things that are not from Him.
And lest I sound high and mighty--like I have somehow arrived--this truth extends to old ladies my age too. May I not link my life satisfaction to the next trip, the next purchase, feeling 'needed', fulfillment in status or imaginary lives in novels or tv shows...May God and His Plans for my little life be IT for me...and for you.
May the things of this world merely whet our appetite for the eternal rather than lead us to be satisfied by cheap substitutes. There's truly nothing like the real thing.