By Daniel Botha
We’ve all been in those uncomfortable situations where we feel that we are being violently shaken. We feel that we can’t handle what life throws at us anymore, and the way we react doesn’t seem like us at all.
What got me thinking on this topic? Take a guess.
As usual, something that happened in the early morning shaped my thoughts for today. I had just eaten a hearty breakfast of tuna on toast and I was busy gathering all my things for work. I picked up my wallet, one of those aluminum card cases, and dropped it. The drop wasn’t intentional but despite my best efforts to catch it, the case landed on the floor and spewed cards everywhere.
Out of the case came loyalty cards, drivers license, medical aid card, and bank cards. Our dogs tried to steal one or two of the dropped cards but without much success.
I picked up the card case, and gathered the many cards, and my thoughts started to run. What if we are like the aluminum case?
Well, if we are like the aluminum case, then the cards are all the things that we fill our lives with, all the tasks, activities, thoughts, feelings, and things that we think are important. We have all our sporting activities, watching TV, our collection of possessions, our hobbies, our friends, and our job.
If I were to give my wallet to a complete stranger, what would they be able to tell me about myself from what cards I am carrying? What cards define who I am? What cards are auxiliary? What cards are downright unnecessary and a bad portrayal of who you are?
When I picked up the aluminum case, I noticed that there was a single card left in it. Through the process of being dropped and shaken, this card had stayed put in its assigned slot. And could you guess the card? The most important card (to me), my bank card.
If you think about it, what is the definition of a wallet? In my mind, a wallet is a way to carry around money, and in the absence of physical money, a representation thereof, in this case, my card.
So through the whole process of the wallet being shaken, hitting the ground and spewing its contents out, the bank card remained. The only card in the wallet which was fulfilling the purpose of the wallet.
If we take ourselves as the wallet, again; what happens when we are shaken? What falls out? What unnecessary things drop to the ground?
Being shaken can take two forms, it can be involuntary, or voluntary.
Being shaken involuntarily is what we feel the most. This is a result of us going through life and encountering different situations. These different situations allow us to be shaken in different ways, and different cards fall out depending on how we are shaken. In life this would be that way that we handle stress, the way that we respond to inconveniences, our reactions in general. In our “wallet” we have a set of cards that define who we are, or who we think we are. Being shaken brings out some of the cards. If we like the card that came out, we put it back, if we don’t like the card, we chuck it out; but is not so easy.
Many times when we are shaken, cards fall out that we didn’t know were in our “wallet.” A car swerves in front of you, and suddenly, the rage card flies out. We have our moment, and it goes away, but we ignore the root cause, and the card goes back into the wallet, allowing its use on another day.
We live our lives being shaken, picking up the cards that fall out of our lives, and putting them right back without so much as a thought of where they originated from, or if they are of any benefit to us.
Being shaken voluntarily is more like introspection. We allow God to shake us so that all that remains is that which is important, that for which we have been created. We are shaken and out come the credit cards, the store cards, the loyalty cards, the movie cars, the medical cards. What is left? What cards refuse to leave the wallet? These are the cards that God put there, the cards that he provided you with when you entered this world. These cards are the purpose of your existence. In my wallets case, this was my bank card. My wallet was created to carry money, or its representation.
When we are shaken by the storms of life, or by God, we finally realize what is important in life. We see the irrelevance of some of the things that we carry around with us each day, and some of the things that we hold as valuable.
Looking into your life after being shaken, take a careful look at what fell out. Take a careful look at where the cards came from. Do you really need to put all of them back? What cards are taking up space? What cards are hampering your purpose?
Jesus gave each one of us a purpose to live for, in the wallets case, the bank card. All the other cards are either gifts from Him, or cards that we have picked up along the way.
If you find yourself shaken, take careful note of what you put back into your life. Remember, what you put in, is what you get out. When all is stripped away, and you simply come to God, what do you see?