I used to work in a small boutique here in Auburn that was (and still is) known for their children’s clothing and shoes. So we obviously had a lot of children in and out of the store every day, and many days these children wanted only one thing.
You see we would put a sign out in front of the store every day to welcome in our clients or highlight our newest arrivals. And each day we would blow up several balloons with the helium tank in the back, and attach those balloons to the sign outside.
So what did all the children want? Not candy, not new shoes – no sir they wanted a balloon of their own. (What is it with kids and balloons? It’s some sort of scientific attraction like a magnet to metal.)
And it didn’t matter to me if the child asked nicely or took the shy approach and merely pointed to the balloons – if a simple helium filled, colorful, polka-dotted balloon would make a toddler smile, I was all too happy to go to the back, blow one up and hand it to the little munchkin.
But as you can imagine, the minute a toddler spotted a toy in the back the balloon would be forgotten, drifting slowly but surely to the ceiling, completely out of reach of the toddler and everyone else in the store. And if you’ve ever been around an unhappy toddler you know the sound that would come out of that child next, and that sound was never ever pretty.
(I quickly learned to cut the string that I attached to these balloon super-long so that when the child inevitably let go of the string I could easily reach the balloon without having to set up the 10-foot ladder we kept on hand. With one easy grab I could return the balloon to the little child with a quivering chin, thus thwarting the temper tantrum that was on the verge of being let loose in the store.)
When we lose focus of what’s important, bad things can happen. When we take our eyes off Jesus He can feel as though He’s a million miles away, just as a child’s balloon feels as it drifts toward the ceiling. When I stop looking at Jesus and look at the world (Ooohhhh, look at that sweater at Anthropologie – those vacation pictures on FaceBook – the house she’s building) my thoughts become a garbled mess of lies from the enemy. Peace eludes me and discontentment quickly takes root.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
The key to a mind that rests in perfect peace? It is a mind that steadfastly focuses on and trusts in the only One who can truly give peace.
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