All else fades like the flowers

Isaiah 55:8-9 says:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

My Christian walk is often about opposites. I naturally tend to go in one direction, while God calls me to much better. I sometimes don’t understand Him, but neither do the angels or demons, the latter which will use our misunderstandings and weakness against me. In spiritual battle, God’s strategy is high above the Enemy. In the mental world of doctrine and law, God’s way is high above mine: he cares more about me working through the difficulty of relationships than my own tendency to love trivia and knowledge. And in the face of physical illness and death, God sees how I can appreciate my gifts better due to the pain or loss.

I was at a speech and debate tournament last week. I won 6th place in an event that I had just started in two weeks prior to the competitive events and 14th place in a completely random and improvised speech. Nevertheless, I came away disappointed. I had every intention of winning a majority of my debate rounds. Instead, I won only two of my six debate rounds. There were three rounds that I thought I should have won. I even discussed one of these rounds with the opponent I lost to, and he said that he agreed: I deserved to have won. I came home with the seeming failure in debate, feeling confused that so many judges could overlook the kinds of arguments that were so crucial to the issues discussed.

The interesting thing about my experience is that could have gone in two directions with it: Follow the whispers of the spiritual Enemy, or continue to follow the loving guidance of my Father in Heaven. The Enemy was telling me that I’d never succeed because I wasn’t good enough; God was telling me that I was to keep faith, keep trying, and remain content with the results. My dad mentioned in our church meeting Sunday that the Enemy will tell you to be arrogant and refuse to keep challenging yourself, while God’s commands are to remain humble and keep encouraging others.

What I need to learn is to take from experiences like a 2-4 loss in debate and find a level of contentment in it. This goes for all experiences, because if I rely on that particular thing to bring me happiness, then I need to rethink not only happiness itself, but also contentment. I can’t control the results of my actions, but I sure can control my actions.

To illustrate this, let’s look at two songs in popular Christian music. The first is Stacie Orrico’s “More to life”. This particular artist likes to play the game of making her songs to present the problems the world has, without necessarily including the answer to the problem. The lyrics of the song go like this:

I’ve got it all, but I feel so deprived
I go up, I come down and I’m emptier inside
Tell me what is this thing that I feel like I’m missing
And why can’t I let it go

There’s gotta be more to life…
Than chasing down every temporary high to satisfy me
Cause the more that I’m…
Trippin’ out thinkin’ there must be more to life
Well it’s life, but I’m sure… There’s gotta be more

It’s no wonder the song is so popular, because so many can relate. I often listen to the song and think to myself, “What is missing?” She concludes that you can’t just be chasing simple short-lived enjoyments, but doesn’t provide the answer. There are a few problems with this mindset, and we’ll name them before getting to the other song.

1. The mindset of temporary “highs” places the expectations of fulfillment too low.

2. The mindset of temporary “highs” allows for a self-centered guide of actions.

3. The mindset of temporary “highs” tells us that all life has to offer is empty, worthless, wasted time.

While these shortcomings are clear, we’re still asking the question, “What’s the answer to fulfillment?” Rebecca St. James answers this question in her song, “That’s what matters”:

I read about this guy once
He seemed to own the earth
As far as big shots go and people in the know… well
He was definitely top of the list
Anything he wanted- he’d get it
Society’s dream
Had lots of stuff- had lots of money
But you know what’s funny?
He said it all was useless
Meaningless- Meaningless
He said “Everything is meaningless…
A chase after the wind”

Don’t wish for a better day
Be glad and use the one you’re in
Fear God and do exactly what He says
That’s what matters
All else fades like the flowers

Of all the things we can spend our lives doing, the only way to attain true fulfillment is to follow God’s teachings. You know what’s great about that? Fulfillment doesn’t have anything to do with circumstances. You can come in first place, last place or somewhere in between and still be fulfilled. It’s crucial for me to remember that my calling is to obey God–not necessarily to win, come out on top, have the best testimony, be among the most talented, or have the best score. It’s all about being the opposite of what the worlds thinks, about doing what God says. All else fades like the flowers.

  • tereza crump aka MyTreasuredCreations

    Cynthia, you are an amazing young lady! The Lord will honor your heart and guide you in His perfect ways! :) tereza

  • Vanessa Murphy

    You have blessed me today. You are so well-spoken, intelligent, and mature. I will take your good character and attributes and use them as my springboard in prayer for my 4 sons and 1 daughter. God bless your parents.

  • Kristy

    “It’s all about being the opposite of what the worlds thinks, about doing what God says. All else fades like the flowers.”

    I love this statement Cynthia! I was a professional singer for years. I sang all over winning most contests I would choose to enter and being unhappy when I lost some. I gave it all up to do just what you wrote… to be the opposite of what the world thinks. Reading your beautiful feelings warmed my heart. It’s very obvious that you have terific parents and have a very special purpose in this life. ~hugs~

  • Rachel from Wisconsin

    Hi Cynthia!

    Thanks for another thought-provoking post. I have been listening to a lot of Christian Radio lately, and after reading what you wrote, I’m thinking that I should give more thought to the words in the songs. :o)

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and insight!

  • Gabriela

    Thanks Cynthia,
    I needed that, even though it is a lesson I may be reluctent to learn it is still neccessary.

  • Sherry

    What a blessing! We are not far behind–#15 expected in June.

    You’ve heard of the Colorado 14er’s, well we must be in the Colorado 15er’s!


  • Pingback: Here in This Moment | Cynthia Jeub()

  • SartrewasaMoron

    Wow, I honor the person that you were, as well as the person you have become. :)