Mu , my best friend, emailed me just now, wanting to know if I won that contest about writing a description of Jane Austen's suitor. I had forgotten the results were due today. I went to check the results. (http://janitesonthejames.blogspot.com/ )
Lo and Behold! I am a winner! Of course I think Mu may have flooded the poll with her votes for me. She assured me yesterday when we got together that she only voted once a day, being the law abiding, rule following citizen that she is. I sipped my coffee and felt like a winner already. I had the most supportive best friend anyone could have.
Either way, finding out I won was a spot of delight in my morning just now. Everybody loves to win. We all want to be winners in life. Winning a marathon or a contest is right up there as a life long goal for many people.
I have had a strange history in winning some things. My family can recite all my prizes. First there was the Polaroid camera I won from Barker's Department store, ages ago, back when it was the first and only real store in our town. Now our town is a suburban shopping hall of fame. And shopping is my least favorite activity to indulge in. If I spend a day shopping at the mall with my daughter, I come home feeling flat, lifeless, and sullen. Nothing I want is at the mall. All my dreams lie elsewhere.
Then there was the artificial Christmas Tree I won at a nearby garden center. This was before I was married. My family used this tree for many years. Actually, they only returned it to me a couple years ago when my brother and my father's organic-natural-no preservatives obsession rose to its heights. They got rid of the microwave, all polyester sheets, and returned the artificial Christmas tree to me. It has worked nicely for us. In fact it still stands proudly in the corner of my living room right now. Half the ornaments have been taken off and wrapped. I need to finish the rest of the de-robing, take the tree apart, and pack it away for next Christmas's celebration.
And who knows what I will have won or gained by next Christmas! There are other little things that I have won, here and there. But there are some big things that I am still aiming for. I'm not sure you can win these things. I don't think you can deserve them, though, either. The fulfillment of dreams requires an odd combination of things. I think you have to "see" your hope before you, go after your dream, cooperate with God, and boldly go into the Uncomfortable Unknown.
If "the Kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent take it by force", then there will be some major expansion, some big accomplishments, that I will only gain by exerting myself to the utmost. Perseverance, diligence, strategic planning and some quiet plodding will be required.
On the other hand, after I've done all I can do, then God has to also do His part in parting the waters before me at just the right time that I dare to step into the raging sea...so that I may go across.
Cause that's what winners do.