Fill in the Blank: “Life Is More Than ___ to Me”

The Quest for Perfect Shoes

I’m wandering the aisles in the shoe department. I’m looking for size 7 tennis shoes—no laces—for my friend V. But I’m not sure what style she prefers.

  • Maybe these blue ones? No, they look too hard to put on and pull off.
  • These purple ones? No, she doesn’t like the color purple, so she probably wouldn’t want purple shoes.
  • Maybe the white ones? No, they’d show dirt too easily and she wouldn’t know how to clean them.

I want to get this right.

I finally settle on a pair of navy slip-ons, with elastic instead of shoe strings. But will she like them? I just don’t know.

Details, Details, Details

No wonder I don’t like to shop. While I’m grateful for options, sometimes we have too many choices. I don’t enjoy shopping for myself, and I’m even more uncomfortable shopping for someone else.

I can get too bogged down in details. In my desire for the optimal choice, I can freeze up. The uncertainty of “what if?” takes over.

So today I begin re-memorizing Matthew 6:25-34. They are the words of Jesus about trading lesser details for more important matters.

Looking closely at Jesus’s words, I zone in on this question he asks in verse 25: “Is not life more than ___?” He fills in the blank here with food and clothing.

But how am I filling in the blank?

  • Isn’t life more than . . . worrying about where I’ll park?
  • Isn’t life more than . . . overthinking my digital photos?
  • Isn’t life more than . . . replaying a previous conversation?
  • Isn’t life more than . . . obsessing about a single shoe purchase?

I could go on and on.

The Answer Is?

For each question, I get the same answer. Yes.

Yes, life is more than worries and overthinking and replays and obsessions.

In this year of Human as my One Word, I’ve set an intention for myself that I read each morning:

“Be present to love the people still in my life.”

But I’m such a time-traveler. Some days it’s quite difficult to stay present. My mind flits between past memories to future plans, back and forth, morning and night.

Lingering in this day, in this moment, can be challenging.

But loving the people here—in this very second—is what gives me life.

Her Other Shoes

V walks outside to meet me as I pull up to her apartment complex. As I step out of my car, I can tell she’s happy to see me. And I’m happy to deliver her new shoes to her.

While we’re still in the parking lot, before I can even pull her new shoes out of the bag to hand them over, V bubbles over with her own news.

V says, “Look at me! I have on new shoes!”

What? I think back to the laborious afternoon I spent choosing the shoes she asked me to buy, the shoes that are still waiting in my car for her.

Then I look down at the shoes she’s so thrilled about, the shoes she’s been walking around town in.

They are fuzzy blue houseshoes!

She says they are so comfortable. She’s been wearing them everywhere. Aren’t they pretty?

I feel something shift inside me.

I respond, “Why, yes, V, they are lovely!”

And I can’t help but smile. At her, with her childlike enthusiasm to wear fuzzy blue houseshoes wherever her feet can take her. And at me, for having to relearn again and again the same lesson of letting go of details.

I hand V the new tennis shoes I bought and say, “You can wear these shoes, too, whenever you want to.” She says she loves them and thank you.

In the future, I’m sure I’ll still care more about trivial details than is necessary. But at least today I’ve gotten one more nudge in the right direction to release them.

While Jesus didn’t say that food and clothing aren’t important, he just said they’re not the most important.

The most important thing in life—which always has been and always will be—is simply Love.

Here’s this week’s memory verse for those participating in our Summer Memory Challenge:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
– Matthew 6:25

What minor things fill in your blanks, “Isn’t life more than ___?” What are you trying to let go of? Share your thoughts in the comments.

12 thoughts on “Fill in the Blank: “Life Is More Than ___ to Me”

  1. Susan

    This morning is so difficult after the night I’ve had. I have CIPN – chemo induced peripheral neuropathy in my whole body. A night of nightmares and pain where I ended up on the living room floor at 4:30AM in tears. Life is more than _______! My mind can’t even go there. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

  2. Martha J Orlando

    Once again, Lisa, you’ve reminded us to “not sweat the small stuff – it’s all small stuff” when it comes to living for God’s glory and honor. May we all be more mindful of those around us and the needs they have in the present.

  3. Jean Wise

    What a fascinating question – i love to gather questions to use with spiritual direction clients and in my own journaling. Isn’t life more than ___?” is a great one to tuck into my heart. love fill in the blank things like this: so open and inviting. I have been using both with directees and with myself.
    I want….
    I need…
    I hope…

  4. Jeanne Takenaka

    Lisa, I may be the queen of overthinking. And, yes, when there are a lot of choices, my brain sometimes gears into overdrive. I resonate with your gentle reminder that the best thing we can do is be present with the humans in our days. With my busy June, I’m taking this reminder to heart and will choose to be more concerned about the people than the choices/things coming in the future/worries, etc.

  5. Heather Dalzell

    We can get so caught up in details, Lisa. I pray before I do any thing that God will lead and guide me wherever I go and whatever l do. The Holy Spirit simplifies everything l enjoy browsing and shopping. Life can be so complex. That is a great message! Thank you.

  6. Donna

    Lisa, Oh, how I love this story! I am so YOU in the re-telling, I would have labored over the choosing of those shoes too, and then I can only imagine your thoughts when she displayed her fuzzy slippers!
    As I’m participating in the summer memory challenge with you in Matthew, pondering Mathew 6:25, with you here is great. I did not make the same connection, but God has drawn me in here, because “Life is more than my schedule/agenda”.

    I have recently become so focused on those things I am literally losing life, the abundant life Christ promised. Thank you for this wonderful reminder today, I will be sitting with this question often.

  7. Donna Reidland

    Gift shopping has frequently been a challenge for me. Somehow I seem to think every gift has to be the perfect gift. But it’s something I’ve been working on. I’ve been reminding myself that while I do want to put thought into the gifts I buy, it’s not about some kind of perfection.

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