Dear Lucy: It's a new year and I really want this one to be better than the last. But if my daughter does not get her act together it won't. This girl just refuses to grow up and I spend my time, money, and worry on her. I am so tired of trying to help her grow up, picking up her pieces and now all I can see is how immature and irresponsible she is at forty years old. I know I should love her unconditionally but I can only see her shortcomings. Please help me! – Need A Better Year
Dear Mom: Have you ever heard the saying, "The devil is in the details?" That statement always confused me until recently. If "the devil is in the details," then "where is God?" I thought.
After considering, I came to the conclusion that God is in the big picture, the one we all share. The big picture is where we get to love and be loved unconditionally.
The big picture is where we all get to be on a level playing field. This is where we know that we are all in the same boat. It's the boat where we all "fall short of the glory of God" as we evolve/grow into our potential to be as wonder-filled as we are meant to be, living in the image of God.
The big picture is where we remember not only who we are, but WHOSE we are.
However, "the devil is in the detail" and the detail is a huge distraction! The distractions of our pain and faults as we evolve and grow up into bigger and better versions of ourselves grab our attention and keep us "Comparing ourselves among ourselves" as St. Paul would say.
Here is an abstract example:
I have an iPhone 4. When the iPhone5 came out people stood in line for hours to get it. The "5" was a more evolved and improved version of the "4." I was just fine keeping my "4." I don't see a lot of benefit in this new version that make me want to pay the price of having it.
Yet, there are changes that make upgrading worthwhile for others. However, while the changes don't seem to be huge, we have no idea how much time, money, effort, people, innovation, long nights, failure, trial and error and struggle by the people at Apple went into those changes to create an evolved, bigger, better version of the previous phone. That was the "devil in the detail."
I am in my 60th decade of life so I like to think of myself as being a Lucy 6.0 version. At forty, your daughter is a 4.0 version of herself. She may even be a 2.0 version of herself. For whatever reason, she is not ready or able to pay the price for the upgrade. Even when she reaches 50 years old, she may still prefer her 4.0 or 2.0 self. What version are you of yourself?
Sometimes it just takes longer than it takes. Our individual distractions are many. Sometimes we simply don't want to invest what is necessary to get the upgrade. The decisions, the work, sacrifice, learning, pain, struggle; "the devil in the details," is unique to every individual because we are blessed with free will...the power to choose. As a parent, I understand your pain, guilt, blame and frustration. That is why I have learned to step back, see the big picture and give my children up to the ever present Grace of God. It is not easy. But here is how I make it tolerable:
Remember how often and how painful it was for me and my Mother.
Remember the words spoken to me in pain and anguish by my Mother who grew weary of my stupid details.
Remember that it is their journey and not mine. I am obligated to be a guide for certain crossings, but not all.
They may never buy the next version! Lordy mercy!
Love them anyway; get out of the way and let God handle the big picture.
Remember that I, too, am evolving.
It's the "devil in the details" that get in the way of clear vision. There are two sides to living: good and evil, light and dark. Some of us spend more time in the dark so that we may know the light when it shows up.
Each time you are mesmerized by the devilish details of another person's life, remember the big picture, then be still and say a prayer that God's grace will cover and sustain them. And give them a gentle word of encouragement. That is good use of prayer in 2014.
Happy New Year to All,
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)