Chapter 30 is one of the best chapters I have read in We Make the Road by Walking, and the reason is because it resonates so much with my life and has numerous connections to my daily experiences. There are enough “big ideas” in this chapter to write pages upon pages, so I will simply focus on a couple aspects of it. Matthew 6:19-7:12 discusses problems including treasures in heaven, worries, judging others, and asking/seeking/knocking to fulfill ones needs. It contains the verse my mother recited hundreds of times to me as a child “do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). As the author explains, the three core problems we experience as humans (as part of Jesus’ teachings) described in the passage are anxiety, judging of others, and lack of knowing how deeply we are loved.
How does this resonate with me? In no particular order, here are some:
- I shouldn’t pay so much attention to things that aren’t important (i.e. money, day to day things, popularity) as it is a waste of time.
- Don’t worry, live in the present. Live for the moment. If I’m too anxious, I can’t enjoy or experience life.
- Trust in God and my basic needs will be met- don’t worry, instead, see clearly.
- I cannot love both God and money- it is an either/or
- If I can see clearly, my character is full of light (vs. unclearly and being full of darkness)
- I need to focus on my character vs. my possessions
- Don’t judge others as if I do, I have to judge myself. It is not my place to judge. If I realize my own problems, I will be sensitive to others.
As many probably agree, anxiety in small amounts is a positive thing. It is a defense mechanism that protects us from the many dangers of the world. However, as with nearly everything, moderation is key. I frequently find myself dedicating entirely too much time to worrying about mundane things in my life (i.e. making sure the house is clean, making/completing “to do” lists, completing work/household tasks within a reasonable time frame, deciding what to make for a meal, etc.). This passage reminded me to ask myself: Why? Why am I spending so much time on these unimportant things? In some aspects, life does pass me by because of my hyperfocusness on my anxieties. And what am I missing out on that is most important to me? Being present with my family versus “going through the motions.” There is a certainly a difference between spending time with my family versus being present when spending time with my family. For example, I can be playing cars or throwing a ball back and forth with my children however if I am not present due to my anxieties, I am missing out on what I value most in my life.
Another thing that came to mind was my judgment of others. Again the question of “why?” The passage teaches me I judge because of my anxieties of my own character. For example, when I see someone unemployed who I perceive to be completely capable of working, the thought “wow, what a leech on society” comes to mind. However, when I start to reflect on why I do this, what I realized is that it is because I am worried about the worth of my own contributions to society.
If you haven’t recently, I encourage you to read Matthew 6:19-7:12. It is such a powerful passage that relates to every one of us. It is certainly true- I have no idea how truly loved I am. But, reflection and following these aspects of Jesus’ teachings can certainly permit me to see more clearly than before.