Superstitions: Silly or Serious?

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Note: My blogging friend, Annie of Freedomborn suggested that I write a post about superstitions. I accepted the challenge below.

Growing up, I can remember going through a short phase of avoiding every crack. “Step on a crack, and break your mother’s back,” was not a superstition I wanted to test. I quickly learned that cracks were everywhere and unavoidable. Friday the 13th didn’t mean much to me until elementary age when my school artwork project disappeared without explanation. The memory that stuck became an enduring example of Friday the 13th bad luck. As a teenager, I can remember reading my horoscope in the newspaper. It was kind of like a game to see how well the predictions described my teenage life and angst growing up in a small town.

My husband’s grandmother was a wealth of old wives’ tales. While visiting, I would be gently scolded for doing something that was a source of bad luck. Grams always said it with a smile so I was never quite sure if she was being silly or serious. I meant to write down her many sayings before she passed away, but never did. Family has helped me remember the more common ones Grams shared. “If you forgot something at home and return to retrieve it, you have to go back inside, sit down, and count to ten for good luck before leaving again.” “See a pin, let it lay; you will have bad luck the rest of the day.” “If someone gives you a knife as a gift, you need to pay them (a penny or nickel) to avoid harming the friendship.” The old wives’ tales can feel homey because they remind me of being back at Gram’s house and hearing stories of bygone times.

In recent years, a friend and I were catching up while enjoying a local festival. She suggested that we stop at a booth for Tarot card readings. I have to admit that I was curious to see what the fortune teller had in store for my friend. However, my sense of uneasiness was stronger and I declined. A warning from a former pastor’s sermon over 12 years ago came to mind, “If you play with fire, you will get burned.” Besides, I don’t need to pay someone to tell me my future. Revelation, the last book of the Bible, reminds us that God wins and as Christians, we are on the winning team! Jesus already paid the price for my future.

To close out 2016, our family experienced a string of bad luck. I broke my favorite Pampered Chef stoneware. A few days later, my husband accidentally ran the microwave without any food inside. To top it off, I discovered that important documents needing to be returned weeks earlier were misplaced in a paper pile. There is no doubt that we had much to do with our year-end bad luck. At this point, I was simply looking forward to 2017 and a clean slate.

My favorite quote about bad luck was shared by a nurse when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. To answer the question “Why me?,” she replied with a quote she heard from a doctor. “Breast cancer can be caused by bad habits, or by bad genes, but mostly, it is bad luck.” It seems that bad luck can affect every aspect of our lives.

What do superstitions, old wives’ tales, and bad luck mean to me? I believe that King Solomon’s wisdom in Ecclesiastes 3:1 sheds some light on the subject. “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Look at the list of times and we can see that bad things happening are just a part of life: “time to die, to uproot, to kill, to tear down, to weed, to mourn, to search, to give up, to throw away, to tear, and for war.” (Ecclesiastes 3:2-8)

One thing I know for certain is that God is still in control of my life and the world I live in. I don’t have to fear those times of “bad luck” because God will bring me through it to the times “to plant, to heal, to build, to laugh, to dance, to embrace, to mend, to love, and for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:2-8) I don’t have to fear man’s words of what will or won’t help me to enjoy life’s good places. God’s plans for me are already good. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

God repeatedly warns us about idolatry and witchcraft. Do we recognize His warnings in our life? More importantly, do we take His warnings seriously? We should because our Father in heaven truly knows what is best for us. We have an adversary in Satan who will manipulate whatever is handy to take our focus off of God and place it firmly on anything else other than God. Superstitions can start out being silly and quickly become something serious depending on our responses.

I choose the blessings of God’s promises over the curses of man’s superstitions. I choose God’s word to guide my life rather than man’s words which lead to chaos. I choose God!

 

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6 thoughts on “Superstitions: Silly or Serious?

  1. See a pin and pick it up,
    All the day you’ll have good luck;
    See a pin and let it lay,
    Bad luck you’ll have all the day.

    Grandma had it a little mixed up. I think this old rhyme came from the days when pins were so expensive that a woman would look all day for a dropped sewing needle. There are many, many versions of the rhymes and superstitions regarding pins. Probably all stemming from the value. But, you know what, Deb? My great-grandmother was washing the kitchen floor on her hands and knees when she accidently ran a needle that was on the floor up under her thumb nail. Now we know that nickel can cause cancer and indeed she died from cancer of the thumb that metastasized. Seems hard to believe, doesn’t it? I ordered a copy of her death certificate and it says cause of death: Cancer of the thumb. I think that when things like this happen, a superstition can begin. These says are passed around, changed, altered and in this day and age are now meaningless. But, the pin on the floor and my great-grandmother? I’m don’t know what to say. Certainly, it would have been better if someone had picked up that needle when they dropped it. I don’t think God gives anyone cancer, but yet I believe that He knows our struggles and answers prayers. Still, someone should have picked up that needle.
    Love ya,
    Ginene

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Ginene… an example of “truth stranger than fiction.” I agree with you that sometimes superstitions simply start as a warning and good advice to heed. Maybe it becomes superstition when we lose the context for it. (BTW: I like the pins with a colored raised plastic head because it is harder to lose. I even go so far as to count my pins when I use them. So far so good and no missing pins!)

      Grams had a saying about how to store brooms too, but I couldn’t remember it. When I googled broom superstitions to see if anything sounded familiar, it brought up witchcraft and all sorts of things I didn’t expect.

      I have to admit that this is a sad family story you shared. Perhaps with today’s medical advances and technology, she would not have died from the pin. And I agree with you, we should pick up all pins! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your very interesting and personal perspective.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You did well Debbie in sharing the danger of Superstition. Thank you my friend.

    Wow was I Superstitious as an Atheist, always fearful that I would bring evil on myself if I did not obey what was told to me as a warning, Superstition is a fearful bondage.

    God tells us only He knows our Future so what is told by Fortune Tellers etc is lies from Satan, yes he knows our past and present so they seem very genuine.Luck is not an option but Chance is.

    I was told by a Fortune teller when I was 18 that I would die on my second trip Overseas, you can believe me when I say that when we hit some Storm turbulence in the Air on my second Trip Overseas, I was almost sitting on the Air Hostesses lap I was so scared, the seed had been planted, by the way I have been on much more than two Trips Overseas now and yes you guessed it I’m still alive!

    You might enjoy the link below Debbie and it’s very True what Ginene Nagel shared, God knows our struggles and answers our Prayers, yes ‘when they our heart felt and according to His will we need never doubt He will answer them. We also remember our time on earth is known and allotted by God before we are Born and only He can extend it,

    Reality- https://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/whats-reality/

    Christian Love Always – Annie.

    Like

    • Annie, Sorry it took me so long to write the post after you suggested it. It is interesting that I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with the topic until our bad luck at the end of 2016. You knew the darkness in your past and it is obvious from your love of Jesus that you are never going back there again! I’ll check out your link!

      Liked by 1 person

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