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!

 

“Huh? What Did you Say?”

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My husband embarked on another big house project: adding insulation to the attic. My role was to be base camp. I was on call to find supplies, transfer equipment to the attic and respond to his requests. It sounds easy enough to do, but there was a hitch. To protect himself from loose, itchy fiberglass insulation, my husband donned protective gear including a respirator. Between the respirator, the exaggerated breathing (that you hear with a respirator) and the cell phone connection, I had a difficult time understanding his words. He was frustrated in having to repeat himself often. I was frustrated by the garbled words that I could not follow. We were set up to communicate. We wanted to communicate with each other, but there were barriers.

Thank goodness God removes all the barriers in our communication with him. God removed the barrier of sin. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross enables us to draw close to God. God removed the barrier of misunderstanding. God gives us the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts and minds for his revelation. God removed the barrier of misinformation. His holy word in the Bible is filled with story after story of how God desires communication with his creation. God removed the barrier of our human flaws and failings. We have a direct line of communication to God’s heart through the privilege of prayer. God speaks love into our lives. Are we listening? Are we holding onto his truth and refusing to let go? God understands our whispers, our shouts and our moans as we reach out to him with our answer.

 

Jeremiah 29:12-13

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

Isaiah 65:24

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 

 

 

You’re It!

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I am being pursued.  I recognize the pursuit when I open my mailbox, for there it is: prescreened offers for credit cards. I don’t want it, but the invitations keep coming.  I call and I write to stop the solicitations for extra credit that I don’t need.  It is not the first time that I have been relentlessly pursued. God pursued me for 31 years. I didn’t want it. I was too busy with schooling, then a career and then a family.  I didn’t think I needed it. Life was okay and even good. God kept pursuing me until I allowed myself to be caught. I felt God’s embrace and leaned into him. I began to understand the big picture of what God offered and I wanted it. More importantly, I needed it.  The pursuit is not over, but now I am “it.” I pursue God to know his will for my life. I pursue God’s Word to draw closer to him. I pursue others to introduce them to Jesus. The pursuit for hearts continues.

 

Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Isaiah 43:1

But now, this is what the LORD says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.