Why I Need (Not Want) My Mom

My mother is an incredible human being. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my mother. I would still consider her an amazing human being if she was someone else’s mother.

Here’s the thing about my mom. She is a difficult person to buy gifts for.

I think when people hit the age of about 19, it just becomes easier to get gift cards. Everyone always talks about how gift cards aren’t meaningful and all that, but the truth of the matter is that by age 19, all you really want from life is some combination of clothes, electronics, music, movies, and books. And all of those things kind of require personal input. So we get each other gift cards, and we write each other nice little letters that say what we think the money should be spent on.

That’s what you do for most adults.

And most adults are more than happy to spend that money on themselves. I know I am.

Not my mom.

I don’t really have many memories of my mom spending money on something she wanted. She only spends money on things she needs, or, more accurately, things the humble Smith household needs. My grandmother got my mother a gift card to Kohl’s for Christmas. What was my mom excited to buy? New bath towels. No joke. She said our old ones were falling apart. She was right.

I think that’s a really cool skill to have – to be able to discern what it is you need from what it is you want.

Trusting Authority

When I was applying to college, my mom made me go talk to people from a really boring small honors college at a university nationally known for being a top party school. I had my sights set on higher things, more studious places. I was going to be a real academic.

But I went, and after my first meeting with the assistant dean at the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University, I knew it was where I needed to be.

A little over three years later, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Most of who I am today has been dependent on being part of the HTC or being a student at Ohio University. Sometimes, parents really do know what’s best for us.

When someone really cares about us and has more information than we do or a wider world view, they normally make decisions for us that we would make if we had all the information. That’s why I think my failure to not trust God is almost humorous.

God knows infinitely more than me. God cares about me infinitely. Why, then, would God want anything less than the best for me?

Sometimes I perceive God the way I perceived my mom when she was trying to get me to visit Ohio University. God wants me to give up what I really want in order to do something the way God wants it. But that’s not the way it is. God wants to stretch me so that I can consider the kind of options God considers for me.

Jesus said some stuff about this (Matthew 6:25-34):

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

God is going to dress us in clothes brighter than the flowers. We have only to let Her or Him.