by Joanie Butman
If there’s such a thing as a cosmic comeback, I received one from Steve Jobs in response to last week’s blog. Struggling with an armful of items to go downstairs, I laid my iPhone on top of a full shopping bag destined for the trash. Then, as it is often known to do, my mind scurried in a million directions while I walked directly to the garage and deposited said bag in the trashcan. Thirty minutes later while searching for the phone, I glanced up to see the taillights of the garbage truck leaving my driveway. With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I realized my error.
This is not the first time something valuable has ended up in the trash. Our garbage collector is indiscriminate, and you have to be diligent about how close you leave anything to the receptacles. He’s cost me a lot of money over the years, but this time I had no one to blame but myself. Steve Jobs may have been a pioneer in the world of personal computing, but even he couldn’t come up with an app for stupidity. As Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid. Stupid is forever." And he's never even met me!
I had no alternative but to replace the device I purchased less than a month ago. When I called AppleCare to transfer my account, they informed me they don’t ordinarily allow customers to transfer their coverage between devices. “Today must be your lucky day,” the representative cheerfully exclaimed, “you’re one of the few customers that satisfy the criteria.” “Really?” I asked. “Is stupidity one of the qualifying requirements?” My family was aghast – not so much about what I did. Sadly, they weren’t too surprised by that. However, they were horrified to learn I would be using one of our coveted upgrades to replace the phone.
I’m sure many of you have similar stories of things you’ve done that are embarrassing to admit. Yet, in order to rectify the situation, that’s exactly what needs to be done. Nowhere is this more crucial than in our spiritual life. We all make unwise, even downright stupid, choices in life. Fortunately, God’s given us an app for that. It’s called prayer. When we lay ourselves bare before Him seeking forgiveness, redemption, wisdom, clarity, encouragement, etc., He showers us with the love of Christ, which has the ability to employ even our most dim-witted decisions as part of His sanctification process. In fact, he’s got an ‘app’ for anything that ails you. It’s called scripture.
Even so, don’t think Sally Field’s admonition to her son, Forest Gump, didn’t cross my mind more than once that day: “Stupid is as stupid does.” I was always confused as to the meaning of that adage. The most succinct answer I could find is that ‘our actions reflect our inner selves. If we are stupid thinking, we are stupid acting, too – regardless of what we look like on the outside.’ Excellent point, especially in regard to Christianity, because we are taught to keep our eyes on Jesus by the ‘renewing of our minds.’
Would that have prevented me from discarding my phone? No, but I was distracted that day by something weighing heavily on my mind, and the phone wasn’t the only victim (sorry Cindy). The phone debacle was readily fixed though it wasn’t cheap. On the other hand, there are many choices I’ve made in life when I’ve allowed my mind to be distracted from my beliefs where the consequences were much more costly and not as easily remedied. There’s a reason Christ teaches us to ‘cast all our anxieties on Him’ (1 Peter 5:7). By doing so, we remain focused on Him rather than our circumstances. Only then are we are able to live filled with a peace that transcends human understanding, which allows our actions to be a reflection of our inner selves where the Spirit of Christ resides.
As I mentioned, my carelessness with the expensive iPhone was easily addressed. However, my carelessness with my most valuable possession - my relationship with Christ - has cost me dearly at times. Blessedly, God offers His own protection plan in the form of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross that doesn’t expire and covers every circumstance should I choose to file a claim. The only caveat is that it is not transferrable. Each person has to establish their own connection to claim their coverage.
Finally, the best thing about Divine apps is that they’re always free and come with unlimited upgrades for anyone who chooses to download them into their mind and soul. And trust me, you’re going to need those updates because once you think you’ve got one bug figured out in your life, another will pop up faster than the myriad software updates announced on your computer daily.
The only antidote I've found for my stupidity is choosing to rely on God’s ‘S’ word – scripture - in any circumstance.