I am a great lover of old movies. Julie Andrews is the ultimate governess in two of my favorites, The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. Just silly entertainment? Perhaps, but in my family, some of her classic lines have become words to live by.
“We are not a codfish”? No, not really, although I try not to walk around with my mouth gaping.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”? Also not life-changing, but probably true, nonetheless. That line is also the closest I’ve ever come to knowing and quoting the work of John Keats.
“Enough is as good as a feast.” Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere. This statement is part of the secret to material contentment. It’s come in handy at the mall, at the table and when turning off a blaring alarm clock. (And yes, my kids heard it from me far more than they might have liked in their growing-up years.) It even has scriptural support.
“Be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). ‘Definitely words to live by.
“If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit” (Proverbs 25:16). Don’t you love how practical God can be?
Enough. What is enough? Jesus taught his disciples to ask for daily bread, not a continual banquet. I think “enough” means our needs our met as they come, while we continue to depend on the One who supplies us. And since that is all we need, it really is as good as a feast. We don’t have to see leftovers on the table to know that we are full.
“I will be firm but kind.” ‘Moving on to Maria now. How often in our culture have we decided these two qualities oppose one another? In business, in parenting, even in our own self-discipline our culture suggests that kindness equates with weakness. I disagree. The Bible entreats us to be kind to one another, but that doesn’t mean we have to become mindless doormats.
My husband tells me there have been whole studies on how kindness has led to success for some of our country’s most successful CEO’s. A quick Google search on the topic brought me to this headline: “Companies are finding that random acts of kindness are both good for their image and keeping customers and staff happy.” Wouldn’t you rather do your best work for someone who is appreciative?
By the same token, a loving and self-controlled parent provides far more effective discipline and instruction than one who lashes out in anger or meanness.
We even benefit from striking a balance in our own self-care, walking the thin line between asceticism and self-indulgence. As in all things, this is a matter in which we need God’s guidance.
Firm but kind? How do you do it? And while I’m asking questions, what’s your favorite Julie Andrew’s quote? Feel free to share it in the comments section just below the next installment of 1 Corinthians 13.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”