Sometimes the days require us to spend time wading in the wise words of others, soaking up the thoughts and the ideas that suspend hearts as they have wrestled with fears and hurts and moments that make up the living days. That wrestling, has been somewhat of a inspiration for me these summer days…waiting with others as they move through life with God.
I want to move through my life with God. Or rather, I want to spend my days following hard after him. Seeing the way He illuminates our darks spaces with loveliness and goodness, and takes the unintentional and the intentional and blends them into a mosaic of grace. It always amazes me the power of waiting on God; His faithfulness is a consistent reminder that there is a reward for that trust.
I see the rewards in the stories I have been reading…trust in the fearful, hope in the broken, victory in dying, healing in the shedding…faith increased because we choose to live right in the midst of our stories.
It has made me think a little deeper about stories and where they start, how they fill in and what mine may be. I think I am far more interested in the stories of others though…and maybe that is where we all are. Perhaps we are all waiting on that invitation to share our stories and to settle close for a while at the table of a friend.
And so, I spill words here…some that have become holy to me…sacred in their floating to you. And I hope you know that your stories matter to me and how grateful I am that you are here even for just a moment.
Looking for the moments of grace is a purposeful adventure. I have been plodding through the summer months on a slow-trek to restoration. We need that as much as we need to share our stories. This week one word seemed to float in and out of my thoughts, sometimes uninvited, in both my prayer time and my quiet time.
Contented. It means happy and at ease, satisfied, willing to accept something, or accept as adequate despite wanting more or better.
The Lord uses repetition with me, His Word coming to my memory and dwelling close to remind me of truth. Often I find that I am lost in a pattern woven by His promises that reveal these lessons which are intended to refine me. But the echo I was hearing was my own dusty voice bargaining against accepting His will because I wanted something different, something I thought may be better
Because God is Good… all the time. And all the time… God is good. The lessons are a bit of grace He extends in mercy to our souls.
Truth is found in HIS Word. We are found in Him as we penetrate the inspired prose that breathes life into our souls. And here… in this place of waiting in Him, appreciating the beauty He has poured before me, I find myself responding to the questions that He is speaking right to my heart. And because He is as faithful as He is good, He began to show me how to find peace in the simple details .
Slowly, inspired by others who spill life right out with their stories, lessons are taught and gleaned and received…it is a start of this journey to receiving the blessing of living in contentment.
Since the beginning of the year I have been journaling through the New Testament and releasing myself more and more into the life lessons contained in each passage. I have been going along slowly…very slowly…which is not usually my way. And I am learning to linger and to literally taste the sweetness of God.
But sometimes the more I pause in these convicting passages of His Word, I find myself sighing through the struggle to let go and let God be in full control. I wonder how many times I am going to have to go around the same mountains and witness the same mistakes before I choose the way of grace first.
Let me just say that all the quiet moments, as soul filling as they are, have shown me a glaring gaping hole in my own heart. One that seems to be fed by a lack of contentment which I didn’t realize was there. Well, maybe I didn’t want to admit it was there.
- Because really, if we think about it, we know those thorns are there, poking us in the side, and we choose to forget them rather than to deal with them.
- Because maybe the problems will go away or bother us less as time moves on.
- Or perhaps our busyness will cover up the issue and we’ll pretend it isn’t as big as it looks.
But these things that hold us back often catch up with us and if we want to move on in God, we need to admit that they are there, and let Him lead us beyond the places where lack holds us back from experiencing His grace more fully.
In order to settle into this contentment I know I am called to walk in, He is directing me to Release, Re-examine, and Rejoice.
- Let go of those things that are holding you back. ( Release)
Turn your burdens over to the LORD and he will take care of you. – Psalm 55:2
- Recognize those lessons that need to be relearned. (Re-examine)
Teach me what I cannot see;…-Job 34:32
- Attend to the simplicity of each moment to find joy in. (Rejoice)
…as for me, I will rejoice in the LORD. I will find my joy in the God who delivers me…-Hab. 3:18
As I release all these things that I have been holding on to: dreams, goals, fears, frustrations, hopes, and hurts… I am learning that it makes room for more of God. It makes room to experience wonder. I learn to attend to the details and to see things through the shadow of His Cross.
The more I release these constraints of the soul, the regrets that I maintain, the burdens that choke like weeds…He extends more of Himself into my midst. He breathes contentment into the DNA of my soul because He is teaching me the truth of releasing, recognizing and rejoicing in all things.
What if when we come face to face with the thing we are lacking we choose to release it instead?
Paul writes about contentment in 1 Timothy and in Philippians. In both places he talks about the great gain that contentment brings into the life of a believer. He talks about contentment in a metaphorical sense as an act of service. (1 Tim 6:2)
He reminds us that the real reason that we fail to be satisfied is because we can’t love others more than ourselves. We are often full of puffed up pride, stupefied conceit, woeful ignorance, fondness of controversy , dispute and strife. (see 1 Tim 6:3-5)
All of the above produces envy, jealousy, quarrels, dissension, and all those peace-lacking issues we sometimes find before us. The protracted wrangling, the weary discussion, and the perpetual friction come from thoughts bereft of truth and corrupted from the way of grace. Paul tells us to withdraw from such things.
And it is often things that we think we are missing which steal the joy out of simply living.
Things are a big part of the contentment battle. Our desire for more or for better often leaves us unable to appreciate the people or the opportunities in our midst. We miss the simplicity that these gifts of their stories and the moments provide. Yet, gratefulness can fully strip envy of its barb. It is the best defense against discontent. Because contentment really does bloom in the midst of gratefulness and litters our pathways with grace for every moment.
“Godliness with contentment is great.” – 1 Timothy 6:6
Contentment is a grace we are given when we understand we don’t have to wrestle, to wrangle, or to envy. The moment we grasp this, the release is palpable. Even though it may not change the situation that we are in, it will always change the perspective we see through. I am learning that discontentment also means I am not trusting God the way I ought to, and if I come to God believing He is, then I also need to believe that He is able to meet my every need. Just like the sparrows who neither toil nor gather for their needs, I can release the things that have caused me to waver in my journey towards grace where contentment is concerned. (Matthew 10:29)
Contentment allows us to rejoice, to truly rejoice with others, to accept our today and anticipate tomorrow as long as God is a part of it, and to celebrate the simple joy of the little things.
What are the grace moments you are finding in the stories of your days, friends? Where have you learned to be content in the simple things of life?
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Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.