**** I felt like I was supposed to re-post this for the weekend, blessings on you all****
I have been thinking and praying about what contentment means lately...
It is easy for me to be enticed by the ruse of comfort and protection, to be led to believe that this is contentment....
To think if I could just rid myself of the painful, run away from the difficult...then once inside my perfect cocoon, I would be content. If I just got the 'rooms' of my house and my life to a state that is just to my liking then I would be able to think about those other things God tell me to do....but this is such a self-numbing lie. Because the few times that I have gotten myself even close to that ever changing and unattainable state, I found that I was lonely, that I was empty, that the things that were supposed to bring fulfillment had already lost their luster and God felt a million miles away. And yet...this safe cocoon is so tempting isn't it?
Doug and I were just talking last night...we are in a whopper of a storm and yet...somehow, we both feel like we are thriving, protected, fully alive and...deeply content. The friends who know about the circumstances keep asking with furrowed brows and worried voices, " how are you guys doing???" and the true answer... at my very marrow, lighter than air.
So today I have been thinking a lot about why...how is it that our reality in the world's eyes can look beak and yet our internal reality can feel the exact opposite? I am only beginning to get a glimmer of what it all means but this is what I understand so far. But it comes down to this:
" Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
It has been in the gut-wrenching times in my life that I have truly needed and felt the transforming grace, love and desire of God. That He wants to know me, for me to pour out my very heart and every need because He delights in me....and if I'll let Him, He wants to show me (all of us) how to truly live.
"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."
The problem is, I usually lean hard on God through a situation and then, as the storm blows away...so does my attention span. I begin again to be drawn in by the allure of the cocoon, of my wants, my desires my "I deserves."
This last year, as we adopted Georgia,waited to get her, watched her near death in a foreign country and then walked through her emergency open heart surgery, we had to depend on God like never before...and that cocoon was nowhere in sight....for a really long time. I left that experience never wanting that cocoon again, I did not want it's dead walls, it false reality...
and the reason is that we had learned this:
"The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."
The Lord truly WAS good (far beyond my imagination) and we really DID lack nothing, we had strength we never could have imagined...but it was not our own. And we never wanted to turn back to life the way it was before...we found ourselves begging God to keep us at that edge where we actually needed Him. He has been so faithful in doing that (even when we kick and say we were just kidding!). I have no doubt that I am a big weenie and could not walk through most of the stuff in my life without the strength of the Lord.
So as we encounter this storm now...the truth of this crazy contentment is in the beauty of pouring our hearts out to the Lord, of letting go, of not trying to "fake it till we make it" but really, deeping letting our hearts break before the Lord, letting ourselves grieve and be held...because a calm comes, in the midst of the storm and we begin to learn what is really true...
" A bruised reed He will not break, and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out..."
and far more than that even...
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
This is not just a warm and fuzzy verse, a nice way to end a letter...this is the deep, gut honest, true stuff. When the storm rages it is the things that are true, the things that are noble, the things that are right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy that stand. The walls of that cocoon...they cave, my wants needs and desires...wither. The things/the posessions of this world...they become like dust. But the promises of God...when I think on them (and sometimes it takes all teh strength I have to do that), when I really deeply let them saturate my soul...they radiate there, they bring strength, they remind me of who God is and what is really true.
So why, do we all like our cocoons? How have we become so blinded? Why is it so scary to risk? Because the answer I keep learning is when we walk into storms...whether we come upon them or choose to step into the muck wit another...that is when we truly learn how to live. The begs us to come to Him because He longs to meet us, to hold us, to comfort us...to show us a better way. So in the midst of this storm is where I am seeing God more clearly all the time....
And the deepest true contentment I have ever known has come from knowing the Lord in the midst of a storm.