“You will never be satisfied by that thing over there until you are satisfied in God alone.” –Dave Plemons
“It’s a beautiful day. Don’t let it get away.” – U2 (covered by Sanctus Real)
“It just seems like the more that we try to find thrills in the next best thing, that faster car or the newest movie, that better job or the nicer house, we get pale comparisons to the real adventure and genuine thrills that come in enjoying the world and life that God gave us.” -Matthew Wier
“Are you prepared to let God take you into union with Himself, and pay no more attention to what you call the great things? Are you prepared to abandon entirely and let go? The test of abandonment is in refusing to say – “Well, what about this?” … Abandon means to refuse yourself the luxury of asking any questions… When you do get through to abandonment to God, you will be the most surprised and delighted creature on earth; God has got you absolutely and has given you your life. If you are not there, it is either because of disobedience or a refusal to be simple enough.” –My Utmost for His Highest, April 28, by Oswald Chambers
“You can’t serve God in the future. You can only serve him in the present.” -Dave Plemons
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ -Hebrews 13:5
“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” -Jim Elliot
“I’m letting go of the life I planned for me and my dreams. Losing control of my destiny, giving in to Your gravity, knowing You are holding me, I am not afraid. It feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe.” –Francesca Battistelli
Apparently I have a lesson to learn about contentment, joy, and living in the present instead of the future. These quotes have all come my way in the last 48 hours, following occurrances of a similar theme that I mentioned in the previous post. Yesterday I met a client who struggles with depression and purposely wears bright colors in an effort to promote joy in herself and others. And the list goes on. So I am listening.
This winter has been rough for me, which is why I’ve been MIA from the blogging world. The difficulty has been primarily internal, because externally I have all that I need and a lot more than some people have. But as a friend reminded me, that doesn’t make the internal struggles any less real or valid.
This year has been strange and difficult. Ben and I have been transplanted to a new place doing things that are not ideally what either of us wanted to be doing. It has been tempting to feel this year has been a waste, but I know that is far from the truth. Deep down I see that this year has been a gift of time and space set aside for being refined and grown. And as I’ve said before, if God can uproot some of my most deeply rooted sins, fears and flaws through just a 9-5 desk job, a 5K, and some other relatively mild training grounds, then he truly is a gentle and gracious God.
Still, I have fought hard against some of this growth and pleaded with God to provide an escape hatch. But I have been reminded that the spiritual journey is like both a vine and a roller coaster. If you hop off prematurely, you die. I have felt like I’ve been experiencing a form of death, but the good and necessary kind, the death of my will and my desires (which I believe will be restored to me once refined and made healthy). But I do not want to experience the vine and roller coaster kind of death. I don’t want to stop growing, because this process of spiritual growth is LIFE! And so I am thankful that God has stood blocking the escape hatch so I can’t see it. Because if I had seen it, I would have taken it. But here I am, and I am finally starting to feel that the ride is slowing down. (At least this ride. I know there are more to come!)
As it slows, I am seeing that a lot of my struggles have come from not being able to have what I want, when I want it. This has led to discontentment, impatience, frustration and despair. And this is what God is now clearly speaking to my heart about, in the various ways listed above and more. So I am attempting to choose to be joyful whether or not I have what I want. To bask in the present instead of impatiently awaiting the future. To trust that God will give me good things and that his timing is perfect. To act on my belief that being in his presence is way better than ‘that next thing over there’, whatever it may be.
“How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, O Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.
Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.” – Psalm 84
So I will set my heart on pilgrimage and take delight in being in the courts of the Lord.