Thursday, November 17, 2011

on contentment

"I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college "adult" person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized...

I don't want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, thing moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another."

- Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

It is funny how often thoughts of this first chapter of this familiar memoir come to mind. Because I, too, have always been waiting. Waiting for more freedom. More money. More courage. More choices. More, more, more. And I question, "Is this it? Is this the moment I've been waiting for?" My finite mind is constantly busy planning the moments that I think my life will be defined by, the moments with the most meaning.

And yet I've found that the moments I never dreamed up are the ones that give life the most meaning. The moments I had no idea would come and take me by surprise the way they did. I wear many different hats as a teacher, missionary, friend, daughter, mentor, and sister. There are myriad moments that, in my mind, could go wrong. There are also myriad moments that could be filled with pure bliss. And there are myriad moments I have dreamed up for my life that I want to see to fruition- the ring, the white dress, the babies, the grandkids.

But there is something I love about the way God works. He gives us exactly what we need exactly when we need it. So this moment, the one I am in right now, is something He dreamed up before the dawn of time. This life I am privileged to lead was all His idea, and He's still letting me be a part of His grand plan for the universe. Yet I dare to say "I want more. I'm not happy. Make me happy by giving me a, b, and c." Someone needs a slice of humble pie. (Hint: me.)

Our next Bible study with the high school girls will be about contentment, and guess whose turn it is to teach? Yours truly. I just love when the Lord gives me an opportunity to teach about what that with which I am currently struggling. To say He has a sense of humor would be an understatement.
And yet I identify so well with Shauna's statement- I don't want to wait anymore. This life I am leading right now is what I was waiting for two years ago. These kids I have the privilege of teaching are the desires of my heart fulfilled, tangibly walking through life with me each day. This church that I am a part of is what my soul longed for before my mind realized its need.

A verse that caught my attention and still gets me says "Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph's character." [Psalm 105:19, NLT]

My other favorite translation words it like this: "until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him." [ESV]

A commentary I read made this analysis: The word rendered “tried” is that which is commonly applied to metals in testing their genuineness and purity.

So until the time comes for the Lord to fulfill that which I believe He has spoken into my heart and life, He will test my genuineness and purity. I pray that what He finds is worthwhile.

Today, I choose to believe that God is good. I say it all the time, but I do not always act like I believe the truth in those words. God. is. good. And I will choose to praise Him and thank Him for the gifts He gives me without grasping for those gifts He has chosen to withhold for this season. Because no matter what, He is good. And I will keep reminding myself of that one truth, over and over again.

Completely random fun fact: My best friend/sister from another mister and I are learning the same thing right now. This is only the 9,854th time this has happened to us. Our hearts are always united. Check it out. :)

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