Monday, April 11, 2011

Contentment

Webster’s definition of content: happy enough with what one has or is; not desiring something more or different; satisfied

Psalm 46:10 “Be still (cease striving) and know that I am God.”

“O Lord, Thou hast created us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” (Augustine)

A heart at rest.

I have been struggling to experience true contentment and rest as we adjust to living in a new city.

Last night though, God helped me to identify two lies that have subtly attacked the truth of who I am, and have formed a gray cloud of discontentment (that has matched the grayness outside this past week!).

I am not doing enough. (inadequate)
I am not good enough. (inferior)

These lies have tried to answer the rumblings of some of my questions and self-evaluations:
“I should have some friends here by now (it’s been 7 weeks).”
“How and where do I start?”
“I wish my Chinese were more fluent, and that I could communicate better.”
“What do I have to offer anyway?”

Then I hear the Lord speak truth to my heart:
You are exactly where I want you to be.
You are exactly who I want you to be.

And with these words, I can rest (cease striving). The defeating clouds of “not enough” melt away in His reassurance and in His presence. The light of Truth brings hope and abiding peace to my soul.

It is true that I am not enough, on my own. But Christ lives in me. And He is more than enough.

In Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning says that “living in the awareness of the risen Jesus…is the key that unlocks the door to grasping the meaning of existence. All day and every day we are being reshaped into the image of Christ. Everything that happens is designed to this end…Through union with Him…nothing is wasted, nothing is missing. There is never a moment that does not carry eternal significance…The apparent frustrations of circumstances, seen or unforeseen, of illness, of misunderstandings, even of our own sins, do not thwart the final fulfillment of our lives hidden with Christ in God.” (p. 108)

I believe that God does have a purpose for my life here, even though I can’t see what that looks like yet.  When I accept the lies that I am not good enough or doing enough, my focus is on my failures and inadequacies, and I lose awareness of the risen Christ. When I depend on His power at work within me, He will provide both the guidance and courage I need to follow Him into unknown territory, so that I can take risks without fearing rejection or mistakes. I can find my contentment in God alone, and to know Paul’s “secret of being content in any and every situation.” (Philippians 4:12) In plenty or in want, with or without friends, in sickness or in health, and with or without the affirmation/approval/acceptance of others.

“I can do everything (that God has planned for me) through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

A heart at rest.
Find rest my soul in God.

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