Friday, March 31, 2006
In her comment to my last post, Saija mentioned that contentment saves a lot of money.
My oh my, yes indeed it does.
Paul (the Bible Paul) had to learn contentment and so did I. I had to learn to stop coming away from my friends' houses and wishing I had a couch like theirs, a kitchen like theirs, and cats and tv's and dishes and cars and paintings like theirs.
I had to learn to stop sighing, "If I just had ____, I would be happy." Because you know how that goes.... You get _____ and then 8 days later you are saying, "Hmmm, well, no really! If I just had _____ too, then, I mean it, I would be happy." And so it goes, for like, the rest of your life because happiness from things is wispy, like smoke.
I had to learn to get happy today. Happy with my own couch, my own kitchen, my own cat and my own everything else. I had to learn to use my God-given creativity and rearrange my oh-hum furniture until it pleased me. I began to clean what I owned and feed what I owned because God was watching me inside my very walls to see if I was ready, truly ready, for new stuff. He stood there and took notes and decided if He could trust me with more.
He watched me while I walked around my house... I think He stood there with a clipboard each time I gave things away, because when you let things go, you make room for more. And when you give away what you love, well, you make room for more than new stuff--you make room for God to bless you with something beyond just stuff. A spirit of giving opens a lot of good doors, and well, maybe this is just me, but I think it keeps some bad doors closed.
But beyond, beyond, beyond all this, I had to learn to become content with God, Himself.
A.W. Tozer said something like, "We get into trouble when we start saying, 'All I need is God and--.'" I didn't know what he meant at first, but I eventually learned, especially when God took me through a l-o-n-g stripping away process. He kept pruning my life of things and places and jobs and people I'd always sworn I could not live without. I mean, nobody died and I didn't end up in a hospital, or anything--I want to make that clear. But in ways only God, Himself, could manage, He stripped away the props and crutches I'd clung to to help me through Life. And He tore down walls brick by brick, the very walls which had obscured my sight of Him--and I saw that He was Life, instead.
And something wild happens when you finally become content with God. You discover that He can trust you now... He can lavish you with your secondary desires because He knows they will not capture your heart and take you away from Him. It's as though this verse starts happening to you:
"And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God..." Deuternomy 28:2
... it's like you find yourself running down a street and being overtaken by a mob of blessings...and you are amazed! But the more amazing thing, now, is that God hangs-out at your house and keeps you company. And what more could you ever need?
"O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." ... Psalm 90:14
"For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good." ... Psalm 107:9