One of the most satisfying things for me to watch is time-lapse videos. I like the ones that show a skyline of a sunset, bursting with colors being replaced full of a sky full of stars. The beauty of the sky takes my breath away, and yet there’s one more thing I love about it. The stillness. Picture this with me: a time-lapse of mountains, the sun is setting and the sky explodes with colors, then full of twinkling stars. But those mountains. They stand firm. They are still. They are beautifully content with what they have created to be and yet have all the beauty of the sunset all around them. Ahhhh…how relaxing right?
I’ve been experiencing the beauty of a different state this past month. It has been a whirlwind. It’s been challenging. It’s been lonely. It’s been exciting. It has been full of adventure. Despite all these things that I feel about this short season I’m enduring…one word describes how I feel currently.
Honestly, I have felt for the past month or so that I’ve been running around with my head chopped off or something along the lines of that. Have you ever felt like your going through the motions? Probably if you are human, then yes. Have you ever said “I’m tired of feeling tired”? I have felt like that for what seems like FOREVER (dramatic. maybe just for a few weeks)! I have felt I haven’t had time to write or journal anything. I feel like I haven’t had anything to write about. I feel so far away from God. I feel like there is no direction I’m being pulled. Yet, the other word I would describe myself in this season…
Isn’t that funny? Frustrated and content. How can that be?!?
Despite me being a little salty at God and asking Him why He isn’t teaching me, leading me about huge revelations or whatever…I have felt so content. My life has gotten so busy, I’m learning way too much, and I’m yearning to adventure around in this beautifully created, freaking hot state of Utah. Yet among all the craziness. I am content. Which is different from happiness, might I add. Happiness is dependent on situations, emotions. Being content is that innermost stillness inside of you, confident of a promise that is to come, despite what is being thrown at you.
What’s the secret in staying content in all things?
I’m no expert. I have sat through seasons of stillness and just wallowed in self-pity. Not embracing the present but rather being bitter at the fact that absolutely nothing was happening. I have gone through seasons of sorrow, but something inside of me feels that pull of being content, despite the weeping and the hurt within me.
Identifying the season your in is number one. Season of stillness? Season of change? Season of storms? Season of frustrations? Season of joy? I think by identifying the season you are in…you identify the emotions that come and go with it.
Next, ABIDE! This should really be number one. Abiding in God. Getting into His word daily. Getting yourself into prayer. Despite how you feel. Despite whether or not you feel like you’re really learning anything. Despite going through the motions. GET IN THE WORD. Wash yourself in it. I heard this sermon one time and it truly changed me. It was called “Keeping the Coals Hot.” To sum it up, sometimes as Christians, we really on those big moments in life that get us on our feels. Big conferences, church meetings, mission trips where we feel all the feels…emotions are everywhere and we just want those big moments that make us weep because it feels like the fire is burning!!! We wait for those “big” moments in our life that really fuel the fire. But the secret to big fires? Keeping the coals hot. Without keeping coals hot (aka abiding, trusting God, pursuing Him despite situations going on around us), those big fires won’t happen.
Third, root yourself in Truths.
“for everyone born of God overcomes the world..” – 1 John5:4
“..God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” 1 John 5:11
“….for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:11-12
“and the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself RESTORE you and make you STRONG, FIRM and STEADFAST.” 1 Peter 5:10
We are overcomers. We are restored, redeemed. We are promised eternal life. Eternal joy. Eternal satisfaction. When we root ourselves in these truths…the mundane little tasks of the day, the stresses of the day, or the busyness around us are but a blur to us, or even the hurts, the sorrows, the loss of hope…those can be wiped away too.
Take for example, Naomi in the book of Ruth. She has lost it all: her husband, her son’s, a daughter-in-law, and any hope for grandchildren or for redemption. Through her sorrow, she told people to call her “Mara,” because “the Almighty has made my life very bitter.” (Ruth 1:20).
Despite the bitterness, the anger, she still believed that God was sovereign. That He was high above all. She was content in knowing her God would be faithful. Even though she can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, her faith stood. Maybe a little shaken, who knows, yet it was still there. Content.
So despite me going through the motions. Despite frustrations. Despite busy-ness. I have felt content in all things because I know my God is with me. I know He’s guiding me, leading me, holding me close. Because He has already promised me redemption. He has promised me life to the full. He has promised me strength, courage, hope. He has promised me PEACE and JOY of an eternal life that is to come.
Sometimes, I also get frustrated if I don’t feel like I can “hear” God’s voice and calling. Am I doing something wrong? Am I listening in the wrong places? My favorite book in the entire world is Love Does by Bob Goff, and Bob talks in one chapter about hearing God’s voice. He talks along the lines of this: if God really wanted for us to hear His voice, He’s God and can do anything He want!!! So I think the constant pursuit of getting into prayer and into the Word is so important…because then you know you’re doing the best you can to get closer to our Father..and possibly “hear” His voice in a way you couldn’t imagine. He will lead and He will guide. You just have to do your part. “Draw near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:8).
Hopefully you can relate with me in this. We aren’t meant to feel restless in still seasons. We aren’t meant to be push and pulled by the busyness of life until we feel like we are completely wiped out. We weren’t created to live in fear. We weren’t created to live in frustration. Though these things happen, we are called to be content in all things because of the eternal life that is ahead (John 3:16). Take time to be still, and know that you are in God’s hands.