Sunday, September 21, 2008

Discontent

Sigh. That sort of starts it off clearly, doesn't it?

I have confessed here before today that I have been struggling. Life has just felt like an uphill battle. My prayer life and my joy quota have suffered severely because of it. Of course, those are all so tightly knit. No prayer, no joy, more struggle; more struggle, less joy, less prayer; joy fades, struggle increases; no desire to pray.

A couple weeks ago, the Lord gave me this vision. Not some supernaturally strange experience where I left my body or anything, but I am a "word picture" kind of gal, even when I teach it's often with word pictures, and I know the Lord was trying to speak to me. He showed me this picture of a drowning man. I saw him in the water, panicking and struggling, and the more he fought the water to try to get above it, the more weary he became and the more perilous the situation. And I could see if the man would just stop and relax, he could float in the waves, but because he fought them he was sinking fast.

Sigh.

Tonight I decided to just go out and take a walk with the Lord. I've really been neglecting my time with Him, and I could practically feel Him tugging at my heart to just go for a stroll with Him in the quiet of the night after the kids went to bed. Quiet to listen is such a rare commodity in a house with any three kids, but with my three kids it's a miracle to find any quiet at all. (We are undoubtedly a LOUD family - we must get it from Neal ;).)

I started just walking, praying in the spirit, singing a little worship, telling the Lord I was there and I was listening. I walked a while, and then I asked Him what He wanted to say to me. And eventually, but very clearly I heard it, "Stop striving." Immediately I thought of the vision of the drowning man. "Stop striving, just float, ride the waves, it will be OK."

Today at church our pastor spoke on "The Secret of Joy and Contentment" from Philippians 4. It made me realize that was the word to describe how I have been feeling lately, highly discontent. Not in big things, I am very happily married, I adore my husband, I have three great kids, I am satisfied with our home (though I wish had more time to keep it clean.) But still, something in life has had me discontent.

The core of Pastor's message today was the 4 things we can/ should do to keep from becoming discontent.

#1 - Avoid comparisons.
#2 - Learn to adjust to change.
#3 - Learn to draw on Christ's power.
#4 - Learn to trust God to meet your needs.

#1 is definitely not my problem. Not only do I not try to "keep up" with the Joneses, but I'm not even all that aware of what they have. I've just never been a "stuff" person.

#4 isn't a huge stretch for me either. I have learned a lot in the last few years about trusting God to meet our needs. Emotionally and spiritually I think I have done so for a while, and in the last couple years it's grown into the realm of the physical and financial.

So there lies the key. #2 and #3 are where my struggles have come. Change. I HATE change. I mean I know nobody likes change, but for me, I can't stand it. I remember one time our pastor wanted to stretch us on this point and he made us get up and move to different seats in the sanctuary. I joked I was going to leave the church over it. It was the most miserable 45 minutes I've ever spent in the building! And our family has been going through so much change in so many ways this past year: new schools, not by my choice; Victoria's gym closing suddenly and unexpectedly; Jake's entrance into high school is a lot of change and adjustment; my hours at work; Neal's mom's passing; it's just a long list. And as for #3, well, I surely have not been relying on the Lord's strength to get me through.

"Stop striving." I had to look it up. To strive - to struggle in opposition. That's me, I've been opposing the change, all the circumstances that have caused it as well as those that have resulted from it. And yet to one end? It certainly has no power to change the circumstances, it only serves to wear me out and make me feel like I am that drowning man.

So I guess it's time to float. I'm going to try to choose to be content, even in unexpected or unpleasant change. I'm going to draw on the Lord's power, maybe take these quiet strolls more often, and I'm going to even try to work on #4 a little more and trust that God will take care of the waves, whether it be by calming the storm or leading me through it. I'm going to work on my float.

1 comment:

lindayezak said...

I hear ya, girl. The older I get the more I hate change, and the more I struggle to stay afloat.

God is good, though, isn't he? I can just lay back in his hand and float all day!

Linda (GodLink)