Monday, May 16, 2016

Return to Contentment and Joy

Do you ever feel like something is going on with you but you can’t really put your finger on it? 

I’ve been wrestling like crazy lately. Struggling with depression and anger and trying to figure out how to wash it all away. My circumstances are way less than desirable and enough to stress anyone out but I know where my salvation lies. This is what baffles me sometimes. Even though I know the truth about these things I still fall prey to my unstable emotions and my sin nature. We have been going through a rough patch with a particular issue for some time so it is understandable I would begin to weaken. However, I get the sense that this is not the only problem here. I feel as though these things are being used to get at something deeper. God is always getting at something deeper, isn’t he?

When I look closely at what is irritating me so much I realize I am self righteous beyond belief. I want to think of myself as a good person but the fact that someone else isn’t doing things the way I think they should, and I am paying the price for it along with them, irks me to no end. Why can’t I trust that God will take care of everything? Why don’t I remember that I can’t control myself well let alone someone else. Through all of this I see God reminding me to let go, to really let go again. To let him have all of my worries, my hurts, and my dreams. He has clearly given me some things to do and I can’t see how I’m ever going to accomplish them. So, I fuss about other things and distract myself from the real issues. On top of that I make an idol out of the very thing he has asked of me. 

Meanwhile, he keeps calling me back to him. He reminds me to simply love him, let him have control, and rest in his steadfast love. I have been listening to Soul Keeping by John Ortberg on my drive home from dropping kids off at school. Something he said Dallas Willard told him hit home. “Arrange your days so that you experience total contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God.” Many of us know that we are to trust God and not our circumstances. And we know the phrase, let go and let God. But when it comes to practicing that we don’t know how to do it. We often default to walking around in some sort of denial of what is happening. We tell everyone we are fine and keep a smile on our face, mostly. Those at home get to see the real us though. We are often less guarded with family and take them for granted so we take things out on them. We wouldn’t dare do that to the people at work or at church whom we are trying to impress. We’ve got to crush that image idol and be real with ourselves, God, and others. But like Dallas said, it starts with our relationship with God. That’s where I think he’s calling me deeper. I do my devotions, pray, journal, and even talk to him throughout the day, but I know there is more. 

I feel like my soul is needier than most. I am feeling the sheer abyss that it is without God to fill it. It is ever hungry for more of everything. So, I get sad and agitated, or just plain depressed and angry because nothing on this earth will fill any part of the void within me. Jesus is my only way to be whole. I am his creation and his masterpiece. I simply must remember he isn’t done with me yet. And I must simply embrace truth in my inner most being. Truth with God and myself. After that, truth with others will come naturally. And I think that contentment and joy Dallas spoke about will follow as well.

A Prayer:
Oh Lord, wrap me in your embrace and comfort me. Remind me I am yours and you are mine. Calm these tumultuous thoughts raging in me. Settle these hands that pick apart what you have made. Bridge the gap in my fractured mind. Bring healing where there is sickness and cleanliness where there is filth. Grace where there is anger, peace where there is war, and love where there is fear. Whatever it takes Lord do your work. I am uncomfortable and squirm at your touch when I should relax into you, but I know you never give up. I know you complete the work you have begun. Here I am Lord, wretched, poor, blind, sick, and yet so often thinking I am anything but. Take me as I am but do not leave me so. For the glory of your name and in Christ Jesus let it be. Amen.

As always feel free to leave comments. Have a blessed week!

Yours In Hope,

Angela Bowland