"Too much. Not enough." For many years this is what I wanted on my tombstone. I always feel that life is just too much for me to assimilate; too much to navigate through. And yet I never felt satisfied -- always hungry to know more, understand more, be more, do more, see more...feel more...And now I am in a new part of my life, with a satisfying marriage to my best friend and three little people in my care...a yard and a house in a busy city...and not enough time to think or read or write or sort through or "do" the things I want to do for them or with them. And I want so very many things -- spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, materially -- I am just not content. I'm not. And I am not surprised. Not at all. I am a restlessly discontent person. God calls us to a place of rest in Him. A place of quiet and trust. Yet we are to be diligent in an ever-increasing pursuit of up-rightness and gladness and thankfulness and love-fullness. All the fruit that comes from the Spirit dwelling in us. Abide in Him and we will bear fruit. Abiding is a quiet, resting thing. But then Paul says pursue it with all diligence and to fight the fight -- beating ourselves into a fervent full-tilt thrash to the finish line -- finish strong, finish well. And, that, of course, is not restful, not passive. But rest doesn't have to be passive. In fact, I think I remember God teaching me once that contentment is not stagnancy: Contentment does not mean you don't try to keep the living room neat, tidy, in good repair. Contentment does not mean you don't try to know your husband better or find more and better ways to help him, please him, or enjoy time with him. I bet contentment doesn't even mean that you don't save up or plan to get the crappy windows replaced in the front of your house or conquer and eke out a garden from your weedy sideyard. It just means that you do it all with thankfulness. That you do it looking at Christ your King and Treasure and Fullness. That you keep that glad smile and patient excitement about whatever is right now and whatever will be tomorrow or next year. Whether it means the couch is shabbier or that you still have 57 books you would love to read but haven't been able to or a growing and neglected notebook of creative projects fruitlessly calling to you from the shelf. It is O. K. Right now I am here. Right now Christ knows and understands whatever is hard about the good things he has given me. He understands and He "gets it" while not letting me grow bitter or useless or dull or yucky inside. He will make me into what I am meant to be. He will use me for good in the lives of these 4 men that I love so furiously. He will not allow me to ruin or waste this good good good life that He has handed to me. He is faithful to not leave me to my own horribleness. Hallelujah. Amen.
If you have time to read something that helped me very much today: I found Nancy Wilson's blog today and read this entry on Contentment: