a little piece of me & the deep blue sea
“no other place would i rather be, but for now i’ll seek earnestly and find, undoubtedly, contentment with reality.”
today i was thinking about how much i miss the beach (what’s new?), and then i remembered this photo i took awhile back when my family went together for a few days… and then i thought of this cute little caption that rhymes and i wanted to post it on instagram… and then somehow a simple caption turned into a little poem, which is weird because i’m totally not a poet. ever. and it was supposed to just be about the beach! because from a surface level perspective of this “poem”, it really is an honest expression of how there is no other place i would rather be right now than at the beach. but i’m not, and i can’t be, so instead i’ll try to be okay with staying home in an air-conditioned house in drought-stricken Turlock. then i read it a couple more times and realized how, beneath the surface, it speaks of a lot more than just going through beach withdrawals; often times i do struggle with contentment and totally would rather be anywhere other than where God has me, but i’m learning that no matter what stage of life i am in, no matter what the reality of my circumstances is and whether i like it or not, if i choose to seek Him earnestly, i will undoubtedly find Him; and when i find Him, i find rest and “contentment with reality”. even if the harsh reality is that i’m not at the beach. 😉
a few months ago, as most everyone knows, i was discontent with the idea of staying home and working this summer; i wanted to leave the country again on mission with Royal Servants, but felt a conviction i couldn’t ignore to stay. not once since the moment i complied and officially decided i would stay home have i felt like that was the wrong decision. on the contrary, i have felt nothing but consistent peace and reassurance. so far, it has been a restful summer, like i thought it would be. small trips here and there, but mostly working, and on my days off, actually resting, reading a lot, or meeting with friends for coffee here and there. all of this to say, in this brief quiet season, God has shown such faithfulness. in the past couple months 1) i have experienced conviction about truly pursuing righteousness for His name’s sake; i have learned that doing this means being obedient to His Word, and that obedience only happens if it stems from love, not my own feelings of wanting to obey or not. 2) after wrestling with my own anxious heart, some honest conversations with important people in my life, and some time to refocus, i realized contentment has still been lacking in me, and i ran, helpless, back to the feet of Jesus.
1) At the beginning of the summer, God placed in me a deeper awareness of the importance of living like Christ in every way, and i began to desire for Him to show me specifically how i can live more righteously. i remember Him convicting me about my language; how i often let myself slip up and then just blow it off and say that i’ll be better the next time i get angry, startled or frustrated. so there i was, in a very incongruent state of being because i wanted two very different things: i want to be like Jesus; oh, but i also want the freedom to say whatever i want on occasion. and every time i would ask God to work in my heart and make me more like Him, over and over again, He would bring to mind James 3:8-10 : “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” i finally took the hint that maybe God wanted me to work harder on thinking before i speak, and in my angry or startled or frustrated state, not to sin. however ridiculous it is to say that that lesson was kind of hard because it’s something i didn’t want to give up, it’s true. “sometimes it’s just really fun to say a bad word and it feels like there’s no other way to really express how you feel inside, okay!!? besides, i only say certain things around people who really know me and know where my heart is.” umm what does that even mean? clearly, even i was wrong about “where my heart is”. so once i was fully aware that this needed to change, i asked God to just help me be better and to not let me say words that dishonor Him. i asked Him to help me actually want to speak differently, and then, once i had the desire to change, obviously it would be so much easier to do so, and i would! and that’s when i realized what love is. God basically said “I don’t care if you want to do this or not; if you want to be my disciple, first and foremost, you have to be obedient and that means forsaking your own “wants” and doing what I ask.” that was my first lesson. forever convicted to be more careful in this area of my life, and by no means am i perfect. but i will say that practicing obedience yields a desire to actually continue in obedience. “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” Philippians 2:13.
2) a few weeks ago i had a conversation with my dad and he basically called me out in my anxiety. he’s only known me since day one for twenty years… i guess that’s enough time to know that i so often struggle with having an anxious heart. i’m always wanting to speed up the plan, whether it’s someone else’s plan, my plan, or God’s plan. i am always wanting things to happen faster. he reminded me of God’s call to keep me home this summer; reminded me that He has a purpose for that, even if it seems so simple or not even apparent right now; reminded me of the importance of seeking Him, and encouraged me to do just that: to sit before God, to rest in Him, to wait on Him, and to seek Him. He was right, i had lost sight of the path God had me on. i got tired of waiting, tired of the quiet. but i quickly realized that’s exactly what He wants from me right now, and forging my own path in an attempt to speed up any part of His plan is a bad idea. God also reenforced His truth to me through a conversation with my best friend, whose purity of heart i so deeply admire. we concluded our talk having decided that the most important thing to do is to run the race God has set before us, eyes fully focused on Him, and to let the pieces of our lives come together the way God desires them to, not as a result of any of our own efforts to make things happen the way we want. at the end of the day, our lives should have His name written all over. so, praise God for speaking truth into my life through other people when it’s seemingly the only way to get through to me.
all that said, i’ve recently reached a place of stillness, and the most fascinating part about it to me is that it’s not something i really sought God for. it’s a state of mind and heart that He Himself has led me to, and it’s something i didn’t even know i needed until He brought me to it, like the Good Shepherd that He is, taking care of my needs before i even realize what they are. my circumstances haven’t been chaotic, but what i did need rest from was the chaos within my own heart that God has made me aware of. i’m thankful for this season of life, now that i see how necessary it is, and i’m reminded daily how much i need Jesus, every moment, even when things are calm. the need never goes away, but neither does God’s desire and willingness to be the only source of true satisfaction for us.
“‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.'” Isaiah 30:15