Are you happy where you are right now? Or are you playing on the beach wondering when you will get your feet wet? Maybe you are tired of treading water where you are. Do you yearn to swim to the other shore kicking all the way to your desired destination—even if you have to fight against the current?
This Wednesday’s What-Not we will wade into the water and float among these questions. Floating is a form of active rest. We have to get in the water, lay back, and trust that we will serenely bob upon the surface. We submerge our ears like a child in her bathtub, head back, and as we do, the world is silenced. We listen to our breathing. Not labored. Slow and soothed. In and out. In and out.
Picture it. Floating in water’s weightlessness, you are fully at ease. Relaxed as if you had spent the day at the beach, fresh air, wind-tossed hair. So what if sand is in your suit, pursuit of contentment well worth the sacrifice as nature’s exfoliant scratches the surface. Rid of dead debris well worth the scratch, as it accelerates new growth.
It has taken me a long time to relax, to rest in the right now.
I’m not talking about taking a Sabbath rest, one day a week dedicated to letting go of the chaos of daily living to do things we enjoy with people we love. Although the Sabbath is important and reinvigorates, the type of rest I’m talking about is contentment.
Contentment perfects peace within us.
How do we get there, to that place of contentment? God shows the way, and when we forget, He reminds us. He patiently leads us back to the place where we can float with Him, head resting in His spiritual waters that keep us perfected in His peace.
Contentment. A continent I want to take up permanent residence as I wade into God’s waters. I want to see that continent no matter where I am. No need for binoculars. Let it always be close. We can become permanent citizens. Like Christopher Columbus, we can explore and claim the continent of contentment as ours.
We can’t claim contentment without considering all we have to be grateful for.
As we remind ourselves of the blessings given, it instills hope in God and all He has for us. As we think of God’s goodness already extended, we are reminded He is good. Knowledge of His goodness grows our trust. Trust turns all types of water into pools of peace.
Maybe you haven’t yet arrived at the place to where you trust God. I pray you have, but if not, I pray that God will grow your heart to trust Him and His goodness. Trusting Him has brought me wave after wave of peace. Commit to pursue the journey toward contentment.
Contentment perfects peace. Thank You, God, for all that You have given.
We can’t claim contentment without keeping things in perspective.
Have you ever been around someone who can’t seem to look at the bright side? If there’s a chance of rain, it’s a bad day because a potential bad weather front could come in and rain on someone’s parade. Might as well not even try. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.
I asked someone recently to describe a coin to me. “What does it look like?”
“It’s got a building on it. It’s silver. It’s inscribed with ‘United States of America’.”
I nodded my head in agreement.
Next, I picked the coin up and flipped it over. I paused and then asked, “Now what does it say?”
Point made clear. Shift perspective.
Often times, a shift in how we look at a situation is all it takes to keep us content. Flip the coin over.
Thank You, God, for the rain that waters the flowers and keeps the soil moist, able to grow lush, green grass. If there’s a chance of rain, we trust that You will bring forth what is needed for this season.
Contentment perfects peace. Shift our perspective.
We can’t claim contentment without trusting God’s timing.
This was probably one of the most difficult places for me to stake claim as a citizen of the continent of contentment. What do you mean I have to wait? Isn’t this the society of everything instant?
Patient swimmers breathe peace. They see the shore they desire to get to, but they’re not in a big hurry. They trust God’s timing. More and more, I do too.
I have goals. I have dreams I desire to fulfill. We all do.
I want my life to mean something. I want to leave a legacy. I believe we all do. We pursue our purpose which is, in part, a life well-lived.
God has buried big dreams in my heart. I get to walk in the fullness of some of my dreams today, just not all. Some are seed sown for a much later harvest.
When I can remember and embrace the beauty of delayed dreams, I am left content. If every dream and desire was fulfilled today—even God-given dreams, what would I have to look forward to in future days? Delays are a gift. It’s the anticipation of presents to unwrap on Christmas morning. You know the gifts are waiting under the tree, but they are not ready to open until that special day. Timing predetermined and largely out of your control.
My brother and I once snuck and unwrapped all of our Christmas gifts weeks ahead of schedule. Carefully, we cut the tape and peeled back the wrapping paper to peer inside at the gifts my parents had purchased for us. Unbeknownst to them, we rewrapped the presents and placed the boxes in their original resting spot beneath the tree.
That Christmas was the worst one ever, even though my parents were very generous in their gift-giving. My brother and I had opened the presents before the appointed time. The joys and squeals feigned, a false sense of happy.
A valuable lesson learned that every gift has an appointed time.
Not only is timing important as it builds anticipation of joy to be held when we accomplish a God-given goal, sometimes delays are a necessity for our protection.
We might not be ready for all God has for us.
This truth I hold onto with a firm grasp. God wants to get me to those dreams and desires, but not before I’m ready. And I can honestly say I don’t want to receive any type of promotion until He feels I can handle the responsibility.
The higher we climb; the higher we can fall.
I’m not opposed to climbing high; I just want to make sure God’s propelling me to those places. If He puts us somewhere, we’re not out on a limb striving to hang on. If God promotes us to a position, He has prepared us for that place. I don’t want to be anywhere He hasn’t prepared me for.
Other people may be ahead of me, but that’s fine. That’s their place, not mine. I’ll tread water until God says, “Now swim! We’ve got that shore to reach.” Because when He says swim, He’s taking every stroke with me. I’m not fighting against the current.
Contentment perfects peace. God prepares us as we wait patiently for His good gifts.
We can’t claim contentment when there’s a moving target.
What happens when we get there? We set a goal and we achieve it. Then what? Will we be happy? For how long?
Goals and dreams are moving targets. We will have many over the course of our lifetime.
If we are only happy when we achieve a dream, and if we’re only happy for five minutes as we celebrate it, we’re missing the point. The point of life is to enjoy the process. We will always be in the process.
In order to remain content, we need to enjoy where we are. It’s that active resting we started with. The targets are moving. We’re doing what we need to do, resting in the certainty of what God asks us to do any given day. We trust Him and His timing. Float in His will. Not swimming against the current. Content not to tirelessly pursue a moving target, we celebrate where we are with Him in the process.
When we enjoy where we are, contentment perfects peace. Rest in the right now.
Questions / Actions
1. What area is most difficult in your ability to remain content and rest in the right now?
Trusting God’s timing?
Pursuit of the next goal / the moving target?
2. Take time to prayerfully seek God’s help to rest in the right now. Ask God to show you how to remain content in all situations as He reveals His goodness, perspective, and the wisdom of His timing.