Contentment

Birthday wish

I saw God today, in contentment.

Today I turn 43.  I can hardly believe it.  It looks so much older written out in words than when I say the number out loud.

There were many years I cringed as my birthday inched closer.  Though, I could never pinpoint the reason why.  I wasn’t necessarily worried about getting older.  It was the day itself I worried about.

After a couple years of this pattern, I finally started to understand what the dread was all about.  It was the expectations, unrealistic or not that were creating this unhappy birthday girl.

The years I spent in Sweden taught me a thing or two about birthdays.  Where I lived in Sweden, people threw themselves a birthday party if they wanted one, rather than wait for someone else to throw it for them.  They made the cake and invited the people, unless they had a spouse willing to do the work.  That took some getting used to.  These days I wonder if there is not something to this.  Our friends created their own magic rather than waiting for, or expecting it to come to them.

So this year when asked what I want for my birthday, one word came to mind…contentment.  More than anything else I wanted to be content with what the day would bring.  I want to know what Paul meant when he said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:11, 12

And you know what, I think God granted my birthday wish.  And not only that, but with the help of friends and family, and a beautiful morning sunrise,  He created a little birthday magic.

 

In distance

Air

I saw God today, in distance.

I do not think I am alone in saying that some days I struggle with relationships.  I misunderstand or am misunderstood.  I put expectations on a friendship or feel the weight of expectations placed on me.  My response to these hurts can vary but there seems to be one response that rises to the surface every time…distance.  Then again isn’t this what sin and hurt does, creates distance?  My sin created distance in my most important relationship, with God.

I enjoy reading the blog posts on the (In)courage website.  As I was browsing on their website the other day, I came across these words…”We know what it’s like to have distance in a relationship because we’ve hurt someone else.  And with God, there’s only one way to close the gap.  Jesus came to earth and died on the the cross to make that happen.” ((In)courage)

Since little on up I have been told this story, that Jesus made a way for me to come to God.   And I have seen that this is true.   Nonetheless, He doesn’t stop there.  He bridges the distance in my other relationships, those places where I have hurt those and others have hurt me.  Jesus is undeniably the only way I can have friendship with God and likewise the only way I can have friendship with others.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39

Is there a relationship you can give to Jesus today?

Slowness

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I saw God today, in slowness.

“I don’t do quick anymore,” my grandmother use to say as my mom tried to get her out the door.  I have laughed over Grammy’s words and used that expression myself at times.

Nonetheless, after weeks of busyness her words have become more than a cute expression.  They have become a little bit of a lifeline.

To travel slowly in a fast moving culture is no easy feat.  I find myself moving swiftly with the crowd even when I desire to do otherwise. Some of us thrive when surrounded by tasks, people, or objects in motion, while others avoid these things at all costs.  Yet even those of us who do not appreciate the flurry of activity, can find ourselves in seasons that take up more of our calendar than we would like.   It is especially during those times when my calendar is claiming bits and pieces of me, that I move toward slowness.

It is in slowness that my heart which was filled with worry and anxiety can take a breath.

It is in slowness I choose to look at one task instead of the twenty vying for my attention.

It is in slowness I focus on today, instead of stressing about the days to come.

It is in slowness I choose to connect with one, instead of the many I have not kept up with.

It is in slowness I notice the tree that is starting to bud, the songbird singing its melody, and the child that might need my smile today.

It is in slowness I see opportunities, rather than burdens carried.

From what I can see, God doesn’t mind slowness.  He took time as He created the world.  (Although seven days still seems pretty speedy to me)  He journeyed with the Israelites for forty years in the desert.  He was silent for almost 400 years before sending Jesus to our world.  If the God of this universe can take things slowly, I should be able to learn a thing or two from Him!

“And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” Genesis 2:2

What are some ways God might be asking you to slow down today?