Often in life I have found myself discontent, even as a Christian, or maybe even more so as a Christian. I ponder this often; I think that it has to do with the idea that I think that I should have ALL the answers. I mean, I do have the Bible at my disposal and it does give me all the answers to every need and life issue… Right? I think that if I can just make it to this mark then I will be ‘there’ and so I reach ‘that’ mark and I am glad to have made it there but still that wasn’t the ‘ALL’ that I was looking for ,that wasn’t the destination that I thought that it would be. I sometimes felt like I was in a constant state of discontent. Always searching for something and just when I thought that I had ‘found’ it something new would crop up. What I discovered is that I was looking for a destination, a stopping point. A place to grow TO, so I could stop growing because well I FINALLY made it there!
Change has never been a great friend of mine. Change is unstable and off putting and unsettling and not comfortable. It has always felt terribly insecure to me. My best friend is always assessing her life and evaluating or reevaluating what she is doing and who she is at the core. I used to think she was nuts! I was always so afraid to look inward and evaluate who I truly was. What if I didn’t like what I saw? So, I would put my head in the sand and be ‘content’ in where and who I was. NOW, that is not to say that I was not a fine person I was just stagnant and unchanging, not getting better at life and not getting worse at it but ‘status quo’. I no longer think her crazy, for this reason anyway ;). I now evaluate and reflect on my life almost constantly. NOT from discontent but in order to grow and become more of who and what God created me to be. I have realized that I looked for a destination. Trying to find that stopping point, that place where the journey ends. I could sit back and kick up my feet and breathe a sigh of relief and say ‘yes, now I have made it’. I now realize that life is a journey, not a destination. My destination is heaven! THAT is my goal and until that time I will be content to search, evolve and reflect in order to become MORE of what Christ would have me to be. I have stopped looking for the arrival and realized that if I stop growing I am really dying. Life is an ongoing process of change and growth and becoming more. If every time I finish something I think that am done learning then I am setting myself up to be discontent because the next opportunity to learn is just around the corner. The times of discontent have never been about wanting or needing more it has been about the misconception that I had reached a destination, the final place of having it all. There is no destination, it is all a path in the journey of life. Perfection is NOT on the other side of that hill.
I remember a bible in my home and prayers being said as far back as I can remember in my childhood. My mom and dad would read to me at bedtime from the blue 10 volume book set “The Bible Story”. I remember mom getting us ready for church and getting all pretty for Sunday school and always so excited about cookies & coffee in the large gymnasium after service was over. I recall coloring pages and memory verses and riding the Sunday school bus from time to time.
Sadly, life changed. Mom and dad divorced when I was about 7 years old. Church was no longer a priority. Mom remarried and moved out of state. Dad remarried and our family blended together with little mention of the Lord. I moved back and forth between parents most of my childhood and teen years. As you can imagine that affords very little stability.
The lifestyle from home to home was very different. I can’t recall ever attending church or talking about the Lord much, if any at dad’s house. However, I was always provided for, protected and loved. Our environment was stable and our home was always buzzing with activity. I remember attending church off and on with a friend from school. Her grandma would come by every Sunday to pick me and my sister up. We were never encouraged to go or not go but we were allowed.
When at mom’s house church attendance was a regular occurrence. We attended just about every Sunday and we talked about the Lord. It was more commonplace. However, “Christ-centered” living was “hit and miss” at best most times. We attended a small Assembly of God church in Randle, WA. My first memory of surrendering my life to Christ was as a youth in that church. I was baptized there. I remember always being excited to go to church and I always remember going because I wanted to NOT because mom was making me. I remember making bad choices as a teenager when presented with opportunity to do good or bad but always having a heart of repentance. In saying that, I was an “off & on” committed teenager. I loved being around those that loved the Lord and I was always wanting more of the Lord. At a youth conference as a teen I received the gift of tongues as I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I often wonder about the road we travel and how each phase of life plays a part in our journey. I find it interesting that life with mom and life with dad was always so different without thought. I never intentionally choose to not go to church or really even gave it any thought when I was at dad’s house as a child it just was what it was. It seems I would just go through a time of disconnect and it was normalcy for the environment.
After graduation, I was invited to church by a friend. It was a much different type of Christian living. For 6 years I was fanatical for Jesus. There was so much legalism (not that I realized that at the time). I “did” all the right stuff and “didn’t do” so much but I lacked a real true RELATIONSHIP with the Lord. Don’t get me wrong, I prayed and read the Word, I fasted, and said all the “right words” but it was completely a performance based walk. I remember believing I would never walk away from God. However, I did. I made a couple of terrible decisions in life and allowed those choices to dictate the idea that I was unworthy of His Grace and Mercy. I became angry at myself and at God.
In the midst of all my doubt, fear, guilt, and shame the Lord called my name. It was THEN that I FINALLY understood the TRUE Grace and Mercy of the Lord! He met me right where I was at emotionally, spiritually and mentally. In May 2010 He called me to obedient repentance and ultimate trust. He showed me just how gracious and loving He is as my Savior. Ever since then, I have been able to watch as a true growing relationship with the Lord unfolds in my life. There is truly no destination greater then eternity with Jesus and I relish this journey of discovery with Christ as my center and final destination.
Last night at church our Worship Arts Pastor, Greg was teaching on John 20:24-29. The scripture says that Thomas (doubting Thomas) was not in the room with the other disciples when Jesus reappeared the first time. Pastor Greg contemplated why this might be and provoked us to think that maybe he was so defeated that the Lord died that he could no longer believe. He was so devastated that there was no HOPE. The scripture says that when the disciples told Thomas that the Lord was alive he responded saying that unless he was able to touch His scars and put his hand in His side that he would not believe. Can you imagine where Thomas was at this point? Utterly hopeless, faithless, feeling like he was lied to and maybe even a little humiliated because he had believed a lie. Each of us at some point in our walk with the Lord becomes a “doubting Thomas”. We get angry, disappointed, second guess and even blame the Lord for situations happening that didn’t go as we had planned. The scripture goes on to say that the Lord appeared again 8 days later and specifically met Thomas right where he was. Without blame, without anger, without contempt with nothing but love, compassion and grace the Lord showed Thomas his scars and said here Thomas, touch my scars, He opened His robe and said stick your hand in my side. The Lord came RIGHT to the VERY place that Thomas needed from Him and on his terms and ministered to his need through the scars of Calvary. What an amazing God. To lay down His life and die after being mocked and abused and humiliated and then to use those scars to meet the need of His friend, His disciple, one of His inner circle without ridicule anger or malice. The Lord and His amazing grace, meets us right where we are, every time without failure.
I think back to my years of running from the Lord and when I finally said Yes to God. I had ran for years, doubting Him, His love, denying a relationship with Him, being angry and hurt and flat out ignoring His beckoning. Yet, He graciously drew me back to Him with such gentleness and grace. He knew what I needed He knew how to meet me right where I was. In sin, mistrust and defiance and He STILL called my name. When I finally responded He paved the way for me. He spoke to me in the night when I could not doubt that it was His voice. He allowed me to ignore Him repeatedly and still continued to call until I responded. Once I responded, He told me exactly what to do. I was broken, doubting and terrified but He showed up right where I was. He made it completely undeniable that He was the One that made this happen. I followed His command just as Thomas did and He took my unbelief and turned it into belief. Ever since that moment just over 2 years ago, the Lord has been asking me to allow myself to be vulnerable to others. It is a slow process that I am sure is not yet perfected but I feel the call to use my scars to meet the needs of others just as He did. Will you use your scars to meet the needs of others? Will you say #YestoGod?