It's quiet in my house today - no music blaring, no TV on, no family scurrying around...just the tick-tock of the clock, the hum of the refrigerator and the chirping of a bird outside my window.
I'm generally a fan of silence and stillness. I find I need lots of both in my days in order to deal with my life. I guess it helps me connect with God, and lets me really hear from the depths of my own soul. I've come to discover that these things are important factors that enable me to live the life I want to live.
There are times and seasons, though, when I shrink from such solitude. Fears and worries and doubts and conflicts have a way of sending me running from my thoughts. Escape and comfort come in the form of good books and loud music, usually in tandem, so that I am afforded no opportunity to dwell on these peace-shattering, joy-stealing issues.
The irony is that I need that soul-quiet in order to address and process such events and emotions. But it takes courage to turn off the noise and face the music. It's a kind of bravery I'm not always able to summon. When I can, it ends up being its own reward.
I've been thinking today about purpose and calling and goals and dreams. Asking big questions, like, "Am I living the life I want to live?" "What kind of life do I feel called to live?" "Am I enough?" "What gaps exist between the life I'm actually living and the life I want to live?" "What priorities and values and beliefs is my life communicating?" "Do I practice what I preach?" "Is anybody even watching/listening?"
Are these even the right questions? I dunno.
But I do know that, right here and right now, I'm content with my life. With the choices I've made, for better or worse. With the path that has led me to where I am right now. As bumpy and winding and uphill and uncertain as it has been, I look back at a path strewn with breath-taking beauty, true joy, life-changing lessons, unbounded grace, unshakable hope and deep peace.
I Timothy 6:6 is a verse I keep thinking of today. In the New International Version I grew up with, it says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." In this chapter, Paul is warning Timothy about those who love money and only care about amassing wealth, to the exclusion of more worthwhile, more eternal pursuits. It's a beautiful thought, and expressed perfectly in The Message: "A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God."
That hits the nail on the head for me: the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. It unequivocally sums up what I want my life to look like.
I've spent a lifetime in fear of not having enough, not being enough. Now, I can see clearly that God has filled my lifetime with comforting assurances and undeniable proof that He is enough, will always be enough.
And now, looking back, I can see that this is the path I've been following all along - learning to simply be myself, the person God has created and called and equipped me to be, and to agree with Him in all of it. Therein lies great contentment, and real joy. Thanks be to God!