They've been heavy posts. Thanks for sticking it out with me.
I felt like we needed some disciplines to help us move into the whole joy, contentment, and satisfaction area. Here they are:
1. Solitude/Silence - we need to get quiet and get alone, even if it's only for a short time, and courageously ask this question: "God, am I more interested in happiness or joy? Satisfaction or gratification? Show me where You're already moving." Then listen. Then repeat.
2. Fasting - Fasting teaches us that we'll be okay when we don't get what we want, which is the heart of joy and contentment. This is how we can be joyful when we're not happy. This is how we can be satisfied when we're not gratified. We surrender something we really long for and engage in (food, entertainment, etc.) so that we can learn how to be okay without them.
3. Simplicity - I call this discipline "the moving exercise." Walk into your house and pretend that you're going to move out of that house tomorrow and need to start packing. Look around and assess what things you'll pack and take, and what things get tossed. Then toss those things in real time. Honestly, one of the things that plagues us is that we hold on to stuff to protect against a time when we may be in need. I'm not talking about clothes, necessarily - I'm talking about taking a Spirit-guided tour of your stuff and letting God point out the useless material safety nets that have been installed in your life.
These three disciplines (and many more) are the beginning of a life that is deeper and richer than we could imagine. It will take a change of mind to get there, but when Jesus says, "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near" this is what He's saying. He's not saying stop being bad because God's gonna git ya! He's saying "Change your mind and see that joy and satisfaction are just at the tips of your fingers. Reach out, and live deeply and beautifully regardless of what happens to you in this broken cosmos. You are safe in me. Think on that."
Lord, we wrestle because all we want is happiness.
Full bellies. Full pantries. Full garages.
You know that, and rather than bristle you chuckle.
Like a child ignoring the toy to play with the box it came in,
you see our limited vision.
And you call us, gently, to turn our heads.
T'shuv. Metanoiete. "Repent."
Change your mind and see
The glorious beauty of the Kingdom of God
Instead of the rigorous pain of the Kingdom of Me.
Let us train.
Let us wait.
Let us live.
Change our minds as we give them over to change.
We'd rather be satisfied, really, and help us to mean that.
Yes and yes. True. Amen.