Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Here are two separate but related quotes from a book I've been reading; such insightful information. I've been posting it everywhere:

[Contentment is] a soul sufficiency, a peace separate from circumstances. Most of us base our contentment on our circumstances, on our feelings, or on other people. However, true contentment is separate from our circumstances. Contentment is a state of the heart, not a state of affairs.

When we take over and try to control what happens, we take our focus off the One [God] who is in control and put our eyes on our circumstances.

Though I completely agree with those statements, I think another reason why we can't be content is because we aren't willing to live in the present, obviously. It's so much easier to be resentful toward someone or unhappy about something that happened to us in the past than to forgive the person and move forward. Funny thing is, even though it's very human for us to like the false feeling of security that comes with "thinking" we've got it all under control, in these moments we're far from in control; we're slaves to our past when we can't acknowledge our present blessings. Even if we're not mentally dwelling on the former events, if we are stuck in the same mindset, we're just stuck. We can't become better people, we can't help anyone else, and we really can't be content or at peace.

It's during these times that we think God hasn't listened to or answered our prayers, so we also become resentful toward him; we pretend we don't need him when we're in the most needy phase of the healing process. I don't think having these feelings is wrong because they can open the door to healing, that's why I consider them part of the process, but when thinking negatively becomes part of our everyday routine, the event or person that triggers the feeling becomes an idol and there's no room for God. We then take matters into our own hands and things fall apart, if it's not evident in our life then it becomes evident in our thought life/hearts. We become calloused and unable to love.

(There have been moments in my life when I've let myself get stuck. I continued praying during those times, more out of desperation than anything else, but there was still a tiny bit of faith that God could work with. I'm still very flawed in this sense, but the healing process is life long because I am human. These are just some things I've thought about along the way. Funny thing is, they didn't actually occur to me until I tried helping a few others going through a similar situation. I realized I needed to start following my own advice! :)

Life is hard. We pray. But God isn't going to come down and shout from the rooftops: "Hey look, here's your miracle; here's your answered prayer!" We're the vehicles he uses to answer our own prayers. But if we're driven by negative thoughts, he can't steer us in the direction we're supposed to go. (Yes, bad pun! But at least I didn't say Jesus, take the wheel -- that would've been really bad. :)

It even makes sense that the answer to our prayers is revealed to us in the moments when we can see how the obvious blessings of our present override the memories of a difficult past. But we can't see how our prayers have been answered when we're asking God why he hasn't answered our prayers; ungrateful souls are blind.

So whether the memory is attached to a person or event, it all comes down to this cliche: life's too short to dwell on it. There will be blessings we'll miss out on and there will be people we'll miss out on loving, even if one of those people is the person who hurt us. I've had to make amends with those who've hurt me so that I could love them through forgiveness; sometimes that meant just apologizing for the small (or big) hurtful role I played in the situation without receiving an apology in return. But in the end, they aren't going to be here forever and neither am I.

When we're face to face with God, he's going to ask us if we lived for him -- that means loving the way he loved us, that's what we've all been called to do. If I can't say that I loved everyone I came across while on earth, because there was resentment preventing real love from existing in my life, then I didn't really love anyone at all, not even myself.


Tiffany said...

Very nice post and timely for me. Thank you for the reminder!

Sophie said...

:) Thanks, Tiffany. Have a great 4th of July!

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