Friday, January 20, 2012

Wedding Day (Casting Crowns)

One of my favourite songs at the moment.

The Well (Casting Crowns)

One of my favourite songs these days. I have nothing to say about it. I'll let the song speak for itself.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

making the most of life

Do you ever have those times when you hear something that you're not quite sure can be true? Sometimes it's because it's a good thing. And sometimes it's because it's the opposite - a bad thing. But, whatever it is you either aren't sure you can believe it or you're not sure you want to believe it.

That's what I experienced when I got to work to hear that one of my co-workers had died over the holidays. It's not what you expect to hear when you get to work. And it's not something you want to believe when you hear it. When you work with someone for four and half years, it becomes something you expect to see them every day when you get to work. The passing "hello." The brief conversations in passing or in the lunch room. It's sometimes hard to see how much of life is shared with your co-workers.

Sometimes life is unpredictable. Sometimes the unexpected happens. And it makes me wonder if that should affect the way we live each day. Not that we should live in fear of what will happen next. But, that we shouldn't hold off on doing things. We should take the opportunities we have and make the most of them every day. And in the process we should make our relationships with others the most important, because they are what will last beyond all we have and even beyond our life on this earth.

How are you living your life? Are you waiting for the time to "be right" to do something? Or are you taking the opportunity to do it now? And to value the relationships you have and invest in them?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

content with life as it is?

The new year for me has begun with a lot of thinking about contentment. It's challenging to think about. And it has challenged me on what I think being content means. As I've thought about it and read about it, I've realized being content has a much broader definition than I thought. Now, I'm not one who likes change, so I may seem content with things the way they are, but the truth is that there are places in my life where I'm definitely discontent.

I guess I've often seen contentment as being happy with the way things are and not wanting anything more. But, I'm beginning to see that you can be content, but still have hopes and dreams for the future. I read a quote in a book I'm reading that put it clearer than I probably can, so here it is:

Contentment serves as a guard against desires gone wild. It is the key to unlock you from the bondage of unrestrained longing that wells up within your heart and inevitably begins to control your life, making you a slave to what you don't have instead of a fully engaged participant in what you do. It is the faith-filled belief that what God has bestowed now is worthy of gratitude and appreciation, not merely because it is enough but because it is good.
By choosing contentment, you're not getting rid of your desires; you're just demanding that they assume an appropriate, humble position in your life, not bossing you around like a tyrannical dictator forcing you to submit to his ever-growing and ever-changing list of demands. It means you no longer allow you yearning and aspirations to control you, to rob from you the full use of and gratitude for what you've currently been given, leaving you unable to enjoy this because He hasn't seen fit to give you that. (Priscilla Shirer, The Resolution for Women, pg. 28-29)

That's a much broader definition of contentment than I had in my mind.

And it's a definition that challenges me. There are hopes and dreams I have in my life - some that I wish had already happened. If I get focused on them, it is pretty easy to become discontent with life. And then I miss out on all that is in my life currently - all that God has provided for me right now.

At another point in the book, Priscilla Shirer says something else that challenged me for the times when I begin to grow discontent with life and start being controlled by desires for something more or something different:

When you've concluded that what you already have on hand is enough, that it's adequate - that it's been deemed by God as sufficient - then you're equipped and empowered to participate fully in the tasks set before you during this season of life. . . . Your God can be trusted to grant you the supply you need to excel at His purposes. So if you don't have it - whatever it is - it's because you don't need it. You may want it, but it's not necessary in order to accomplish what He knows is most important for your life today. Otherwise, He'd have given it to you. He lives you too much to 'withhold the good from those who live with integrity'. (Psalm 84:11)" (Priscilla Shirer, The Resolution for Women, pg. 20-21)

What I have now is what I need for now. What you have now is what you need for now. That's not the natural way to think - not the easy way to think or live. But God does supply our needs - not necessarily everything we want - but what we need for that time in our lives. And that is why we can be content even when we have hopes and dreams for the future.

Scripture talks about contentment as well. And holds it up as something to be esteemed and valued.

"True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth." (1 Timothy 6:6, NLT)

"If we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content (satisfied)." (1 Timothy 6:8, AMP)

"Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you'." (Hebrews 13:5, NASB)

As a new year begins this has been challenging, but good, to reflect on. What about you?

What does contentment look like to you? How would you define contentment?
Are you content? Or are you discontent with things around you and missing the good things in your life right now?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

the beginning of a new year

A new year has begun and like many people do, I have spent some time reflecting on the last year and looking ahead to what is coming. It's easy to do that strictly in terms of events in my life. Much has happened and much will happen. But that's not exactly where my thoughts have been focused. God has been at work and He will continue to be at work in my life . . . and in yours . . . even if we don't always see it.

One of the CDs I got Christmas this year has quickly become a favourite of mine. There is a song on the CD that has become a declaration of sorts for me going into 2012.

The whole song declares Who God is and that He is greater than anything else. The chorus is the part that first jumped out at me.

I'm running to Your arms
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares
To Your embrace
Light of the world
Forever reign

That's exactly what I want to do in 2012. Run to God's arms in everything that happens - whether good or bad. It's the place to run because the riches of His love will always be enough.

My prayer for 2012 is that the words to the chorus of that song would be the words I sing (in my heart or out loud) in every circumstance. And I pray they would be true for you as well.