Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Elusive Contentment...The Lost Art of Serenity

I am not sure there is anything more taxing nor trying to the human soul than to watch your child go down a path that you and I would think is destructive, damaging, and yes, even damning. This can be one of the most challenging 'situations' to my serenity.

A dear friend this morning emailed me the following: "I am writing [about] our daughter...she now is claiming to be a full-fledged atheist. She emails us last night with a video on Youtube of an atheist against Christ and the Bible. It made my heart sick, knowing this is how she is believing...[the daughter further states] 'I'm not trying to argue a case...religion is manmade, all the evidence is there. I was simply sharing something I enjoy.'"

For the past several years, contentment/serenity, as an experiential settling of the human soul, has been something that I have read, pondered, discussed, and even experienced as time goes by. Contentment was sold to me as a by product of getting my world in order and I interpreted that as "make sure there are no loose ends," and I exerted my will upon whatever needed to be 'controlled.' Alas, I soon was to discover that the harder I tried the behinder I got and my serenity suffered as I became more dismayed and the more my life was disrupted the more dismayed I became.

I remember one of those moments (dare I say, epiphanies, you know those sudden, intuitive perceptions of or insights into the essential meaning of something that was initiated by some homely commonplace experience) when a light went off in my mind that flashed this insight onto my soul; "the opposite of contentment is control!" Uh oh!! For me, that brought about a transformative way of thinking that was counter intuitive to all I had believed up to this point. That epiphany changed the way I approached my self, my clients, my church, my family and all of life.

This counter intuitive approach to contentment is grounded in the fundamental truth that nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in GOD's world by accident, and therefore, everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. And, further more, until I could accept that truth, I would experience no serenity/contentment. You see, my 'former' belief was grounded in the notion (not a very productive notion, I might add!) that some situation, some event, some person, some thing is unacceptable to me and therefore must be changed! Of course I knew what the change was to 'look like!' And I truly believed, that until those changes occured, I could never experience peace of mind...and as people will do, my beliefs dictated my behaviors and my thoughts and I would do my best to talk you out of, talk you into, make you wish you had, and whatever good passive agressive people do, I would do...all in the name of me 'finding peace!'

However, the peace and content GOD created me to experience is eternally grounded in the truth, that nothing, absolutely nothing happens by accident. And until I could fully accept this life changing principle, I could never find contentment. I often lose my focus and find myself looking at situations and what I expect and disturbs my peace!

So my prayer for my friend, is that the focus of he/his soul will be upon the God he/she trusts in. And when that focus zeros in on that unassaible radiant character of God, he/she will not judge God by the situations of life but will instead, judge the situations of life by the character of God. Then contentment will settle their human soul. And sweet peace will bring rest!

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