I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
~Philippians 4:11 NIV~
Sometimes I look around and wonder what happened to the days when I hoped for more. Where did I lose my desire to go after the things I wanted? When did I stop wanting things? Is that even a bad thing?
I would love to say that I’m so spiritually enlightened that I finally get what God’s been trying to show me all these years, but in reality I think the things I used to want just disappointed me so much that it’s just easier to be happy with what is than with what could be. I no longer think about what might have been if only I’d made different choices. My choices were already set in stone long before I made them. And what I’ve gleaned from the experiences that resulted has been a lifetime of trial and error…mostly trial…and quite a bit of error. But I don’t really feel any worse for having made the mistakes I’ve made. My heart has been in the right place. My head may not have been, but my intent was never to hurt anyone with my actions. It was only to try and heal something in me that had been broken.
Looking back at all of these mistakes, I know that the years I spent feeling badly about what I viewed as unforgivable flaws were time that I needed to process the lessons that come with heartache and pain. It took a long time for me to understand that the worst part of anything that I had done did not lie in the actions themselves, but in the fact that I felt so bad about who I was that there was no room for me to learn or even attempt to accept who God made me to be.
The confusion we feel when we are in pain often keeps us from appreciating any good thing that may be happening around us. We look at the people and things in our lives and sometimes we feel so unworthy of happiness that we seek out ways to destroy them. Or we look for ways to destroy ourselves. And we often succeed. We push people away. We become self-destructive. We act like jerks. But those who really know us, continue to love us even when we blatantly show them why they shouldn’t.
God knows why we act so dumb. He knows that this is all we know how to do. He understands why we can’t let ourselves be loved during those times of confusion. He understands all that we need to do to finally accept His love. He even understand when we do so without fully understanding what we are doing. He already knows our hearts and minds and He watches us process the challenges we face.
Even though it may take us a lifetime to figure out how to treat others and how to treat ourselves, He is never surprised by our choices, no matter how surprised we may be. So as we are looking around at the pieces of our lives; whether they lay in a pile or they’ve been reconstructed into something that is yet unfamiliar to us, His love surrounds us and gives us the strength to be content in our circumstances. Once we accept that, the need to have something we aren’t meant to have disappears and we begin to want to develop a better understanding of why we are given the life we have been given. And the burdens become just a little bit lighter.
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Psalm 68:19 NIV