the things one stumbles upon in muddled early morning hours when the mind is not yet functioning, but somehow is best able to receive those still words from the other world... can be so new and fascinating. a big step of understanding taken, when my eyes are yet bleary from sleep and my brain still covered with dream-webs. and when i unearth these things, it is not as if i've never known it, it is more a recognition; things my spirit has known but my mind and body blocked out in the concreteness and constant clamoring of the five senses. not to mention the constant winds of culture and society, even the society of the church... the struggle now is to grasp it while it is at the surface, and keep it there to inform my LIFE, not merely my intellect. and my key word that morning was: contentment.
1 timothy 6:6 "but godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment."
it wasn't just that morning. God has really been bringing me on a journey of knowing contentment for several years. i suppose if i were He, i would have thought to do it by giving me my heart's desires: steady income, plenty of new clothes to wear, and a place to grow a garden. but He hasn't gone about it that way; on the contrary, He has been taking the hope of these things away more and more, little by little. and little by little i am learning to trust Him, and getting happier. what a lesson for parenting: fostering contentment not by coddling, or the giving in to desires, but by persistent love and communication, and by making things more minimal.
but what struck me about this verse was the way that contentment seemed to be presented as a prerequisite to godliness, or if not a prerequisite, the key to unlocking the treasures of godliness. if godliness is a means of gain to a person when accompanied by contentment, can it be concluded that godliness without contentment is of little gain? i looked around me and saw a generation of Christians, dedicated to seeking godliness yet without peace. committed to church, having fun in fellowship, serving in projects, but tossed to and fro yet by the world's lusts, the world's entertainment, and the world's attitudes. by their feelings and desires. WHY does a Christian look no different? WHERE are the soldiers for God's end-time army? why is all this godliness of such little gain? contentment, He whispered. the key is contentment. and how does one become content? how did i? by surrender. a giving up of dreams, of self, time, energy, future, desires, and demands. if you sink into the ocean, the waters are peaceful below. the world is clamoring so loudly that the message of self-sacrifice is harder and harder to translate. people tell you not to lose yourself, to take time for yourself, do something you want to do. but Jesus said that in losing your life you will find it. for me that means being ok with being frumpy sometimes. not keeping up with fashion as i would like. not watching movies i would like to. biting my tongue when i am tired and feel overburdened and snappy. even biting my tongue when i know i am justified, logical, or righteous.
for me, this surrender did have a lot to do with discovering the ancient paths, "returning" to a new culture unlocked in the Word. Jeremiah 6:16 says, "Thus says the LORD,'Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,where the good way is, and walk in it;And you will find rest for your souls.But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' " how peaceful i have felt this past year as i have begun to learn to walk in it, to surrender to how the Lord made me; He has taught me to love and embrace motherhood, not just love my children while holding motherhood itself at arms' length. He has taught me the importance of my womb in my identity as a woman, also the preciousness of my words. my circumstances are no better than the ones i was clamoring to get out of and complaining about a year and two ago, but my heart...my heart is content. and i am confident that will unlock more and more of this kind of gain; heart and marrow, eternal vision, peace and freedom to live.