joie de vivre

08. A moment you felt the most satisfied with your life.

At risk of thoroughly irritating my dedicated followers, I am so glad I am late in writing this post. Knowing this prompt was coming up allowed me to mull it over for quite some days now.

My typical disposition has always been sunny. Which is ironic, because usually my inner disposition (my innerspition, in keeping with my prerogative to invent my own words) is quite cloudy. Closet cynicism is my style, but the last few weeks God’s been calling my bluff on that. ANYWAYS.

Could I take you all on a timeline? There are pretty much three moments, upon reflection, that I can honestly say I was truly satisfied with my life. Nothing needed to happen; I had confidence in my King, Father, and Friend; I worried for nothing.

May 2010

So, the first moment of recollection is about a week after graduating from college. In the hills of Pennsylvania, one of my closest friends and I were on an InterVarsity retreat. I had a summer job I knew would terminate at the summer’s end, I was leaving most of my good friends in Frederick, and I was returning to my hometown of Baltimore to live with my parents (two things I hadn’t wanted to do, as is evidenced by previous blog posts). A big season of my life was over. At this InterVarsity retreat, we as recently graduated seniors were studying Abraham. In much the same way that we were embarking on a new season of life, Abraham does the same. There are several times that the Lord reminds Abraham and promises him that He has been Abraham’s God in the past and He will continue to be God in the future. So, in keeping with this verse, our leader told us to make a timeline of all the ways God had been with us in the past and then pray through all the ways He will lead us in the future (even as yet unknown to us). ImageOne of the coolest parts of this activity was that it allowed me to reminisce over the whole of college and write down all the little things that I hadn’t even noticed along the way. Have you ever noticed that we tend to miss things at the time, but later, as we think about them, we begin to notice things? My friend and I sat on two rocking chairs on a porch and spent probably an hour and a half – maybe more, I don’t know – talking over different things that we remembered through college. It was amazing. And I knew – certainly, without a doubt, unquestionably – that the Lord was my God and that He would take care of me. It was such a moment. I cannot wholly explain the fresh-water feeling it gave me, but you know when a wave of cold water shocks you on a hot day? That’s how I felt. It was exhilarating and horrifying all at once. There was at once a wonderful feeling that the Lord would take care of me, but riding on its heels was the feeling, “But what’s He going to do even with that feeling!?” Regardless, though, I don’t know of another time that I felt so peaceful. You have to understand, I was worrying so much about what my life would look like after that summer ended, and worrying about how much would change, but in that moment I had no worry. The Lord took it away.

As a side note, I also really love having that timeline of God’s faithfulness. I took one piece of paper and folded it in two, and on each half of both sides of  paper I wrote highlights of what God did each year of college (both in other people and in my heart and life). I still have it in my Bible. It’s been a huge encouragement to go back and re-read.

February 2012

The second moment is slightly more recent; it directly involves my church and, in my mind, serves as the prequel to the current season the Lord’s ushered into my life. It was a Tuesday night (I don’t remember exactly when, I wish I had written it down…) and I was at BSF, listening to a discussion of Acts (it’s entirely possible we were not in that particular book, but rather 1 or 2 Timothy, which discusses church membership in more explicit detail). I forget exactly what the lecturer was saying (and I thank God for that, because I remember exactly what He said to me, which is always a better thing) but it was something along the lines of serving where the Lord has placed you and using your energies in His church.

 

Now, something that God had been convicting my heart of for quite some time – since January of 2011 – was being a consistent member at a church. After leaving my old church, I’m going to say I was rather cynical about finding a church that not only professed true faith in Jesus alone, but also acted out their faith. After what I had seen in some churches, I was nearly convinced that churches with good doctrine did nothing to serve where they were, and churches with bad doctrine seemed all the more vehement to act upon their impulses, no matter how poor their doctrine was. (Side note: I’m not saying I still think that, nor am I saying it’s an accurate picture of how churches are. It’s just how I felt at the time.) Yet, over the last three months or so, the Lord led me to a church that wholly leaned on Jesus’ name and then acted out what He said. They were the opposite of “stuffy Christianity” that seemed all talk and no action or all action and no talk.

This Tuesday night in Bible study, I heard the Lord directly say to me, “Laura, I’ve placed you here [at this church]. Why are you holding back your time and energy?” I knew it was God because instantly after hearing it my brain started making all sorts of reasons as to why I should bide my time and just make sure I wasn’t going crazy. (Usually when I make big, life-changing decisions it takes me at least six months to come to them.)  I also knew it was God because I was struck down with fear not because of what God said, but because my life would have to change. And yet, right beside the fear, there was joy. The Lord placed me in a community. What a gift! How could I not be satisfied and excited with where my life was going!? 

February 2013

And here’s the last one. I’ve deliberately made it today (it is the second day in February 2013, after all) because I truly have been given exactly the amount of joy I need. Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6), and the Lord has filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and wine abound (Psalms 4:7). The Lord is my portion (Lamentations 3:24) and my very great reward (Genesis 15:1). Those who look to Him are radiant and their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34:5). I have been given such joy and satisfaction in my Savior and I rejoice that He prunes the weeds of anger, bitterness, lust, envy, and spite out of my heart. (I wish He would do it faster, but hey – He’s the Gardener…). I love the season He has me in now and I can’t wait to see what more He teaches me. I cherish those He’s placed around me and beside me.

 

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