Saturday, November 29, 2008

A RELAXing search for Contentment!

Greed as defined for this article: the excessive, insatiable selfish desire to acquire or possess more (including but not limited to material wealth) than one needs or deserves.

Lust as defined for this article: an intense desire or craving (possibly obsessive), including but not limited to a sexual nature.

Introduction

As a single female, I never expected to find myself writing about lust in connection with contentment, especially at thanksgiving. I mean during this time we are supposed to write about how thankful we are for our families and friends…right? While I am thankful for both of those, but I am also grateful for the lessons God has been teaching me this year. Some of these lessons have been unexpected and come in such unexpected ways. At the beginning of the semester a dear friend loaned me a book, SexGod, by Rob Bell. While reading SexGod, one quote stood out, and I wrote it in my journal, little expecting the numerous times I would read it over and how God would use it to convict me.

QUOTE (Rob Bell)

"When we're not at peace, when we aren't content, when we aren't in a good place, our radar gets turned on. We're looking. Searching. And we're sensory creatures, so it won't be long before something, or somebody, catches our attention."

Ingratitude leads to discontentment which leads to unhealthy desires: Greed and Lust.

This quote set me a journey of evaluating my life in context of gratitude. Along the way I realized that “lust” applied to a lot more then sexual desire. I realized that often in life I “lust” after situations, things and yes, people. When I am in those places, it is because I am not satisfied or content with those things that God has given me, always wanting more. Whether you want to admit it or not, I am pretty sure that if you are single, married, young or old, you struggle with this too. I don’t know what your area of “lust” or “greed” is, but is your radar turned on? Are you searching for things that you don’t have and want- desperately? Are you allowing yourself to come to a point of desperate longing?

Punishing God?

I think everyone struggles with this no matter their situation and personality, but how are we going to approach it? For me, as I have evaluated my life I began to see the areas of my life that I was not “grateful” for and how they corresponded to areas of greed and lust. The first step is definitely recognizing there is a problem, and boy what a problem it can be. I realized how discontent I was; how many areas of my life were negatively affected, including my prayer life. I saw that since I was not happy with where I was, I didn’t really want to pray because as a teacher of mine says “God wasn’t playing [my] way.” No matter how many times I had heard about not using God as a vending machine, I was still expecting him to “vend” me a different situation and when he didn’t… I “punished” him by not talking to him. How silly is that? It was then that I relized I needed to…

Just RELAX!

Realize that Lust, greed, and discontentment are “partners in crime”!
Evaluate the ways ingratitude is affecting your life
Let go of your wishes, desires and plans.
Affirm (to Him and others) the ways God is meeting needs and blessing you.
Xpect that everything God places before you is for your benefit.

Gratitude leads to Contentment which leads to healthy desires, healthy situations, and healthy people.

Personally, I had to consciously find ways to thank God for the situations that I wasn’t happy with; Choosing to see that no matter what the situations are God is in it, in control, and working it out for my benefit. I had to make a very concerted effort, and still do, to find the good things He is doing in spite of, and perhaps because of, the situations that I am less then pleased about. In doing so I began to find that you can become quite happy and at peace with the situation even if you have the HEALTHY desire for something different. You have to choose where you are going to focus and what you are going to place first in your life. Are you going to set your [out of control] desires up as idols? If you align your priorities and heart it become that, a desire, not an out of control desire: greed, lust or discontent. In letting go of my desires and expressing my (at first stubborn) gratitude, I slowly began to change not only in my unhealthy desires but also healthy desires began to naturally grow, desires to serve and grow closer to God. Yes, I still deal with wanting to be in different situations but somehow I have found that my gratitude has slowly lowered the “radar of greed and lust.” I know I am where God wants me… and that is enough, He is enough.

1 comments:

Pam H. December 1, 2008 at 5:43 PM  

Great, great post!

"I had to consciously find ways to thank God for the situations that I wasn’t happy with...."

Yes, we have to do that often, don't we? If people in concentration camps could find reasons to praise God, so can we.

From what I read, the tendency (not the giving in to it) to want satisfaction from things never goes away, but there's nothing wrong with the tendency so long as we struggle against it. We can't always stop ourselves FEELING down, sometimes, but we can choose to praise and thank Him anyway, and offer up our bad feelings (which we can't necessarily eliminate) for Him to use to His good purposes. All things work for good, for those who love God!

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