Finding contentment in sacred rest…
I was a few days into my travel-journaling on social media when my friend commented on my post, “Make the most of your sacred rest, hint, hint!”
Oh, how my soul needed to find rest, yet, I was doing anything but resting … posting all our travels and all my pics of our discoveries. But how was that being present in the moment with my hubby?
Ummmmm … right … it wasn’t. I clearly wasn’t being content with our time away.
I was more focused on taking pictures and posting them for all to see than I was on our time together, allowing the Lord to refresh and restore us!
So, I took definitive action!
I clicked on my Facebook app on my phone and pressed “delete.” Did the same with Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Yep. It’s true. I unplugged. And I’m still alive to report that I survived going without my regimen (addiction?) of posting daily.
The result… I delighted in the downtime we enjoyed together.
My quiet time the very next morning centered around James 3:13-18.
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (ESV)
After a hefty summer travel schedule to writer’s conferences and different events, I watched many authors and speakers praised for their worthy words. Whether the accolades were heard at an event or posted on social media, it was a breath of fresh air to embrace this wisdom from above and ask God to test my own motives.
It’s a heady thing to be singled out and praised in front of others. Applause from the stage, words affirming your good deeds, and even images that appear in the Instagram feed can make us stand a bit taller and walk with confidence. Yet, it makes me wonder if there’s a temptation for my success to cause someone else to be discontent with their perceived lack of it. Jealousy, selfish-ambition, and competition is rife within the realms I travel. Yes, that’s right, in Christian circles.
This brought me back to my own “come to Jesus” reckoning when I was caught up in network marketing. I began to see what the big conferences did to cause envy and selfish ambition to overflow with the up and down lines in attendance.
Showing off big houses, fast cars, and dream vacations belonging to the top earners was meant to motivate the troops when actually it only caused discontentment. We criticized those with 9 to 5 jobs and held up our endeavors as true freedom, better yet, the American Dream.
I discovered much later in life the “freedom” they praised was, in reality, captivity fueled by discontent.
We live in a world where people appear to be content and yet they are bound by the chains of comparison. Looking with envy to those who are on the platform, or perhaps mindless scrolling … resentfully gazing at posts of the picture-perfect life on Facebook. Whatever in our lives seems to fire up jealousy and selfish ambition should be doused with a new realization of the truth found in Philippians 3:8.
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
Jay Adams describes it this way in The Practical Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling
“… One must not become content with what human beings (including oneself) do, only with that which God brings into one’s life. Paul also spoke of striving after goals that he had not yet attained (Philippians 3:8–11). Obviously, he was not satisfied with his own attainments.
… [C]ontentment, at bottom, is contentment with God and what He is doing at any given time.”
My summer season of rest has almost found its end. As we drive back from the quiet of our getaway, I’m grateful I found contentment in my journey. It began with pulling away from the activity of the world and leaning into what God was doing in each of the moments I experienced.
The beauty around me of ocean waves, majestic trees, and star-filled skies far surpassed the images found on my phone. I’m thankful for a comment from a friend and a truth that brought me to the place of real rest that replenished my soul.
Have you taken time to unplug and just be content in the moment? Are you enjoying the view in front of you from the glorious beauty of creation to the simplicity of a cup of coffee with someone you hold dear? When you do, you will experience true contentment and your soul will find rest.
Thanks for hanging out with me today,
Welcome, I'm Athena!
I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.
Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!
The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.
Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!