September 16, 2010
Nothing More and Nothing Less
"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought."
Matthew 5:5 (MSG)
Lord, how can I become content with just who I am, nothing more and nothing less?
I'm certainly prone to want to be more, or less, than I am. To be smarter, prettier, funnier, fitter. To be more productive, perky and high energy. And then also to be lower key, calmer, more level-headed and focused.
I want to have better self-awareness, and yet I want to be less concerned about what others think of me.
I want to be a better cook, to sing beautifully and to keep the house neat without so much perceived effort. And did I mention fuller, thicker hair would be nice too? I want to be a better writer - one that's both highly creative and meticulously organized. And I want fewer propensities to run late, slack off or procrastinate.
Yes, I want to be both more and less of me.
Jesus shushes my endless listing of the things I want to change about myself - to improve about myself so I can have what I'm sure would be a better life. He asks me instead to humbly make peace with it all. To lay down my notions of a better woman and a better life by letting Him be the judge of that. To simply take what I'm given and offer it back to Him, in service and surrender. Willingly assuming that I am enough - I have what it takes to live a great life. One that pleases God, others and self.
Today's key verse is among several in the Bible that fuels a core conviction I hold: When I stop striving to create a life for myself, I find the life God creates for me. This, my friend, is a powerful truth, a divine secret. His life for me begins precisely where mine ends. My life ends in my sin and striving and begins again in God's grace and power. His empowering indwelling affords me everything I truly need and nothing I truly don't.
Do you too long to be content with just who you are in Christ - nothing more and nothing less? Jesus addresses us both in Matthew 23:11-12, ""Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty." (MSG)
Amazingly, God's grace humbles a woman without degrading her, and His favor lifts her up without inflating her. The life she finds in Him makes her the proud owner of everything money can't buy - a life of contentment.
Dear Lord, help me to quiet my critical, striving spirit today and gratefully accept who I am and where I'm at in this moment. For You are here, ready to invisibly empower my life to count for plenty right where I am. Help me also to seek and hold your definition of "plenty" - nothing more and nothing less. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Connect with Rachel at her blog where she describes an everyday moment when she needed and learned to be contentment with who she is.
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It is possible to improve and grow - with dreams, plans and goals - and still be content today. Journal some notes to yourself about doing that - and schedule a time to return to read those notes in the future. Perhaps read it each Monday morning, or just whenever you feel yourself slipping into stressful striving.
Am I content today with who I am and where I'm at in life in this moment?
What can I do to find that contentment when it is missing?
1 Peter 5:6-7, "So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; he'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you." (MSG)
Zephaniah 3:12-13, "This core holy people will not do wrong. They won't lie, won't use words to flatter or seduce. Content with who they are and where they are, unanxious, they'll live at peace." (MSG)
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