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what is

contentment?

It is a brilliant gift to be a mother. I have an infant, 10 months old yesterday. She's a strong and very energetic thing; she prefers not to rest. As I sing to her and nurse her to sleep, I hear myself whisper things to her:
     "You are so loved."
     "You have all that you need."
     "You may rest, you will not miss anything that is for you."
     "I have more for you. There is more than enough for you."

Not very long ago at all, I was too busy overlooking my opportunity to be my children's imprinter. Discipler. Their first encounter with God's love. I found out recently that it is a yoke because it requires full attention and engagement in order to cultivate them as Christ cultivates me. Because of His mercy, He does not shame me for my past mistakes, and yet I know He was offering that blessing back then...but I turned it down for something I couldn't let go of. What is possibly my favorite part of this gift, is hearing the affirmation of my Father in my own voice. As I hear myself say these things, I can take the fullest breath and sense that my eyes sparkle the way hers do when Daddy says "amen" and she gets ready for kisses to be blown into her face after the dinner time prayer. I don't know where this tradition started, but my goodness, is it beautiful to watch her light up and reach out to receive his love!

I've known for a bit now that fear is a direct byproduct of idolatry. It is in connection to taking for myself what is good, separate from an offer to me.

Often He speaks to me in the shower. This afternoon, He told me that the reason a person becomes so afraid (Adam and Eve?) upon taking a Good Thing that is not offered, is that whatever it is--if I perceive that I have gotten it for myself rather than receiving it as a gift, I feel compelled to manage it. This produces fear and inability to let go. 

As I was shopping for food today, He started this revelation by saying this: "When you think you have gotten something of your own accord, you find it very difficult to release." 

He finished the revelation in the shower this afternoon: "and yet you feel a responsibility for keeping it under your control."

Holy shivers. We aren't made for that kind of weight. That's why we are all so afraid! We think so much is upon us, of our making, done by our hands. 
     Isaiah 2
I also often receive the gift of repentance in the shower. I asked "to what am I clinging?". [He loves these questions because in the same way that I adore nourishing my daughter, He LOVES satisfying me fully.]

Before I go into what He said, I must make it clear that while I've known for a while that true freedom is not in rules about food, but the power to choose life or death, I clung to my protein powder. This is a real confession. I still have some and although I'll use it and not waste it, I'm not going to be buying it again. Here's the reason: I bought the idea that protein is king. The root of that idea was that while using plenty of it, I had gained the body I wanted. Remember how I said "when you think you have gotten something for yourself, you are unable to let go of it yet it produces fears?" This is how we are enslaved. This is how illusions of control makes us enemies of actual faith. Real repentance means to let it go. If I lose my delts and my quads to full obedience, they weren't being offered to me in the first place. This is His body. My appetite is His business.

I like to think I have faith. I had a birth without medical professionals and fully believed that God's work is good. That is enough for me.
And yet, each afternoon I desire to sit and write here, and I can feel myself growing anxious as I look around at the mess and think "I'm going to run out of time before she wakes up!"

With regular engagement in my faith that I have all that I need. I am FULL, not empty. I have no lack of any Good Thing--it has become less frequent that I submit to a lie and live in fear. As I contemplated leaving the laundry, the dishes, and the few groceries I hadn't stashed away, I heard this If it is being offered to you, no one can take it away. 
If it is not being offered to you, you won't want to take hold of it.
Then I began folding laundry.
His yoke is EASY, you guys! His burden is light! Submission feels like a loss because we've been trained to believe that being holy is to experience a less than lifestyle. I am mindblown, because I have discovered the secret to contentment: HOLINESS IS A MORE THAN LIFESTYLE.

If I recognize that Abba is always 100% for everything, I have no need to take what is not being offered, no need to fear He will not give me all I need, and I cannot become anxious that there will be a dryness anywhere...he is 100% on time, he is 100% the provision, he is 100% concerned with my well-being, and he is 100% attentive to my trouble. You cannot compensate for 100%. If my body is 100% His and He designed it, I can be fully at rest that what He has made is fully provided for in what He has made.
This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
-Jeremiah 17:5-8

That protein predicament kept reminding me of that line in bold. I knew I was gripping it but didn't like to release it because I thought I needed to manage something that I had afforded myself.

Receiving all Good Things in context of actual faith--I'm telling you, is SATIETY. CONTENTMENT.

He showed me this by way of vegetables.

There was a time the vegetables were the side dish. I had always thought it strange that Daniel and his friends just had vegetables and water, and yet looked stronger than the rest. Why? Their faith was integral. Integral means having all components to make complete. They demonstrated their integrity of faith by refusing to submit to cultural expectations. Apparently, even back then food and strength were known to be related. But why would they reject the King's portions? That's up for debate but what is obvious is that they are acknowledging that their appetites and bodies are subject to another authority altogether. This is why they had no fear. God's bountiful provision to His people includes His wisdom, His strength, and His intimacy. They clearly had placed full confidence and authority of their beings into His hands. Daniel 1 & 2

What happens with the fiery furnace always gets the attention. Daniel 3 
What I am hearing is that the capacity of our faith is directly related to how much of ourselves we offer to Him. They demonstrated the integrity (covering mind, body and spirit) of their confidence in God by engaging with Him for the body's needs. Engaging with life Himself.

Want pure wisdom? God. Want to eat what is good? God. Want the best intimacy possible? (While I'm on it, I might as well make a note that physical intimacy with a covenant partner is only the shadow of the glory of God. So your best sex life IS IN HIM. He invented pleasure so for the love, Sons and Daughters, lets stop giving the enemy God's inheritance!)

The word life in Greek is zao.

To have life is a direct result of being of God. Separate from God, there is no life. A person dies when a part of their being separates--the mind, the body or the spirit; represented physically in the brain, the heart and the lungs.

As smart as we think we are, we cannot create life. We don't even sustain our own. Everything we depend on is life. God is life. 

I saw a children's book at the library, talking about "living and non-living things". That's the funny thing about humans. We like to sort, label and describe things we know nothing about. The book described a few characteristics of things in these categories, and at the end, it declares "scientists don't really have an answer....." All I could think was "well then why the heck are we trying to explain this to our kids like we have answers?" Another couple of books, in a series called "Boy were we wrong about_____"... in which declares all the ways in which philosophers were so incredibly silly. That one tickled me a bit, for I see in about 50 years the snickers about what it is we think we know now. Why does every generation think they're much smarter than the one before? "He confounds the wisdom of the wise"

These declarations of what all we know, they are based on our habit of breaking things apart. And as fascinating as they may be, we would be fools to think that somehow now we finally know the answers. In direct relation to our perceived knowledge and illusion of control, so has our fear.

"Do not be decieved, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to corruption will reap corruption."
 As much as we think we know, you would think we would have figured out how to be well, no? The word zao also refers to water. We all know we can't sustain life without water. If you look at what they call "processed food" (I refer to it now as 'disintegrated' or 'dismembered'; God created it's origins, but they no longer live), it is very dehydrated. Flour begins to lose its water immediately after milling. There is a suspicious lack of weight; glory. Our response to chronic dehydration is "drink water". Our response to the disintegration in our microbiome is "eat probiotics". Our response to obesity is "lose weight". Living foods in original, integral form answers all of these. This is why I passed up THREE food dehydrators at two separate Goodwills...I'd been wanting one for years, but Life Himself is telling me water matters.

Here's the deal. Having been a former blinded person, I can tell you it's very easy to miss the forest for the trees. When you analyze minutiae such as calories, mineral content, and ounces of water per day not to mention enzymes, amino acid profiles, and probiotic diversity in every "food product", it's easy to miss the reality that every Good Thing He has offered provides all that is needed for life and godliness. 
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4
It recently occurred to me that it is very clear that what God has offered as food contains life. By nature it is complete, having all parts necessary to nourish and reproduce. God wants you to feel healthy; He made your body to work beautifully in conjunction with the living food He made FOR IT. 

When the faith is integral, the confidence that every need (including the body's) are met in God Himself. And what is God's is living.

It's really very simple. If what is separate from Life is dead, it no longer reflects His nature, and ours.
With my human, conditioned mind, putting Adam and Eve in the garden full of fruit trees sounds foolish. Clearly, I am not God.

Here is another Word from the Spirit today as I was driving about: "Do not doubt the Source of your life--question the source of your knowledge."

I'm not sure if we are overcomplicating food on purpose in order that we might pursue what pleases us most, or if we are just blind. I personally was blind.

As I've followed the Spirit's words to me and put into practice what I've heard, my physical being is fully content. I have never eaten so little protein in my life, and I'm not scared. A revelation that provided the way for me to seek God more intently was this: your tastes follow your consumption. This is what it means to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind".

What you pursue and what you consume becomes what you VALUE. (where your treasure is)
Your attention is directed by the mind. It will either be manipulated to serve the intent of someone else, or it is your weapon. The mind has authority over the flesh (body/desires), -unless- we submit the mind to the flesh. Therefore, the mind is both our greatest vulnerability -and- our weapon against slavery.

Appetite follows attention. Attention is simply worship. (This is why what we spend ourselves on, our time and attention, gains influence over us; we have to justify it's importance) What I had noticed about vegetables is that I hadn't liked all that many kinds until I placed value on their life, a greater value than my desire for pleasure. What happened was that pleasure changed. I began desiring living foods that I had despised since I was an infant. What happened in my mind, spirit and body was all the same. Simply because we are integral beings. What I had known about satiety, that real transformation was found there...for all those years,  I just had no idea how right I was--yet I was still wrong because I was hanging on to flesh and thinking that or fat was providing satiety. Just because a food stays in the digestive tract longer because it's broken down slower does not mean that it is better. We need to stop thinking our appetites are something to control or manage, and start seeking what the body is hoping to recieve: life.

 In the same way that your body and mouth begins to crave living foods and disintegrated, dead matter no longer appeal, the mind longs to be filled by wisdom through Christ, the spirit longs to be filled in intimacy with the Father.

An infant is fully engaged in the act of receiving living nourishment from not a dead substitute but her source. Her satiety is a shadow of all we receive as sons and daughters of God. She isn't worried about deficiencies, macronutrient profiles or carbs. But it feels like life. Much how I feel when I receive a meal full of fresh vegetables. Sated. 

This is contentment.



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