Friday, July 18, 2014

And Like A Consumer...

I most tightly claim the 1990s as my decade.
Born in 1981, I was too young to understand the 80s, Reagan, Bush the first, the remnants of Carter's legacy, but my memories begin with the Gulf War. Clinton's first and second terms, and then, my eligibility to vote came in the year 2000.
My musical flavor palette is also mostly seasoned with the 90s and the early part of the 2000-2010 decade. (Although it pains me to hear my high school favorites as "classic rock" now. That term was reserved for the janitor listening to his 80s hair bands while mopping the halls after school.)

When I began college, I was a decent piano player, had played flute in band, and I was a voice major. I had been dabbling in songwriting for a few years and was swept up by some bands you may have never heard. One that was folksy and mostly acoustic-driven with great harmonies was Caedmon's Call. A friend of mine who is in Nashville and such a great musician performed one of their songs at a talent night. She played guitar and sang, another young man sang, and another young man played guitar and sang.  The song was "This World".
"This world has nothing for me and this world has everything. All that I could want and nothing that I need."

Another song by the band is "My Faith Is Like Shifting Sand".
That one has been really resounding in my head lately.
"And like a consumer, I've been thinking if I could just get a bit more.
More than my fifteen minutes of faith, then I'd be secure."
In the busyness and distraction of our ever-connected society, there is a lot of room to feel guilty.
People will share their successes to encourage others, and yet we take those messages as guilt-inducing testimonies to our own failure to measure up.

So-and-so has five kids, a home business, blogs for ten different companies and a perfect devotional life. And 1,000 followers on Twitter. And her Pinterest pages are repinned at an astronomical rate.

Who are we trying to please?
Can we admire her for her seemingly faultless life and then get back to our own?

The truth is, our life will always have room for insecurity and comparison. It may be thrown in our faces more than the last few generations, but it is nothing new.

Instead of thinking that we just "need a little more prayer", "need a little more Bible time", let's stop making it a contest or a quota.
There is no formula for contentment. Your heart needs rest. Peace. Quiet. Zero distractions.

Is that easy today? Definitely not.

But is it worthwhile to pursue it when the opportunity advances?
Most definitely.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

"I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope." Psalm 130:5 (AMP)

Instead of experiencing frustration at what others are doing that you cannot seem to do, do what you can. Think of the widow who could barely offer a dime to the Lord. "She gave all that she had."

It's the willingness of your heart that pleases God. That you are seeking Him whenever you think of Him. That you are thankful for each little thing that you notice or that you pray about and He answers.
When joyful praises become as natural as breathing, your joy and contentment will rise and you won't listen to that consumerism whispering "you need more Jesus". "You need more of the Holy Spirit".
It may sound nice, but it's not Biblical.
"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." 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

God wants all of me and has given me all of Him. That is enough. :)
The chorus to the song states
"My faith is like shifting sand, changed by every wave. My faith is like shifting sand, so I stand on grace."
Though my efforts won't always get an "A", my attempts will still please God and He doesn't have a "to do" list that measures up with the task lists we make. His list is full of fruit, more like a garden.

22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)