Saturday, March 14, 2015


In which I think about selfishness and contentment.

The view from my bedroom window ya'll.

 Do you ever get told that you need to find your contentment and joy in God before anything else?

If your a christian, then I'm gonna go ahead and assume that you've been told this...


The way I look at it, there are two different categories of being content.

 The physical: you know, the money and houses and buildings and cars and computers and decorations and furniture and and everything material that turns to dust eventually on this spinning globe;

...and the metaphysical. The things like love, people's affection and friendship, belief in God, peace of heart and soul, faith, happiness.

What yours truly looks like 60% of the time. Tucked in her room, with her laptop and her headphones and her books. Not smiling. sorry. Who has a smile plastered on there face when they're doing school anyway? Not me.

Growing up christian, church every Sunday since I was a baby, befriending people with conservative standards...this ensured that from Sunday school age that I was steeped in the message that, "God is enough, and we shouldn't want other peoples toys because that is coveting and we aren't supposed to do that. Stuff isn't important, kids." And later..."don't pursue riches, don't worry about what your going to eat, what you are going to wear, look at the lilies of the field." 

Okay. Got it. Thank you. 

    My issue isn't that physical stuff...if it came down to that I could be pretty easily pleased. Honestly, I think I could care less if I lived the rest of my life in an RV park, working the local breakfast cafe and living off frozen pizza and PB&J sandwiches.

What it always always looks like next to my bed... lets see, Bible, three or four apologetics/theologish books, a couple notebooks, a couple fictional books, a free grace broadcaster...I think I'm half way through like, um, all of them. 
After all, a library membership is still free, so as long as I had wifi and hot water....I'd be good to go. I can see it, 25, working six mornings a week, always driving a car that's at least twelve years old, coming home to a tiny trailer with a cat or two, reading any good book I could get my hands on, writing books that will never get published, playing/listening to music, watching some movies and TV shows, and jogging on the weekends after church.

If that's all there was to life, then I'd be a pretty happy camper.  I am blessed with a lot of awesome "stuff" right now. (See above references to books and music) But as cool as I think some of this stuff is...I know its really empty. I know it's dust in the end, and that my happiness can't rest on it.

Its the other kind of contentment that I go "rounds in the ring with", so to speak.

Me: Hey, I should take a selfie of what I usually look like! Make a cute face! Ummmm...never mind maybe I should just go back to writing blog posts and doing school. Apparently, I have not mastered the art of the selfie face. I think that's a good thing though.
 Weirdly, in conversations with a few people that I have had recently, they all asked me the same question, unbeknownst to each other that they were all asking it:

What do you want, Jillian? What do you want your life to look like?

Blink. Blink. Blank stare.

 "I...I dunno. I thought it was up to God to decide that. I thought it wasn't supposed to be about what I want. What do you mean?"

"I mean, what do you want to do with the life God has given you? Do you want to just play violin all the time and read books and take taekwondo?  Do you want to just get married and have babies?  Do you think you might want to be a missionary?"

"Well...maybe. I mean, yeah, all of that...that would be great. But none of it's really that important if I  don't know who God is, who I am in relation to God, if I don't know what my faith is, if I don't know what I stand for, if I can't understand why God does what He does. I gotta know that first."

Let me tell you,  I've been a professing christian since I was seven, a real, baptized, heart-changed christian when I was twelve, but despite all, now, I realize that my faith was more just my parents than my own. That's what happens when you grow up in a Christian home. Not that that's a bad thing...but its like becoming a christian all over again, when you really think through a plethora of subjects for yourself.

 If you grew up in a christian home too, I think this will really resonate with you. You just believed what you believed and did what you did because that's what mom and dad believe and this is what they say is right and that was enough. Life was good. Let Mommy and Daddy figure out the problems, and then tell you what to do. That was, actually, pretty easy.

And then, at some point, you find out that you must believe it for yourself. You have to hold your Christianity in your own two hands and become convicted of things in your own burning heart, while your parents stand just a little to the side and watch while you and God have it out. They are there, and you are still going to go to them first with all those millions of questions that you have, but they are not God.  They admit themselves that they are human and don't have all the answers.

For someone who never really rested on God but on their parents, this shatters your safe little world.
Holding your convictions in your hands because YOU are convicted of's a hot coal. It burns. It stings. You want to throw it back. It's too much responsibility. You freak out because it turns out all along, you had no idea what your idea of God was.

So, to tie it all together, this is what I want: I want to find my contentment in God, to solidify my shaky faith in Him, to once more find my joy in Him.

Life is empty otherwise. I am stuck there, right now, unable to move into anything with any kind of passion or surety, because I don't stand on anything solid yet. No way could I become a missionary or get married or have kids or minister to others when I have not found my own contentment yet.

 After that, I can move on with life, knowing that whatever I do and wherever I am and whatever I have, the emptiness that is always in my heart can be filled by Him and no other. Not my parents, not my future husband, not my future children. Not my stuff.

I am being selfish. But I HAVE to get this done first. First Comes God, then comes me and God, and then once I have that established, this relationship of "me and God" sheds a light on everything else.

Oh hey look! A real smile.

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