Every now and then, I get a verse stuck in my head: it’ll come up time and time again in a certain season – in sermons that I listen to, in conversations that I have with friends, in the videos that I have on as background noise. Those words will become my heartbeat; the rhythm of my thinking and my praying – they will be the words that get stuck in the forefront of my mind; the words that I can see having an impact on everything. Last year was tricky in a lot of ways, and yet the words that went round and round in my mind were a prayer of David from Psalm 143: “let the morning bring word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you”. In the midst of a storm, those words forced hope into my heart, and that verse became the truth that I could stand on, when I didn’t know what else to do: everything around me was wobbling, and yet I needed to believe that the morning would bring word of His great love, because my trust was planted firmly in Him.
In this season, the life-verse has been different – this one is found in Hebrews:
“Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for the Lord has said: never will I leave you, nor will I forsake you”. Hebrews 13:5
God’s got a sense of humour – and He also knows that sometimes He needs to shout at me to get the message. Last summer I stepped down from a comfortable full-time job, with a comfortable pay-check, to pursue ministry and to give time to projects (like this one) – and while that was totally a God-centred, prayerful decision, and completely what I knew He was calling me into, the doubts and the worries came in pretty quickly. How am I going to live? I have no back-up at all – what if it all goes wrong? What kind of adult am I if I don’t even have any savings?
That’s my story – but I think those worries around money, and around being able to look after ourselves, are something that we all have to deal with every now and then. It’s not necessarily the same as greed – it’s not that we need to see the money piling up – it’s more of a little doubt at the back of our mind that we will be OK if something goes wrong; that little niggling feeling that we are a failure because we don’t look like a success.
But this is the message that God spoke, loud and clear, into my heart: keep your life free from the need to cling onto that stuff; don’t you know, friend, that I have promised to never leave you or forsake you?
I love that word free: where a dependancy and an anxiety around money can keep us in bondage, there is freedom from this: freedom that comes from not leaning on your own understanding, but on the promise that He has given you, that He is always by your side and that He will never leave you. It is a freedom that comes through contentedness – through thanking Him for all the good things that we have because He has given them to us, and for the promise that we can hold onto, that every day He will give us what we need.
This is the challenge: today, I encourage you to get wherever you need to be to take a breath with God, to hang out with your Dad, to thank Him for what you have, to be content with the person that you are and the place that you are in, and to know that you have the best Father, who will never leave you nor forsake you. He is the one that we can look to for our daily bread, knowing that He knows what we need before we need it, and that He will provide.
The Contentedness Diaries
This is where the idea for The Contentedness Diaries came from – you might have seen a few Instagram posts popping up – it was a challenge from God to sit for a while in that place in contentedness, and to keep my eyes open for the things that I have, because He has given them to me. At the time, I was sat on a beach – one of my favourite places to be – and I had to just take a deep breath, breathe in the sea air, let my heart settle with the lapping of the waves, and take a moment to just praise God for His goodness.
We’re going be taking some time regularly to look around us at all that God has given us – from the Church family that He has put us in, to the little quirky things about the city that we call home – and praise God for all that He has given us, instead of striving after the things that we’re not supposed to have.
Join in! We’re going to be using the hashtag #thecontentednessdiaries – and we would love you to join the party!