God has been speaking to me a lot lately. Funny how that works: we decide to sit down and listen and He actually has something to say. Just kidding, of course. I’m a pretty typical part of my culture. I live in the USA and my main problems are contentment and health.
Contentment. I have battled with this one for a very long time. I don’t really remember a time in my life when I didn’t want more than I had. Because I live in the USA I have access to more “stuff” than most people in other countries. Although I would consider myself a middle class citizen, from what I’ve learned of other cultures, I would probably be considered a blue-blood in many other countries. And yet, despite this abundance of wealth and access to culture, I still find it so easy to complain and focus on all the things I don’t have.
Of course, I’m not talking about the things of God…. It seems as if I find my spiritual walk boring, and I don’t really seek to know more about the “things above.” Although I know deep down that I should seek to be discontent with my relationship with God, I find it all too easy to say “I know enough,” or, “I have enough” of the things of God. I can say in my rational mind that I want to know God more, but my daily walk shows that I don’t really want it. I know from past experience that when I seek the things of God I find greater peace and rest, but yet I still fall into complacency.
Health. Americans in general are some of the most obese in the world. I fall into that category, and like my fellow Americans I have turned to everything but God to correct this. This is what God has been speaking to me about, because in my frustration this is what I’ve been asking Him about. He has been speaking to me about trust. Do I trust Him to keep me healthy or am I leaning on my own understanding.
There are a myriad of articles available to anyone who looks about health and fitness, and, believe me I have looked. And yet, it seems the more I look the more I am confused. This person says this and another person of equal education and experience says the opposite. Remember the old butter vs. margarine battle? This is what I have come up against, and in the end it has all led back to a stark realization that I am weak and frail, and I must trust my creator to know what is best for me.
In order to do this, however, I must learn to hear His voice. I must tune in and really work my spiritual muscles to know the difference between my flesh (cravings), the enemy (flawed information), and the Spirit (truth). I am learning that often the Spirit will lead in a direction that is against the norm. Sometimes it means exercising, and sometimes it means just being at rest. Sometimes it means watching my calorie intake and keeping everything written down, and sometimes it means not stressing out about eating at a restaurant. Every time I try to take my health back into my own hands, disaster awaits. Every time I entrust it to my all-wise Creator, the result is peace and health.
So this is what I’m learning: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:26-31 NIV)