Today, we continue in our Crossroads series. Over the past few weeks, we explored the paths that we find ourselves on that make us pause for a moment and drive us towards a decision point.
During Holy Week, we traveled with Jesus over the life of His ministry from His triumphal entry and concluded with His death and resurrection.
Life is full of paths we explore that have no ill-intended consequences, while other paths lead to heartbreak and regret.
The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we are content in our current circumstances or our hearts are unsettled?
Where are you? Are you content or unsettled? Let’s look at what scripture has to say on these subjects.
When our lives are upended for one reason or another, we become unsettled. In our post-pandemic world, it is easy for us to be unsettled. Our lives were turned upside down in a matter of days and weeks two years ago.
For some people, they are now traveling to see family. They are opening their lives up again to meeting in person but struggling with large gatherings. Getting on airplanes can be stressful and create worry. How do we get past the uneasy and unsettledness in our hearts?
Scripture says we are to,
“Cast our anxiety on Him because He cares for us”.
“Do not let our hearts be troubled.”
It’s so much easier said than done, isn’t it? Unsettledness can strike at any moment… You can be fine one minute, and then something happens at work or in your personal life, and your heart beats faster, and your breathing is out of control.
For me, I have felt these moments when my life feels in complete control, and then something at work throws me into a frustrated and unsettled state.
During those moments, do you think I am thinking about casting my anxiety on Jesus? Nope.
Do you think I am saying my heart is completing fine? Am I troubled? Nope.
Honestly, this is life. We are not perfect, and we will encounter these moments when our world is thrown into chaos. It seems like our goal is to keep the myriad of plates spinning without breaking them.
Unsettledness feels this way – I should know; I operated in this world for a long time. The God of the Universe, the One that created you and me, does not want our world to be so jam-packed that the plates have to keep spinning for our lives to exist.
Think about this for a moment…What happens when the plates stop spinning?
In the book of Philippians, Paul casts a vision for us surrounding contentment. He would have known how hard it would be to find contentment. In fact, he might be closer to the poster child for unsettledness.
Paul’s life was always a bit chaotic. Let’s review of few of his unsettling moments:
- The Damascus Road – He encounters Jesus on the road and turns life over to Him – instead of persecuting believers, he becomes one of the persecuted.
- Thrown in Jail – Multiple Times – Paul seemed to spend more time behind bars than in front of them.
- Shipwrecked – He found himself in a few shipwrecks but survived.
Some would characterize Paul’s life as being unsettled, but I think if we were to ask Paul, he would say he was content in the struggle.
How can someone be content in the struggle?
A life can be sold out for Jesus and still be unsettled; however, Paul found a way to be content in all circumstances. Whether he was shipwrecked or in prison, he modeled for us a reliance on Jesus that we can follow.
Paul says in Philippians 4:12-14,
““I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Instead of keeping the plates spinning, Paul lets the Lord keep the plates spinning. Contentment happens when we surrender to the Lord and His will for our lives.
There are two types of surrender:
- Surrender to ourselves
- Surrender to God’s will
Life is tough, and we need to make the conscious decision to surrender to God’s will for our lives, but that means we need to surrender our will and plan.
I can tell you from personal experience that it is very hard.
Take a moment to think about what you have or have not surrendered to the Lord? What comes to mind?
For me, I had to surrender my desire to get married and have a family. I remember telling God that I would be okay if He never brought someone into my life for me to marry.
To some extent, I was content working, traveling, and being busy, but there was the underlying desire to get married and have a family.
Surrender and contentment are active and not passive actions. I’m not saying that God needs us to surrender everything in order for Him to work in our lives, but sometimes He needs us to surrender the one thing that might be holding us back from greatness.
When I surrendered that desire, it was like Heaven’s door opened and a blessing that had been held for me rained down on me.
God chose this path for me, but His path and blessings after surrender may look different for you. This is why God is God and creates totally unique blessings for us.
Today in our crossroad reflections, I want you to dig a little deep and see if there is anything you haven’t surrendered to God. As I said, for me, it was getting married and having a family.
For you, maybe it’s having children or getting that dream job. Maybe it’s letting go of anger after a divorce.
I’m sure there are plenty of other things I haven’t surrendered to the Lord yet, and I have to look inward as well, so how about we do these together.
It may not be easy, and it may be painful, but let the assurance of Paul’s words ring in your heart as you begin this process,
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:14
How could surrender and contentment change your life?
Lord, thank you for showing us how unsettledness can breed discontent, but when we surrender our hopes, dreams, and other aspirations to You, we are able to find contentment. Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins, so we might live with you in eternity. Thank you for your grace and mercy in our lives, and especially for allowing us to make U-turns when we mess up. Amen!
- Crossroads series
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