"Build a little fence of trust around today; Fill the space with loving deeds, And therein stay. Look not through the sheltering bars upon tomorrow; God will help thee bear what comes of joy and sorrow."
There are times when a nagging feeling pulls at me, the feeling that I am not living in the present.
In high school, the days when I would stare at the sloth-like classroom clock and count seconds piled up high. But this nagging feeling that this mindset was off, that it was hurting me, it wouldn't stop. It tugged at me when I would look far ahead and say "one day.." or "once this or that happens." I began to realize that it was foolish to promise my soul some wonderful fulfillment "after" the passing or coming of a physical circumstance.
This sin I committed counting seconds, it is called discontentment.
Discontent puts one in a place of greed, a place of waiting, of thinking that you need something more to be joyful.
Personally, I know always waiting wasted away my days. I wanted them to rush by in order to reach the next 'good' thing. This mindset wouldn't allow me to slow down, to appreciate the present and be happy in it.
Instead of looking up and around and giving thanks, I was always craning my neck to look ahead, promising myself joy at some future date.
In promising myself elusive future joys, I robbed myself of present ones.
Somehow, the promised happiness was always just out of reach. Getting one thing wouldn't be enough to satisfy, so I'd race to the next thing, and the next thing. Living that way, your life will go by miserably and "quick as a wink."
Each day is a gift from a sovereign and loving God, and when we look for our hope outside of the given day and outside of the Messiah, it is a sin against Him.
This endless grasping tells the Lord that He is not enough for us. We need something else, we think. And the present circumstance that HE PLACED US IN, well, it just won't do. What pride is in my heart.. to think that I know what would be best for me. Discontentment is a rebellion of the created against the Creator, a rejection His goodness and His perfect timetable.
God's Word tells us to give thanks in all things. I was doing the exact opposite. If I was giving thanks for anything, it was for imagined futures the Lord hadn't actually given.
Today, I was shown another area of my life in which I participated in this joyless waiting.
I ran my longest run yet: 10 miles. And I only enjoyed it because the run, and not the finish, was my focus. Whenever I would put all my focus onto the finish of the run, I would get disgruntled and discouraged and think how difficult it would be to finish. But, if I made the decision to enjoy the current moment of running, to thank the Lord for the blue sky above and the leaves crunching underfoot, the run became a joy.
Now I know why running was so unpleasant for me during years of cross country. My mind was always on the finish, my eye always on my watch, and my hopes continually on stopping. The activity was largely joyless, a checklist.
Joy is a decision, a decision to gratefully take what your Good Shepherd gives, trusting Him to give good things!
The root of discontentment is a mingled, bitter cup of pride and distrust.
Choosing to delight and give thanks with each step of the run, with each tick of the clock - to this we are called as Christians.
Dig into the garden where you're put, instead of pining away for a better.
The Psalms sing out, "I will praise God's name ... and I will honor Him with thanksgiving." (Psalm 69:30)
He is worthy of praise and thanksgiving, no matter how we might feel about our circumstances..
He "will help us bear what comes of joy and sorrow."