Sometimes, God’s inner promptings are clear and direct. Other times, I cannot seem to hear anything at all. Lately, there is a strong yet simple message on repeat in my spirit:
“What are you reaching for?”
I know exactly what the question is asking. It’s not referring to my personal aspirations or dreams. It’s literal. What am I actually grasping for to meet my everyday needs?
This question doesn’t sound to me like a rebuke; I don’t feel condemned by the inquiry. It feels more like a loving exhortation by a tender Father in heaven who wants to offer me something better than I’m currently clinging to.
The first time I heard Him whisper this question to my spirit was about two weeks ago, around 5 am. I was awake, but didn’t want to be. I wasn’t ready to get out of bed, but I knew that my window for sleep was over. Trying to move my body as little as possible, I stretched my arm out from the covers and reached for my cell phone.
Of course, I wasn’t planning to call anyone at that hour of the morning. I didn’t have any urgent messages to send. I simply wanted to check my Facebook account. I had posted something the night before, and maybe someone *out there* had commented on it?!
That’s when I heard it. “What are you reaching for?” I knew the answer right away. I was looking for connection.
The question has come back up repeatedly in the weeks since then. It has caused me to reflect on all the things I reach for on any given day. When I need love, I seek my husband’s affirmation. When I need peace, I listen to instrumental music. When I need joy, I call my sister and she makes me laugh. When I need connection, I turn to social media. When I need comfort, I usually reach for cheese.
In and of themselves, these are not bad things. There is certainly nothing wrong with close family relationships, piano music, and favorite “comfort foods.” …As long as I realize what they really have to offer. I mean truly, does cheese (or chocolate, etc.) ACTUALLY provide comfort? No, of course not. It’s simply a temporary pleasure that may take the edge off of a tough moment. But once that thing is digested, the need for true comfort is still there.
This applies to all those things we reach for in our moments of need. What if I’m needing love, but at that moment my husband doesn’t have anything to give? What if I need peace, but I’m in a loud, crowded grocery store? What if my sister doesn’t answer her phone when I’m needing joy? What if no one responds to my Facebook post when I need connection?
The point is, we turn to people and things that will not always come through for us. And then what? We have all these legitimate needs….and we’re reaching for all the wrong things. We’re clinging to temporary, less-than-satisfying solutions.
What if I told you that Jesus Himself wants to give us perfect love, supernatural peace, true connection, enduring joy, and lasting comfort? Wouldn’t that be infinitely better than all the disappointing, temporary things we usually reach for?
Okay, let’s get back to cheese (because in my world, it always goes back to cheese). When it comes to true satisfaction, it seems as though I’ve been reaching for Kraft Singles when God wants to offer me aged gouda and brie.
I’ve been settling for less.
When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, He offered her Living Water in place of all those earthly things she had been reaching for. He was the only One who could truly satisfy her relentless thirst.
He said, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.” (John 4:13-14) I believe that promise applies to us today. Jesus longs to give us what we truly need and what will actually last.
Kraft Singles are okay sometimes, but if someone is going to offer me gourmet cheese… I think I’ll reach for that.
Contentment is something that we know about but that we don’t always experience. It´s easier for us to relate with feelings of tension and anxiety than with those of contentment and peace. We live in a world that has a rapid pace and one million reasons for us to be stressed, nevertheless we can learn how to experience contentment even if the circumstances around us don’t change.
“9 Keys to Contentment” is a study of the Book of Philippians and how Paul the Apostle lived a life of contentment in the mist of prisons and persecution. He said in Philippians 4:11: “I’ve learned to be content in whatever situation I’m in.”
We invite you to join us and see how you too can learn to be content in whatever situation you are in.
It will be an interactive class/workshop where we will discover together how each of these 9 keys can open our hearts to contentment and joy.
KEY 1. Trust in God KEY 2. Praise and Joy KEY 3. Overcome Worry KEY 4. Renew the Mind KEY 5. Justified by Christ KEY 6. Leave the Past in the Past KEY 7. Obey the Lord KEY 8. First Things First KEY 9. Serve Others
Note: Based on a study of Sharon Steele.
Starts Tuesday, May 30th
1:00-2:30pm 6 Week Class
Class Fee: $30
Facilitator: Astrid Gale