This study I am doing with my small group, “Stuck” by Jennie Allen, is so good! Today’s study started with a scripture that reminds how timeless scripture really is. “Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:4
She then goes on to talk about how, since the beginning of time we long to matter and be seen. This desire is God given, but it was designed to draw us closer to God for our benefit. When we truly believe we are seen by God, matter to God and loved by God unconditionally we find fulfillment and true contentment.
However, our human nature doesn’t naturally turn to God for this inner need, we turn to things and people and measuring up which leaves us constantly in dire need. Jennie Allen explains it like this:
“Here is the problem with us: we don’t go to war with our invisible soul-sickening sin. We deal with the big, showy, obvious sin that everyone sees, but the invisible stuff is trickier, sneakier, deadlier. Discontentment in the form of jealousy, comparison, and greed is making us sick. It washes over our minds constantly, and yet we are so accustomed to it, we have become numb-stuck...such small and insignificant dreams bind us so tightly that we live disappointed and paralyzed.”
This portion of her study really reminded me of a time when I was temporarily set free from all of this...all of the American Dreams, Pinterest Dreams and social media facade’s. It was amazing!!! It was during a mission trip to Africa where all of those things that don’t really matter began to drift away and the only thing that was important was God, orphans, community, friendship and the amazing peace and joy and contentment that came with that! I had more of a culture shock coming home to America than I did arriving in Africa. I remember the last day and the flights home, I was so afraid of being sucked back into commercialism and the never ending desire for things that never satisfy, never help anyone and leave me always feeling discontented. I prayed and journaled and told myself I would fight this but it’s hard y’all. It’s like a big fast moving river that we have to constantly fight to swim against the current. I have done better since then and have remained somewhat aware of it and can turn it off for short periods of time but it’s difficult and temporary. However, I must never give up that battle...fighting the cancer of my soul. It is studies like these that help me to continue to “Fight the good fight of the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:12 and to stop chasing the wind. It’s also only by Gods own Spirit inside of me that I am able to accomplish this, so going to Him in prayer is the first line of defense...daily.
I want to wrap this all up with these additional excerpts from Jennie Allen’s Stuck study:
“The God of the universe adores us, sees us, makes a way for us, calls us, loves us, saves us, and wants to give us a story within His beautiful story.”
“While we compare and long and wait and ask and save and spend and flaunt and pretend and cry and whine and tear down and puff up and stare and wish and ignore and complain and demand and search and find...we miss something...we miss the most important thing...maybe we miss the only thing.”