Grateful for the Tension
“Is this what it takes to make my heart grateful?” I asked God this morning, thinking of all the different moves I've made over the years.
As I sat swinging on someone else’s porch swing, enjoying the sounds of rain I asked God to one day let me live in a place with a similar swing and porch again. A few days ago I asked Him to once again let me settle in a place with a walnut tree like I had in Romania. And as I think about it, I would love a fireplace again to heat up my home during the winter and to once again have some raspberry bushes in my backyard would be great.
In my adult life I have been a nomad of sorts and have had more addresses than I can begin to recite from memory. Each home has been a blessing and God has provided more than I could ever imagine. But with each move, my heart hurt a little because I long for staying put. There’s something in me that wants to set down roots and stay, but it’s not how God has chosen to write my story up until this point, and I’m thankful for that. I do love the narrative He’s created in my story but also know I live in this tension of loving where I am at the moment and longing for a place to stay put. Over the years I know this tension has drawn me closer to His heart because I’ve come to realize one of my deepest longings to settle down is birthed out of my desire for my true home: Heaven. I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and that it so beautifully shows us that this isn’t our final destination. One day I will enter into my intended home for eternity where I will be in the tangible presence of God. I also believe our hearts are born knowing this. And for me, one way God has helped this truth sink deep into my heart is through the tension of wanting to stay put but Him calling me to instead move. This tension doesn't negate the joy and amazing things in my life. In fact, more often than not it helps me appreciate the smallest of blessings. I find I can more easily live in each moment and enjoy it for what it is, but not feel the need to hold on to it like I used to. For years out of fear of loss and the fear of missing out, I would try and hold on to moments and things with a tight, controlling grip like desperately trying to hold on to a fistful of sand. So many of my memories are shadowed by my fear motivated actions that led to me loosing even more quickly the very thing I treasured. I didn’t know how to just enjoy things for what they were, until God started to show me what was going on inside my heart. Enter the tension of longing for roots but living like a gypsy… So this morning as I sat talking to God and asking for certain blessings in a future earthly home, thankful for the tension in my life, it hit me: this is what it took for my heart to be grateful. Had I been handed all the things I long for in a nice neat package, I wouldn’t have enjoyed them and appreciated them for the gifts they are. Maybe that works for some people, but because of the proclivity of my heart and the bent it has towards selfishness and consumerism, had I been able to settle down in one place at an early age, I never would have appreciated it. Instead, God led me on the path that I needed to be grateful, and today I am so grateful. I live a life far beyond what I should in a home I share with two of the most important people in my life. I love my job and my bosses and am blessed to drive an amazing car that doesn’t break down and the heat works. When my heart hurts and I need someone to talk to or cry with, I have plenty of numbers stored in my new iPhone 6. I get to work out every week in a gym full of encouraging people led by knowledgable coaches that tell me exactly what to do so I don’t even have to make a plan. I get to buy and prepare healthy food that gives my body the energy it needs to sustain this amazing adventure I’m on. And the fact that after my nine year health journey, I now know what to feed my body to stay healthy and am off all of my medicines is a gift. A decade ago I was on four different medications, but I now have learned what I need to do to stay off of them and in the wake of turning 39 am feeling better than I ever dreamed possible… So, while I may never have the roots I long for this side of heaven, it’s totally worth it because it has enabled me to appreciate all the blessings I do have in a way I don’t think I would have otherwise. I may never have my own porch swing or walnut tree that overlook a lake, but what I do have is pretty amazing. Today I am practicing gratitude and my heart is overflowing with the goodness of God. What are you grateful for today?