My eyes are closed, my body is lazily slumped in my cushioned chair. My ears receive the slow tunes sung by Lana Del Rey, and my breathing relaxes. I am so comfortable that my fingers loosely brush atop my keyboard to type. Do you ever hold your breath for just a second, and you can see your stomach beat to the rhythm of your heart? Cozy and snug are two beautiful feelings…until I start counting down the minutes until I have to get up.
Ope, 3 minutes… already?…
Am I even enjoying this perfect position anymore?
Ugh, only 2 more minutes…
I always knew it was difficult for me to be in the moment. I’m always thinking one step ahead, preparing myself so much for what’s about to happen that I’m not taking in what’s currently happening. Can you relate?
You might say, “Well, Gretchen, I can’t relate because I’m spontaneous.” Hey, girl! Me too! It still blows my mind to think that I plan my days down to the T, yet I will maneuver my schedule in any way to go do something spontaneous.
Let me give you an example: I write down each assignment, even if it’s not due until another month or two. I put things in a tangible agenda, in my Outlook calendar, and even as reminders in my phone or on a sticky note. But, but, but… if someone texts me to get lunch with them right NOW, I will do it. I’m not bad at saying no, I’m great at adapting my schedule. Okay, so now I’m saying I can’t live in the moment, but I am spontaneous… meaning I will sporadically live in the moment. You’re confused? I’m confused.
Spontaneous means to act impulsively, maybe even recklessly.
To lack spontaneity means to have discipline, strong willpower, and even self-control.
I don’t know about you, but when I examine my own thoughts, I start to ask the Lord some questions. Lord, why am I so complex?! Clearly, you can see that (1) I am a planner, and (2) I struggle with staying committed to my plans, because I indulge in the impromptu events.
Let’s see who the Lord has spoken through His Word so we can clear up some of this uncertainty.
When I think about how I struggle with commitment (such as staying in 4+ years of school, or even saying I’ll workout with someone tomorrow when I then contemplate if I will want to workout alone by the time tomorrow comes around), I think of Ruth. The book of Ruth is a quick read and really highlights Ruth’s loyalty and commitment to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi lost her sons and husband, and Ruth is determined to stick with her. Naomi may have lost all the other people in her life, but not Ruth! Though insisting her to leave, Ruth is downright devoted to stay.
Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
How can this apply to my situation? Well, I’m sure Ruth was decently influenced by Orpah (Naomi’s other daughter-in-law) who did leave. I’m sure Ruth thought of the numerous paths she could walk to begin a new life like Naomi was encouraging her to do. Ruth doesn’t take the easy way out or give in to impulses! When they struggle to find work and shelter, Ruth doesn’t turn to temptations of turning back to find a simpler lifestyle. Two words that come to mind when I think of Ruth are “dedicated” and “selfless”. This, my friends, is empowering.
Have you read Ruth? How would you describe her?
“Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
When I think of how I am quick to give in or act impulsively, I think of King Solomon. King Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes like it’s his personal journal, his daily diary. He starts off by recalling all that he has accomplished, restating that he has been wise, as he is famously known for writing in the book of Proverbs. Solomon speaks how his heart found pleasure in materialistic things (his sumptuous gardens and large flocks and herds) and in extraordinary experiences.
And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.
It’s interesting to see the battle in Solomon’s heart as he reflects on his early years of life, and how he has now gained the insight to act differently. I see myself in Solomon’s words. I can think of innumerable times where I would buy something just because it’s cheap; it wasn’t on my list and I didn’t need it. I think of all the effort I gave to writing blogs that were based on my own strength…not God’s.
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from Him who can eat or can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner He has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to the one who pleases God.
Hold the phone! Drop the mic, Solomon! Solomon emphasizes that anything we do is pointless if it is not FOR GOD. Dang, that speaks truth! I don’t know about you, but this is a necessary refresher for me. The Holy Spirit is moving each time I read that verse, in a new and more powerful way than previous times of reading Ecclesiastes. I love looking back on myself; why do I think that way, why did I do that? I am not only learning about Solomon and his journey through a non-satisfying life, but I am now looking on where I get my satisfaction from. And earthly things bring a temporary satisfaction, as Solomon describes to us from personal experience, but ultimately they mean nothing apart from the Lord.
Need I say more? Friend, are you self-aware? How are you being challenged today and how are you growing closer to God? For me, I am working on self-control, because my fulfillment comes from Him, not from whatever my eyes desire on this earth. Look up and look in.