So many times I'd just love to pinpoint one solution that would solve a particular problem. As if a life issue were like an algebra problem and solving for X would make everything alright. Matters of life usually don't have just one X to solve for... sometimes there's X Y Z... sometimes even more than that.
For example... last night... Jon was talking about contentment... he had 3 points (from Phil 4:10-23) and then also 3 points of recognition when it comes to contentment. I pondered the 3 points of his sermon and then also the 3 things to recognize about it. Wouldn't it be sad if I didn't tell you the 3 points?
First, the 3 points from Philippians
- Must cultivate a grateful attitude
- Must be satisfied with what God gives
- Must be concerned for other people
- God is in control and I am not.
- God is always good, even when you don't understand.
- God always knows what is best for me even when I think I know better.
And it kinda related to what I was thinking about on my way to work yesterday... or maybe 2 days ago... whatever.
I was thinking about how... I'm a nurse. I'm a person. I'm a woman. I'm a friend. I was a wife. I am a widow. I'm a Christian. I am all of those things individually and yet all of those things are me, Tiffany Chen.
I was trying to think... if being a nurse made me a better person. Yes. Does being who I am make me a better nurse? probably. Did being a nurse make me a better wife? I think so. Did being a widow make me a better nurse? a better person? Being a Christian make me a better nurse? a better person? Being a nurse, make me a better Christian? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. So what was the starting point or does everything just coalesce, build upon one another, enhance and support each role... improving everything? A is related to B is related to C is related to D and A and back again.
From every angle... if I talk about nursing and how it's changed my life... I can talk about that. I can talk about being a widow and how it's changed my life... most definitely. All of these things... some things I can change, some things I can't... some things I had to work for, some things were just gifted or given to me... they are all just angles that I can use as a starting point to start talking about or thinking about me, my life... etc. etc. but it all kind of runs together into some kind of crazy convoluted web.
And then I started thinking about meaning. About purpose. And then I realized that I'd always felt lost with regards to my purpose in life... until I found God.
I'd been jumping from one role to the next... thinking that with every new phase of my life, my entire life would take on new meaning, new direction... Jon said it pretty clearly when he said that we're always looking for bigger, better, newer, more. There's always something to strive for and attain. And I didn't want to leave this earth until I'd found it. Is that why everyone's so afraid of dying? Afraid that shortening life would mean missing out on something awesome? I'll never get to have kids... I'll never get to have my own family... my own home... I don't know what else. The life that I'll never get to have.
But what if the life that I've been given... what I have right now... this is it. Am I appreciating what I've got or am I constantly looking out for what I don't have yet because I think that THAT's what really matters... over THERE is where I need to be...
So in looking at what I've got. It's a pretty darn good thing. And I didn't realize it until I found God and everything just fell into place.
From Forrest Gump:
Lieutenant Dan: Have you found Jesus?There's a deep seated yearning in all of us to look for something to make us happy. I think God placed those desires in us in the same way He gave us hunger so we'd know to eat, thirst to know when to drink. We're yearning for happiness because we need it.
Forrest Gump: I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.
The beauty about God is that... He created us with this hunger and yet... He is the one pursuing us.
the Bread pursues the hungry.
the Water pursues the thirsty.
the Creator pursues the creation.
Joy seeks the sad.
Fullness seeks the empty.
(heard this one on the radio somewhere... but I have no idea who said it)
Isn't that amazing? The problem and the solution are drawn to one another but the solution more so. The solution wants to solve the problem... but it is up to the problem to realize that the solution is there and has always been there.
I didn't even know what I was going to write about and I don't know if it made sense at all.
But all my problems... all my issues... all my identities... really fell into place once I realized and truly accepted the solution for who He is. And after that... not only did one identity improve the other... they all began to improve one another... because being a follower of Jesus is so pervasive that it touches every single aspect of my life and makes them all better. Not only that... I am grounded in the truth... grounded in my faith... grounded in my identity that no matter what happens... I know Whose I am. The more I learn about Him, the more thankful I am that I am His, the more grateful I am for the life I've been given, the more I hope to use what I've got to the best of my ability... basically to wear it loud and proud... and if you want it... I hope God uses me to help you find it. We might be different, but we were all created for the same purpose therefore the Solution applies to all.
If I died tomorrow, I'd be happy. If not, there's plenty to do in the meantime. If I die 50 years from now, I'm OK with that... but sooner rather than later, would be nice. This life doesn't define me. This life doesn't confine me. This life is about finding what it is we're supposed to be finding and I've found it. Kinda like... finishing my final paper and now I'm just cruising til graduation which is actually what I'm doing cuz I finished my final papers last Monday. :D But yeah... can't just focus on that part... the other parts are just as important... to know Him AND to make Him known. To love Him AND love others. All my roles are just a means to do so.
Ok I am WAY tired now. Night.