Christy Nockels: Is Contentment Possible in 2021?

Several years ago, through a conversation with a friend and an epiphany at the farm table in my kitchen, God began to gently reveal that I’d lost sight of my true identity.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love God or know He loved me. It wasn’t about whether or not I was serving God or whether I desired to fulfill His call on my life. I was and I did. But this epiphany was all about the bullseye … the true calling on my life, as his daughter, as a wife, as a mom.

I’d been accustomed to outside-in living, hustling to get everything done on the outside and hoping there’d be some rest for my soul left over at the end of that breakneck pace. I sensed God was asking me to make a choice that would seem illogical to most. To lay down my ministry for Him and shift to being with Him and living from my identity as His Beloved while I cared for my family.

It wasn’t an easy or fast transition, but in asking me to focus on the bullseye, switch to inside-out living and trust Him for the additional desires of my heart, He knew I would discover the true life I’d been longing for and the rest my soul so desperately needed.  

We are all prone to outside-in living and outer-ring hustling because our tendency to make a way for ourselves goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Our fear of trusting God is universal. Rather than stepping into His invitation to live from His best, we settle for what we can make happen on our own.

I’m guessing that you, too, long for contentment and rest. But the culture we live in demands that we maintain a certain pace. For many of us, living through a quarantine in the middle of a worldwide pandemic revealed just how much we’ve leaned into that pace, relied on that pace and even compromised in the deepest part of our souls because of it. Perhaps, like many others, you’ve recognized the consequences of those compromises and you don’t ever want to go back to the way things were.

Yet even when circumstances all but demand a pause, you and I are told nonstop by this world — and by what we scroll through nonstop — that no one is going to get our dream done for us. We’ve got to get out there and make it happen! So with clenched teeth, we try to keep up, driven to uphold our family, our dreams, our career and our reputation. The pressure is often so fierce that we don’t even know how to pause and assess where we really are.

To top it all off, the enemy of our souls is working overtime to keep us from living from our truest selves. Sometimes his deceptive plot comes packaged in the subtlest of lies. One of his most venomous whispers in my own life sounds like this: It’s all up to you. I wonder if you’ve heard this one too?

This lie is the antithesis of the life that God offers us. And yet we might agree with this lie without even knowing it. Even as we live out what we think is our calling, this lie heaps all the weight and worry of the outcome on our own shoulders. It places all the responsibility on our performance and our own ability to make a way for ourselves in this world. It’s eventually destructive as it feeds our tendency toward self-sufficiency.

You may have been taught from infancy that self-reliance is the key to making it in this life. But our own sufficiency has a shelf life. Some of us expire faster than others, but eventually, we are all going to fizzle out at this kind of pace. And the repercussions can be devastating.

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Often our enemy’s fiercest strategy against us as the Beloved is keeping us consumed with living for God rather than living from God. Our enemy knows full well that when we live from God, it lifts the burden and the stress and the striving and restores to us the joy of knowing God and loving Him. This joy is contagious!

Living from the bullseye of our Belovedness, we begin to trust God alone with what makes us right before Him and with this cause that we hold so dear. After all, He said if we would commit everything we do to Him, He would help us! If we will find our joy in Him, He will be the one to fulfill our deepest desires. And as we spend time enjoying Him, His Word says that His presence makes us “full of gladness.”

Please hear me out. This is not some kind of karma version of following Christ. I’m not suggesting that if we follow God, He will make everything turn out magical for us. Being God’s Beloved does not make us immune to walking through deep pain and even tragedy in this life. We still live in a broken world, and Jesus Himself told us that we will have trouble in this life.

But in the same breath He said, “Take heart; I have overcome the world.” As the Beloved of God, we get to draw near to this Jesus who has already overcome this world we’re trying so desperately to survive in.

 


Adapted from The Life You Long For: Learning to Live from a Heart of Rest. Copyright © 2021 by Christy Nockels. Used by permission of Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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