Glowing, cozy rooms. Comfortable couches. Hot tea and cookies. Thai food. My Bible. Curling up with a good book or magazine. Great fellowship with friends. These are just a few of the things that "comfort" me...and like the quote says, those things have never changed. No matter how many times we move and how much "stuff" I get rid of, as long as I have a few wonderful things, I am comforted.We are now settled in our new apartment and whenever we are there, I am comfortable and content. A calmness comes over me when I sit in our living room and drink it all in. Here are more photos...come take the tour!
However, none of these good feelings can compare to the comfort and peace I receive from Jesus Christ. But so often, I look to the "created comforts" of this world to bring me those feelings...my home, my rituals, my friends and family, my hobbies. While I adore living in a space that I love and in a town that I love...would I still be contented and praise Him in different circumstances? I've been pondering that lately. I have a feeling that this is why my emotions start to go crazy when my house is a mess and things are in disarray. A clean house is always nice, but I tend to let it affect me deeper than it should. Can I be full of joy even as I clean up the mess?
True joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness can come and go with circumstances and moods...but joy comes from Christ. Knowing that ultimately, no matter what happens in my life, I will spend eternity with Him. Paul had this mastered...here is what he wrote as he was sitting in jail.
"I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am."
Philippians 4:12 (The Message)
I am so encouraged by this verse...and I like this particular paraphrase a lot. I cannot say that I have conquered the "wants" in my life. I have found that when I am not spending time meditating on God's word...those wants seem to multiply out of control. When I am disciplined and reading daily, I am better able to demonstrate self-control (or Jesus-control!) over my desires and wants...especially for material things.
Knowing that we can have joy despite what is going on around us is transforming. It frees me from the worry, wanting, and fear that come with daily life. I am enjoying the amazing blessings that God has given us...but I know that I can't place my hope or confidence in my apartment, relationships, or my things. My comfort and hope comes from Him.