a letter for a discontented heart

Dear Friend,

I know your discontented and weary heart far too well. You are hoping to find peace in the present, yet also longing to find something new. This tension between the now and the not yet seems to be a constant tug — whether related to romance or friendships or family or merely the concept of “moving forward.” Stagnation is a dreaded state, yet the difference between stagnation and simply staying is hard to decipher.

The definition of stagnant – “showing no activity; dull and sluggish.” Of stagnation -“the state of being still, or not moving, like a sitting puddle of water where stagnation attracts mosquitoes.” Ick. While stay‘s definition “to remain in the same place” may seem similar, there comes with the idea of staying an idea of some purpose behind the staying.

Yet the staying leads to restlessness. Those of us who enjoy variety don’t want to always be looking at the same scenery. There’s a reluctancy I see to remaining in a waiting room. The waiting room exists because you came for something else. You aren’t there to look at outdated copies of People magazine or to watch mothers soothe fidgety children. Yet once your name is called, your shoes are off, and your weight is checked, you always find yourself in waiting in a new room. The cycle doesn’t end; there’s always something else. Even once you leave the office and wait for results. If you aren’t careful, you will always feel like you are waiting, and that’s no way to walk through this one wild and precious life.

You may not yet know the purpose yet behind this season, but that’s where you are. Jim Elliot wrote, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Your focus, restless friend, is to be all there. To figure out what it means to “live to the hilt” in your current circumstances, not daydream how to do so when your circumstances change.

Make small changes. Find newness in the now – things like removing the headboard of your bed to let light stream freely from that window. Use Pinterest for ideas to make what you have work, not to look for new things to buy or plan or long for. 

You talk about being content to rent – are you content to live? to be? to wait? We’ve been over this: life is not a waiting room. Adventure is right here. Stop talking so much about the future. Talk more about right now. Wherever you are.

Hold fast.
Hold still.
Hold now.

Because, eventually, things will change. You won’t get these moments back, but will have new moments given to you to savor. Once you get there, be all there. Before you get there, be all here. 

Fondly yet sternly,
Yourself.

new light from a once-blocked window
new light from a once-blocked window
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