Are we ever really satisfied with who we are? I’ve had long straight blond hair my whole life and I always wanted curly black hair. I thought about dying it and perming it for years, but thank God something always stopped me from doing it. When I tell that to women I know who have black curly hair, they say they always wanted hair like mine. Are we ever satisfied with what we have?
There’s a saying that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. The Glory of God has lots of deep layers of meaning. It can be seeing the actual presence of God as some of the Old Testament prophets did, and it can also be the presence of God in nature, in us, in every living thing. It can be when we recognize the wonder of God and the love of God and His mercy in our lives. God's Glory being shown in us, His being glorified in us, goes even deeper. When Moses came down from the mountain he had to put a scarf over his face because the glory of God was so present on him that people could not look at him because of the glow. There are times when we will be spending "mountain time" with God that we start to glow, not usually with the same intensity, but it's a visible glow that people recognize as something special. I was talking about this with a friend of mine the other day and I said that when this happens very often I don't feel it myself. It's usually when I've been dealing with my own disatisfactions and questions and doubts, I may be tired, worn out, ready to quit, but when I bring those feelings before God, the time I spend in His presence, even if it is time spent in weeping, He gives me a glow that other people recognize as joy.
Since I was born again I have finally come to a place of being satisfied more often than I ever have been before. There are still times when I feel like I want to be somewhere else, doing something else, and being someone else, but thank God He always brings me back to a place of contentment and gratitude about what I have, where I am and who I am. Last night was one of those nights when I was wishing for something different and being given the grace - and the glow - to see that what I have is really good. I was working late, teaching about health and wellness at a Soup Kitchen, and on my way home I just felt tired. Worn out, ready to give up and go back to the life I used to have. Wondering why I was in the life I have now, wondering why God bothered to change it because it didn't seem better than the life I had before. That is one of the dangers we face from the old self - it always tries to make us think that things were better before and that God's ways are not the best ways - that He is not a loving and caring God who wants the best for us, but a God of restrictions who takes away everything that we love to leave us with nothing but drudgery. That is a lie of the mind. When we really start to look back to that old life and see where our lives have led us now, we know that the path we walk with God is the only true path of joy and life.
The church where I was teaching is on the same block as a bar I used to hang out in, and as I walked by the bar I saw someone I used to see all the time walking out the door. The people who own that bar own several others, and the people who hang out in their bars all know each other. We’d have our own special place that was "our bar," but we’d be welcome in any of them and when we walked in "everybody knows your name," as the song goes. As I walked by I knew that even though I might feel tired and ready to give up at that particular moment, I was so happy that I was not a well known regular at that bar any more. Oh God how happy I am that my life is so different now! Thank God that I am different. I was born again when I was living above one of those bars. I wasn’t born again in a church or in any kind of spiritual retreat. I hadn’t gone looking for God, He came looking for me. Amazing Grace.
A friend of mine wrote to me, "A realization that I've come to recently (and that gives me strength whenever I think about it) is that the lives of people who don't walk with God tend to often be very predictable. The things they say, the drama that they get themselves into, the things that they struggle with---it's always the same. But when you start to have God in your life more often (by thinking about Him more frequently) that's when things start to get really interesting, and life starts to become full of unexpected little surprises."
Those unexpected little surprise are also the Glory of God - He is the God of little things and big things, supernatural power that lights mountain tops on fire, and quiet moments in the sun or times when we meet someone who sparks a fire within us. If we look for God only in places where we want Him to be, in ways that we want Him to act, we might miss Him. It's in those moments when we take the time to ask Him to be with us and thank Him for His presence, no matter what we are feeling, that His glory is shown through us and is in us.