But godliness with contentment is great gain..
1 Timothy 6:6
I have struggled with contentment. It can drive out ambition to do anything. How can one achieve if content with unacceptable situations? It has taken a curious set of circumstances to show my need for contentment, and that my drives can block progress.
My situation has been one of quietness after a long storm of activity. When I was leading the national student ministry life was not sustainable. I was always on the move. The Lord asked me to withdraw from the student ministry which left a vacuum. I assumed He was creating space for some new venture. I launched out into Latvia, yet could never give myself completely because of family responsibilities.
My response to this vacuum has been to fill it with long term projects. I have invested in a web site of Bible Studies. It brings together relevant Bible passages on many themes ready for the day when people rediscover the Bible. I have also been taking time to learn Latvian – It is hard to minister to people in their second language.
The Lord made clear that I was driving at these projects in an unhealthy way. The illustration He gave was of a person cramming for an exam. He questioned my pace. To let go I had to come to a place of contentment and overcome my drive for achievement. The web site is tantalisingly close to completion. I am goaded by the inadequacy of the beta version. With the language, I had to overcome the drive to master the language. I needed to surrender my desire and trust God for His timing.
The immediate effect was as if the mainspring unwound and I was left with no drive. For the web site I continued at a slower pace. I stopped Latvian completely. In the silence that followed I was still enough to face up to my situation. I began to see myself stuck in a cul-de-sac with no idea about how the Lord will move me on. I have had to come to a place of peace and silence to see the truth. Contentment has been great gain. When I was able to live without the drive to achieve I was able to honestly reflect on the big picture. I saw that it is not a good place and could begin to pray and ask my dear Father to lead me out of this cul-de-sac. So contentment on this level has brought me face to face with some questions I would never have wanted to address. Ultimately it has brought me to accept that I am not in a good place and need the Lord’s to intervene and draw me out of a hole.