Choosing contentment in the midst of chaos

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I woke up with chills after a fitful night of sleep, light-headed and simply sick. Another winter cold had caught up with me. It forced me to slow down, be cautious of how I was feeling, and it reminded me of my limits while in the presence of exhaustion.

Despite the state of weariness, somehow gratitude settled comfortingly in my chest. Do you know that feeling? A sort of contentedness that is so overwhelming that literally – a weight of joy builds up in your heart? Rarely do I find it in the business of my go-go-go nature, but occasionally it finds me.

It finds me in the midst of illness, in the midst of chaos, and in the midst of fresh snow falling at a 90 degree angle – things that I could so easily express frustration about amidst my normal schedule, but today causes me to pause with wonder. It’s a simple reminder of the beauty that surrounds me if I just look for it.

How often does God present me with these beautiful moments, but I’m too busy to slow down?

Today I found myself letting the dogs run instead of chasing them (think “a chasing of the wind” mentality with an attempt to reign in four rambunctious dogs). I found myself sipping my coffee instead of grabbing it while on the go and guzzling it on my way across town. I found myself reading slowly and contemplating the scriptures instead of speed-reading and retaining little of His words.

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did,” reads 1 John 2:6. The words settled on my tongue as I chewed over their true meaning. How often in my attempts to do God’s work do I leave God out of it? I claim to be a follower and yet find myself blind to His presence around me regularly. It’s far too easy to get caught up in this world and stray far from the Father.

As I read on, God pressed into my true heart’s desire and its constant need to be changed: “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever,” (1 John 2:17).

I live my days tuned into the world instead of focused on God. I find myself running from place to place. I doubt Jesus spent his time running. No, He clearly spent His time with people, in community, sharing what love really looks like. He didn’t rush through sentences in hopes of finishing the conversation and getting back to work. He stayed true to the moment, a moment that meant so much considering that He knew when and how His own life would end. And He chose to spend His shortened life with the broken people who would send Him to the cross in the first place.

Now that is love.

So can I lovingly spend a few more precious moments with the God who loved me so much that He died for me? I certainly hope so!

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We are Haley and James Earley, a family of two established on October 11, 2014 in our hometown of Rochester, MN and now living in St. Paul, MN. We are dog-lovers, coffee addicts, tree-huggers, balance-seekers, community-livers, and new foster parents. We live in a house of three adults, three dogs, and our sweet foster kiddos. We desire to slow down in this fast-paced world in order to pursue intentional community as we seek after the heart of God. We're just one couple trying to figure out this whole living life thing.

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