A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.
It's been months since I have sat on the other side of this screen to write from my heart. Not that I haven't been writing, oh no! I am a student. A full-time Psychology student. Writing takes up half of my life right now. Since the fall of last year, however, finding the time to sink into what God places on my heart has been a fleeting desire and not a pressing need. Today is sunny out; I can feel the warm rays on my arm as I sit comfortably in my arm chair. Homework is absolutely NOT the activity I most want to pursue. So here I sit, with a small word to share with you, my friends.
Today in my reading in the Book of Proverbs, I came across this tiny little verse nestled among the rest, "A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot." Something about those words fell into my soul in a strange way. On one hand they were refreshing and cool like a drink of water on a summer day. On the other hand, they were bitter and scary. Do I have a tranquil heart? Am I at peace with everything that God has brought to me in this season of life? Or am I envious of the season of life of others? As a mom of three rowdy little boys (can you say "Calgon?"), a student in an intense program of study, a wife, sister, daughter, and friend (and I use that term cautiously, because I am not really sure how to bend the definition to the MIA person that I am lately!), sometimes I feel as though the responsibilities which tug at my attention wear me down to a place of begging for someone else's life...ANY TAKERS?!
A couple of months ago, my husband suffered a severe broken leg and dislocated ankle. His surgery was invasive and painful. His recovery has been difficult and straining. Although we are definitely on the other side of crazy now, we have had to make some major adjustments to compensate for the extra time and effort that it takes to get everyone ready and out the door every day, when a huge half of the team is very limited in his ability to contribute! For a while, I would cry to myself at night wondering the ubiquitous, "Why me?" I couldn't understand why, even though this is really not such a major setback, that this had to happen now? Why not winter when we didn't care if we were stuck indoors? Why not summer when my teacher/coach husband and kids didn't have to be shuffled to and from school? Better yet, why not NEVER! I mean, come on, is there really a good time for this? And it's bad enough that for the past few months before this, I had quietly been jealous of the social life of my friends. While they were celebrating birthdays and having girls' nights, I have been writing papers and celebrating good marks. While they were studying great women's Bible studies, I was studying personality theory. Now, on top of our already hectic life and sorely neglected house, my husband has been involuntarily relegated to chief couch warmer and pillow fluffer. Poor. Pitiful. Me.
Who am I kidding? Poor pitiful me? I would say that of the two of us, I got the better end of the broken-foot deal by a mile. And my busy-ness is the bustling of a growing family and the joy of finishing my degree. There's some perspective for ya, Julie! The reality is that while I am busy throwing my pity party of one, God is busy. Period. He is working. He is doing things. He wants me to join in with Him. He wants me to experience peace. He wants me to have joy in the journey, no matter the circumstances. He wants me to have health, life, and tranquility that comes from laboring with Him on my lumpy, patchy, un-kept, pasture-in-progress-of-a-life. Instead, I have been rotting my soul longing for the "someday" of basking in the lush, beautifully tended meadows of the greener field next door. I forget that those beautiful, bountiful fields take the time of the seasons, effort, and WORK. It isn't easy. In fact, farmers call it back-breaking work for a reason.
What I need now more than ever is life in my flesh, not rot in my bones. Fullness of life within us is what thrusts us forward toward purposefulness and usefulness. That tranquility that is SO longed for cannot be achieved by jealousy and envy of anything or anyone around us. A tranquil heart is working and resting with Him, whatever the season of life he brings us through. A tranquil heart finds Him as the Breath of Life in our tired bodies when we feel we just cannot go any further and realize we are not alone.
What about you? Could you use the cool refreshment of tranquility? Here is the prayer of my heart today:
"Lord have mercy on me. You are Good. You are faithful. Nothing surprises You. Forgive me for feeling self-pity when I should see blessings. Forgive me for the envy of my heart. Breathe Your breath of tranquility deep within my soul and let me move forward in Your purposes and according to Your will. I desire to find favor only in You. In Your Son, Jesus', name."