Dave Brisbin 9.29.19
If you ask anyone what they really want out of life, you’ll get a variety of answers from health, wealth, relationship, family, love to meaningful work, purpose, a cause, making a difference to peace and serenity. But why do we want all those things? Because ultimately we believe they will make us happy. But happiness may not be the right word because it implies emotions that are ephemeral. Contentment. Solid, reliable, evergreen contentment. Ultimately, if we have that, we have it all. But we know the stories: people who have most or all items on those lists, still don’t have contentment. So what is contentment made of? Where does it come from? What will reliably make us content?

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Imitating Jesus, the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the third and fourth centuries left their cities, towns, and villages to live in the seclusion of the deserts of Egypt and Judea in search of the truth that would make them free enough to be content. Their stories give us the clues we need to understand that contentment does not play by rules that are immediately apparent at the surface of life any more than the bedrock topography that keeps a dune field in place can be determined by studying the lines in the surface of a sand dune. As we stop trying to defend rules, laws, codes, theologies, and other standards—lines in the sand constantly blown about by God’s spirit—we can move deeper into the bedrock principles that even as they first appear to defy the lines we so desperately try to defend and obey, will bring us finally to the contentment we desire

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