Sarah Stock - Choosing to Thrive

Choosing to Thrive 
By Sarah Stock

The church bells toll clearly, 7 o’clock. I’ve faintly heard their melody before but never as crisply as today. The mile between my porch and the bell tower is normally filled with movement- noise and everyday activity. But for the time being movement has ceased, the still air allows the bells to ring in my back yard.

Everything is different. The comfort creature inside me is grasping for safety, telling me to shut it all out, gather my family close and survive. My instinct is to do the bare minimum in this new world of digital school, give the kids unlimited access to screen time, and to not add anything new or different to my plate. I want to quit everything and nap.

Napping doesn’t help, I don’t feel rested. Taking things off my plate doesn’t help, I am still overwhelmed. Free for all parenting doesn’t help, I am more irritated than before. The comfort creature morphs into a scaredy cat and tempts me to retreat more. I thought this was surviving but it’s a mirage of coping at best, I’m expending more energy than I was ever intended to use, and fear has clouded Truth.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” — Hebrews 12:11

Discipline has a negative connotation in my mind. I associate it with consequence, with threats and failure. Hebrews 12 upends my narrow view of discipline, widening the implications into the fullness of its spectrum. Discipline is training with an end goal of peaceful righteousness. It’s meant for good, it brings order to chaos, it’s everything I desperately want but have been running from because it’s not my way. My way has been survival and it’s killing me, I’m ready to thrive.

There has to be a healthy mix somewhere in this, it’s okay that most things currently are not my preference and it takes me some time to assimilate. It’s also okay that my boundaries might be a little tighter than before, as long as they’re tight in a healthy way and not a selfish way. It’s okay that my days look nothing like I ever expected they would because my goal is no longer comfort but thriving, which comes from abiding.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” — James 1:17

My strength is sourced from my deeply planted roots in the Living God. He is faithful and loving, I can trust safety here. I am connected to the Creator and Redeemer of the universe so thriving means I take part in His redemptive work. I have to keep reminding myself of these things and when I can’t, I rely on community and worship to reset my mind.

I will look for the good. It takes more work to look for the good right now. I thought I would be too tired or it would exhaust me, but really the joy of God’s goodness feels like deep, peaceful rest! Good is here when I stop and play Uno with the kids and we laugh because that’s community. Good is here when we get to watch the metamorphosis of caterpillar to monarch butterfly in our front garden because we have the time to really watch our little eco system and it’s a worshipful experience. Good is here when I talk with neighbors from across our driveways and we encourage one another and I ask if there’s anything we can do to help because service is me engaging in God’s redemptive work.

Good is here when I hear the church bells sing across the stillness in their serene beauty reminding me that you are faithful, God. You bring order to chaos, You are unchanging. You love me so there is no reason for me to settle for merely surviving when You have given me more than I need to thrive.
Posted in

Related Posts