I have a million things to do, but God has blessed me with some sinus issue that requires rest! Plus, I just really needed to write. Yesterday was a hard day in church as I announced we would be leaving Sunday mornings because of a mandatory change in my work schedule. I do believe it is so true you don’t miss something until it is gone, or is going to be gone. It will impact the whole family, because after all we are a den ( = We miss off/on, but we always knew we could return the next Sunday, and that will no longer be the case, which makes it more permanent. I had already told a couple of close friends. The one came to me after my announcement and gave me a big squeeze. Then after church another friend had already been thinking of solutions to keep us in touch (face to face not just facebook). It is the PEOPLE I will miss seeing every day to start my crazy week. Walking through the church doors and feeling unconditional love by some amazing families. Families who want to love on our family – the whole den!!! Sure, there is Facebook, but there is nothing like seeing a face, a smile, a hug, a handshake, and feeling the love!
Last night, once I was alone at work, I listened to a new podcast I discovered. The topic turned was about when live is hard that we don’t always have to be happy, but we can still be content! It was a podcast for moms, not a Biblical based one, but it sparked the verse in scripture about being content. Philippians 4:11b-12b “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. “ . The guest was speaking about a really difficult and disappointing turn her families’ life had taken. She said one day as everything fell apart, she didn’t have to be happy, but needed to learn to be content for herself and as an example to her children. It was as though the Heavens opened up and He placed that podcast on my phone. I was also so thankful for growing up in a Christian home and church that sparked remembering the scriptures planted on my heart to pull from.
Yesterday, also as I was leaving church, another friend reminded me that I always say that church is not those four walls, but the people inside. And that reminder was also needed, because that is so true. Yesterday was full of things that pointed to contentment. We sang “As the deer pants for the water, So my soul longs after You. You alone are my heart’s desire. And I long to worship You !” Psalms 42:1b. But does it really? Because if that was the only thing I longed for was Christ I would be content! I think the podcast hit the nail on the head was I have been searching for happiness (and control).
When we go anywhere, Sam loves to say “he wants that house” (especially the one in Heritage Hills with the built in swimming pool!) He also will let his imagination go crazy and he is going to build a HUGE mall with a house attached. The mall will have ToyRUs, Red Lobster, Target, and a few stores just for Mary. It will be open 24/7 and I will never have to cook ( = I love his thinking, but he definitely has not learned content with what we have, because toys and red lobster = happiness. Contentment would not wanting more toys than he already has. I am sure, I do not help him learn contentment as I continue to carry in more Target bags, talk about wanting new things, grumble about what I don’t have.
There are days I am just like him, wanting more to make me happy (not to make me content). It seems universal that HAPPINESS is encouraged in society. I do enjoy reading about happiness (The Happiness Project by Rachel Rubin and her second book The Happier at Home). Over time I have really worked on GRATITUDE despite the circumstances… and now I think I need to LEARN CONTENTMENT!
It is really ironic how Paul, the author of Philippians was imprisoned and was still content. The speaker of the podcast was enduring things, but realized when she took her focus off of happiness and placed it on contentment; it made a huge impact on her life – one example she gave: she didn’t have a perfect living situation, but learned to be content she had a place to live. I also LOVED that Paul said it he had to LEARN IT, which takes a process. He also had some HARD LESSONS that added to his learning contentment! I really would like to avoid prison (lol) – but if I was placed in prison, would I find contentment (praise God and thank Him for safety, for food, for a roof of my head)? Or would I grumble and groan over the horrible living environment, the nasty food, and him allowing me to get caught! What difference contentment can make it how he spent his days in prison. What difference contentment can make when I face daily life. Do I really need to go through prison to learn contentment? I do believe God gives me things to help us LEARN CONTENTMENT, and sometimes it is hard stuff (probably because I missed the lessons from the easy stuff!). I guess it hindsight it is not a coincidence that I didn’t “get to” my gratitude list. I was focusing on being happy – NOT being GRATEFUL and definitely NOT looking to CONTENTMENT.
Gratefulness is a little easier for me because I can usually find the silver lining in even a bad situation. One day, I would have thought being gratefulness was also equal to contentment. However, I realize it is not and I have a distance to go for CONTENTMENT. Being grateful for what I have helps me to focus on contentment. I also believe God wants me to do the maximum with my life. He does want me to be happy and not miserable. However, He really calls me to learn to be content in HIM! That HE is enough and I am truly okay where I am and with what I have despite the circumstances, including, when things do not go my way!
TODAY I was handed another new serving of mercies (Lamentations 3:23), and I choose to renew my GRATITUDE and work on my lesson in CONTENTMENT (a great possible word for 2015)! Am I happy about the change in my personal life that I had no control over – NO! But I can be choose to be content!
p.s. I googled for quotes on “choose to be content” and Happiness quotes came up – I think it supports that as a society we think happiness = contentment… and of course for many happiness comes from things and gaining more things which is NOT CONTENTMENT. Contentment is being okay where I am without another thing added, and if something is removed, LEARNING to be content again! Contentment is needing nothing more….
p.s.s. I have a long way to go… but every journey begins with a single step (A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. –Lao-tzu)