Sunday, January 1, 2012

Seeking Contentment

As I finished posting the review just now for the Writer's Guide, I realized that I didn't want that to be my only post for the first day of the New Year.  What a horrible way that would be to start off the year!

This past year has been such a crazy one.  The past 2 weeks along have been crazy!  We closed on our house Dec. 6th, moved on the 10th, my mother in law moved into our home we refinanced--both on the 21st, had Christmas Eve at our home with 13 people, Christmas Day with 9, New Year's Eve with 19, and New Year's Day with 10.  My family plus my mom is 6 people, so we start everything with a built in crowd ;)  The holidays were a busy blessing.  I enjoyed the time with everyone so much, but now I'm tired and ready to rest.  Amidst all of the holidays, the unpacking and house fixing pressed on.

So, today.  New Year's Day.  I've been pondering a particular topic a lot lately as my mind has festered and dwelt on one particular issue we've come across with our new house.  Contentment.  I was blessed to have two wonderful conversations with two good friends of mine last night on New Year's Eve.  The first listened to me as I cried and voiced my stress and worry.  The second shared my struggle with contentment and we discussed it.  I've watched as she's dealt with so many unexpected curveballs this past year with the house they moved into a year ago.  I've felt the gentle peace I've always felt when I've been around her.  She has this way of making you feel comfortable and cared about.  Over the past few weeks, I've asked her several times how she's coped with these curveballs.  Her advice and honesty has been encouraging to me.  She encouraged me that she had adjust her expectations.  Instead of being able to be unpacked in two weeks like a friend of her's that moved, it has taken much longer.  Instead of moving into a house that didn't need any work, they found their home needed much more work than they expected.

We also talked about expectations more in depth.  Our pastor spoke a while back about how when we are disappointed it is because another person or event didn't live up to our expectations.  He encouraged us to think about whether our expectations were appropriate or even realistic.  Expectations are based on what we want--not on who the other person is, are often unrealistic, and are often even what is best for that other person.  

One kind of expectation I've come across as I've talked to many women is what they hope for and often expect of the homes they live in.  Where we live, I have found that people expect and desire to live in large, modern houses.  Just as many people don't, as well.  And I've sought out these folks to hear their advice and learn how they've found contentment in their homes and lives. For some people, they have the expectation that they will live in a new, large home.  For others, they buy homes knowing that they will fix them up over time.  People have all sorts of expectations when it comes to the houses they purchase and live in.  When I asked my mom what kind of house she wanted us to live in, her answer was "one that's not too big."  I learned that she really didn't like the house we grew up in!  It was too big!  So much house to take care much yard to take care of...    As we've moved into this house, I've been reflecting a lot on my expectations and what God does with them.

I realized that God has put us in homes that force me to trust Him.  Each of them have had issues that I could not control.  Even this one we just moved into.  I mentioned earlier that I've been dwelling on an issue...  This morning I had the thought that 1) I need to pray for contentment.  It is a blessing that the Lord can give.  I have come to believe that we are naturally discontent people because of our sinful nature.  2) I need to dwell on the blessings and remember how the Lord has taken care of me and my family--not on what worries me.  

Matthew 6:27 ESV
27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
I know that it is not what the Lord desires for me--for me to dwell and get so upset about these things.  He is in control and I can trust Him.

I love the passage that that verse comes from.  Here's the rest of the passage.

Matthew 6:27-34 ESV
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, 
O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

I think this passage is what I need to remember and think about tonight.  God is in control and thankfully, I am not!  

1 comment:

Kim said...

:) Happy New Year, my friend! I will continue to pray for you this year, while I remember these wise words.