Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
Have you ever gone out to eat with a person who has to look at every plate that comes out of the kitchen before they can decide what to order? That same person usually stares down each plate at the table, asking five questions about each order, and more often than not, that same person can be heard saying something like, “I wish I would have ordered that instead, I want what they have!” Let’s face it, if we’re being totally honest, we probably make a dozen comparisons each day. We compare tiny things like parking spots and lunch choices and we compare big things like cars, paychecks and homes. Did you ever stop and think about why we do this?
If we took a survey of 100 people and asked the question, “What word best describes you right now?” What percentage of people do you think might reply with the word “Content”? I would be willing to bet very few, if any, would spit out that answer! We are a restless people by nature. We spend a lot of time and energy comparing, evaluating and calculating everything. Is it greed, lust, materialism or is it possible that the restlessness is simply a yearning for God to fill a spot in our lives we may not even realize is vacant?
I love my life! I love everything about it, my husband, my children, my job, my family, my co-workers, my parish, my home…my life is absolutely more blessed than I ever imagined it could be! That being said, you would think I would be perfectly content. That would be correct most of the time, but every now and again that restless ache creeps in and makes me compare what I have with something God blessed someone else with. God has given me WAY more than enough and He certainly has given me WAY more than I deserve but sometimes I want Him to give ME that vacation to a beautiful beach resort or spiffy new fancy thing my neighbor has. He has generously given me gifts and blessings and I try to use them to further His kingdom but sometimes I really wish those gifts could land me a book deal or a speaker booking at a big-name conference where I could rub elbows with the “Big Names” and be a part of all the exciting “hoop-la” that goes with it.
99 days out of 100 I’m grateful and content but I was having that day when I was restless and feeling a little jealous. I needed to get out from under the burden of those feelings so I slipped in the side door of church during lunch and asked Him to take them away. As I sat in the silence, the word “why” just kept popping in my head. I thought and thought about it and kept wondering things like, “why…why did he get that and why did she get to go there and why…” I went through the whole list and then it hit me! The “why” meant something completely different…God was leading me to ask myself “WHY” do you want those things. If you really want to use the gifts I gave you to serve me, why do you care about those things? I sat a bit longer and thought about why I wanted all those things I thought He had forgotten to give me. I told Him I felt like I was being “skipped over”. Then the train hit me...I was wandering away from His truth. He doesn’t allow me to write this blog each week to be recognized, He gave me this gift to spread His love and help others recognize His presence. He didn’t give me my speaking gift to become recognized in a faraway fancy place, He gave it to me to speak to whoever He put in the chairs wherever He sends me. He didn't send me to a beach, he sent me to spread His love to a bunch of "tweenagers" every day. He didn’t forget to give me a fancy car or the income for a beautiful cottage; he gave me exactly what I needed to provide me with the perfect balance of humility and peace. Mostly, He made me realize He has blessed me with the perfect life for ME! I realized that what I need and what everyone else needs are as different as can be, but in the difference lies the perfection that only He can determine.
I left the church that afternoon knowing that the why really meant; why are you restless for things that aren’t yours. I left understanding the why, was the way He uncovered the restlessness in my soul that needed to rest in Him! I think I’ll swap “C” words…I’ll swap compare for celebrate. Each time I’m tempted to say, “I want what they have”, I’ll say instead, “God, thank you for taking such perfect care of them because You know perfectly what we need!” He works in ways both huge and tiny based on things we will never see or know…thank you Father for being in charge…You always get it right!
A Seed To Plant: Practice gratefulness this week and swap “C” words. Ask God each time you are tempted to make a comparison to settle your restless soul!
Blessings on your day!
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
I have watched the pictures trickle through my newsfeed all week and they make me sigh a little. It’s spring break week for folks around here and the family trip pictures from beaches, cruises, mountains and lovely places have been fun to see. Today however, the joy shrunk a little as I looked out my window to a windy April snow storm. As I grabbed a heavier sweatshirt I suddenly wished a few of those lovely beach people would be pinched by a sand crab or something! I know that was not very christian of me but looking at the April blizzard in my front yard made me a little jealous!
When the snow stopped I realized I’d been completely childish and I apologized for my ugly thoughts and jealous wishes. As I stopped to think on it for a bit I realized it was a great lesson on a subject I obviously haven’t learned yet. Contentment is the name of the lesson and rejoicing in another mans blessings is the assignment. I flunked both today!
As I was busy humbugging other peoples fun I forgot how thankful I am that I got to take three of those trips when each of our kids were seniors. I forgot that I’ve been able to slow down and catch up this week…I’ll really appreciate that on Monday! I forgot that I was able to go to Jim and Tonya’s funeral this week and be amazed and inspired at the strength of their three children as they delivered their parents ecology with the strength and grace of faithful warriors. If I’d have been on a beach I would have missed Easter with a few dozen family members that I love and I’d miss a trip to Franciscan University this weekend to see my daughters Nursing Dedication Ceremony. My hamper wouldn’t be empty, my furniture wouldn’t be dust free and my refrigerator wouldn’t be absent of anything green and fuzzy. All of that makes me feel a little accomplished I suppose!
I have to remember that THIS really is the day the Lord has made and he made me right where I am for a good reason. Before I hit the pillow tonight I’ll be sure and thank him for that. And, I’ll be sure to say a prayer for all those beautiful people enjoying a lovely trip with the family they love.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of 5 things you are grateful for right now!
Blessings on your day!
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