Thursday, March 8, 2012

contentment



I'm just gonna be upfront and say things are shaken up a little. We're still moving forward with living here and working on the house... but I'm still struggling with how to put those posts out there. They're coming. But my heart is busting out with these thoughts. I'm posting several different posts today, because I didn't want to bombard you with all of this for weeks on end. I feel like I need to write it, though. I want it to be part of this blog. In the big picture, posts like this one really won't make up much of the whole. But, I want them to be there.

We are still working on the house.

Lord, let it be with new eyes.

If you're clueless as to what on earth I'm talking about, try reading here and here.

So, yeah... contentment.

Can I show you my living room floor?



I'm not sure I've shown it to you quite like this before. Honestly, because it embarasses me.

Because I'm a spoiled brat.



But, here it is. Yes, it's hardwood. Yes, it is mildly trashed. You may not be able to tell from the photos - there are parts sticking up a bit... the top finish is peeling off.

Can I be content with that?

See, it's not especially difficult to feel "content" when we've just done something new to the house. When we've taken out something beat and ugly. Or we've finished a room we've been working on for months. It's easy then to fool myself into thinking I'm being truly content. Easy to say, "Yes, of course, Jesus is enough. Silly question! It isn't the bright, white shiny trim... of course not."

It's much easier for me to see things for what they are, though, when the things are withheld. When I leave the big, new house and move to the smaller, semi-beat down house. When this is my floor... when I fully realize that it's one of the very last things we'll get to project-wise, which means we may never get to it if we don't stay here longer than 5 more years... it may always be my floor in this house.

Can I be content? Can my heart be content with living in that torn up house I moaned and groaned about just a handful of posts back?





This is my floor.

I mopped it the other day. In an attempt to learn to love it.



To be thankful for it.

And, it was good. I mopped it and mopped it. And I thought about those faithful living in dirt and filth... praising God from their hearts. And I thought about all of the many, many physical comforts I enjoy. The safety of this neighborhood. The food in our fridge.

Maybe even to some of you, you're thinking this floor is still better than holes. Or mildew. Or no floor.

Spoiled.

Brat.



And I looked across the room at my baby. My sweet, precious baby, playing cheerfully on the blanket while I worked. I thanked God for her. For all my family. My church. So many blessings.

Later on that day, we made a massive tent on that floor. I thanked Him for happy, healthy children.



O, my heart, why do you insist on complaining in the face of all this goodness?








And then, WHAM! Right between the eyes.

I realized... what if even all of this were gone? What if fire took even your beat up floor? What if, because of sickness, the baby were gone? All of the children? In the heart-wrenching, gut-tearing pain of those moments... could I say it?

Would Jesus be enough for me then? Like Job?

Oh, Lord. Be enough.

Thanksgiving is so good, so right. It does help fight against discontent. It does turn our eyes away from what we want and show us all that we already have.



But, it can't stop there... the end cannot be just thanking the Father for my earthly blessings. Because they're not necessarily always going to be there. What happens to my contentment then? I have to go deeper. I must go to Jesus. Thank Him for the food, the clothing, the provision, the wonderful children, the blessing of my husband, this house... but the only thing that will never change, the only thing that is lasting, isn't really a thing at all. I must ultimately let my greatest thanksgiving, my deepest contentment be in Christ Jesus.

And that is proving to be much more of a battle than I had thought. I've labelled these posts "the struggle". Because this is a battle... a struggle for my heart's affections. I need to not only thank God for my blessings and for my ratty floor (which is also a blessing), but see beyond the floor, the children, my husband, and thank Him for Christ - unchangeable, unshakeable, everlasting - Christ.

The answer is not to stop taking care of my home, to hide in a cave, to stop loving my family because they aren't Jesus. But to love Jesus so much, to adore Him so completely, that He is enough. Come what may.

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Phil. 4:11-13




2 comments:

Deb said...

I love this post. I think we can all see the truth in it. Sometimes we get our priorities mixed up, I do anyway!

~Jess said...

How hard it is to be content. In my house I have the same things: The floors aren't level, the windows don't open, there's no light switches, blah blah blah.