Posts Tagged contentment

Learning Contentment

Having a two-year old does wonderful things for your soul. It’s often a lesson in patience, consistency, and a host of other things, but recently it was a lesson in contentment.

We just returned from a brief family getaway to San Diego, where we had received a few free nights as a result of a timeshare presentation we endured a few months back. Though we were happy to have a free trip, the hotel room we stayed in was one of the smaller ones I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t long before Molly and I were rolling our eyes and quietly griping. But Abby, our two year old, quickly scampered onto one of the beds and exclaimed, “This hotel is awesome!”

You see, she was in a new place, experiencing a new thing with the three people she loves most in the world — and that was all a girl could hope for. It was a great lesson for me that I should be content with the amazing things God has given me rather than be a whiner who dishonors the Lord with my complaining (click here for a related video).

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One Thing

So I’m on a bit of a James MacDonald kick right now. Let me recommend one of his brief messages from this past year’s Straight Up Conference – “One Thing.”

If you could have just one thing in life, what would it be?

Click here to get the audio.

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Joy-killer #4: Unmet Expectations

Click here to submit your answer to the question, “What do you think are things that kill people’s joy?” For the rest of the series, click here.

It’s been awhile since I wrote on the topic of joy-killers. I thought I’d pick it up again today.

Unmet expectations are a source of joy-robbing for most people I know and definitely for me. Yesterday was a perfect example of this. I had taken the day off to unpack boxes (since we just moved) and instead had a wild day filled with a number of things I didn’t plan, intend or want. I won’t bore you with details, but the highlight was not having our DirecTV set-up in time for the Broncos game last night. All day I was fairly grumpy and not joy-filled, and I am to blame for that.

Our expectations are often sources for dissatisfaction because they are unrealistic and selfish. We think we deserve a comfortable and easy life and when we don’t get it, we are very unhappy. But the reality is that we don’t deserve anything good. Anything we receive is a gracious gift from a generous God.

If we can lower our expectations (particularly of other people), remind ourselves that each day is better than we deserve, and be thankful for everything that happens (1 Thess. 5:18), we will live with much more contentment and joy.

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Celebrating (But Never Demanding) God’s Blessing

God has, once again, blessed my family above and beyond what we could imagine. One of the most significant commitments we’ve made to starting Second Mile is moving into the community. Within three days we had multiple offers on our house and within seven days it was sold. Amazing. I know people who have had their house for sale for almost a year, and ours sold in a week.

Then, while we’ve been homeless, we’ve had the joy of living with our friends Charlie and Bonnie in their basement. It’s a beautiful home with plenty of room and their hospitality has been out-of-this-world. In the meantime, we’ve looked at 25+ homes (almost all of which were short-sales and big-hassles). We offered on three homes that we liked and then it was time to wait. All three were good and one was exactly what we wanted (so we had our prayer team pray that God would provide it).

Well, 6-8 weeks later (while we were still waiting), a new house popped on the market that was a regular sale and, though another person offered $12k more than us, our offer was accepted the first day. Amazingly, this house was even better than the one we had asked everyone to pray for and, ironically, they back up to each other. Today we signed the papers, we get keys Friday, and we move in a week. We are thrilled.

It’s funny…but I don’t know totally how to react to all of this. While the Scripture does say that God sometimes gives us more than we ask or think (Eph 3:20) and that he is a generous Father who loves to give good gifts to his children when they ask (Mt 7:11), I am also aware that I don’t even deserve a house, nor am I owed anything by God. I have never given a gift to God that he should repay me (Ro 11:35). I think the reaction that God wants is for me to enjoy his gifts and to delight in the love of the Giver.

But what has troubled me more than once are the comments that some Christians have made when I have told them this story. They’ll say something like, “Well of course God did that for you” or “What else did you expect?” I think when they say this they are simply trying to celebrate God’s generosity. But I also wonder whether these comments carry the assumption that God must bless me in these temporal ways. God may not always provide the temporal blessings I hope for. I know that there are Christians tonight across the world who have zero temporal comfort and God loves them just as much as me.

In conclusion, this experience has taught me to celebrate the blessings of God and to enjoy them, but also to never demand or presume that I must have them. I have Jesus. He is more blessing than I will ever get my arms around and I want him to be enough.

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